Biodiversity of poisonous medicinal plants solicited in the traditional phytotherapy of the central Middle Atlas -Morocco-

Mariame Najem, Amine Daoudi, El Houssine Bouiamrine, Jamal Ibijbijen, Laila Nassiri


Background: The central Middle Atlas is a region renowned for its wealth of medicinal plants and ancestral knowledge of its local population in traditional pharmacopoeia. Thus, the main aim of this study is the valorization of poisonous medicinal plants and to provide an overview on the state of plant biodiversity of toxic medicinal plants, recommended by the actors of traditional medicine in this region

Methods: The survey carried out involving actors of traditional medicine in the central Middle Atlas made it possible to establish a list of toxic medicinal plants recommended by these actors. A field survey was then conducted in order to identify the plants inventoried in the different sites of the study area, for taxonomic confirmation and /or determination.

Results: Ethnobotanical survey allowed us to identify 123 medicinal plants used. Of these, 83 are declared toxic. The floristic prospection of these 83 toxic medicinal plants revealed that the majority of these plants are spontaneous herbaceous, with a rate of endemism of 8.34%. In addition, these plants are grouped into 74 genera and distributed over 36 families, of which the most represented are Lamiaceae (15.66%) and Asteraceae (14.46%). Also, the study revealed that Anacyclus pyrethrum L., Aristolochia paucinervis Pomel and Urtica urens L. are the most toxic plants used therapeutically. Moreover, the results show that for some plants, the most toxic parts are the most recommended by practitioners of traditional medicine in the study area, generally with internal use. Thus, the risks of poisoning are indisputable and accentuated by the recorded cases of confusion.

Conclusion: The Middle Atlas is a region known for its flora biodiversity and especially for poisonous medicinal plants. The uncontrolled use of these plants can lead to sequelae and possibly serious intoxications.

Keywords: Floristic prospecting, toxic medicinal plants, Central Middle Atlas, phytotherapy.

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