Emilia Romagna and Malta: A comparative ethnobotanical study
Keywords:Ethnobotany, Folk medicinal plants, Malta, Italy, Asteraceae, Lamiacea, Apiaceae
Background: A comprehensive ethnobotanical study was conducted on two Mediterranean regions which crossed over in the past through several cultures. Although the two regions have distinctive geographical and cultural characteristics, the aim of this study was to determine potential ethnobotanical similarities between the two regions.
Methods: This desk research involved the thorough examination of the floral species that thrive in these two regions and ethnobotanical information collected from reliable sources. Once the information was collected, the data was sorted and organized into matrices and then analyzed statistically.
Results: Following a thorough search for common plants within the two regions, 193 taxa, distributed in 72 plant families, were identified. The three predominant families, Asteraceae, Lamiaceae and Apiaceae, were selected according to the popularity of medicinal uses of the taxa within the families (10.4 %, 7.8 % and 5.2 %, respectively). The popular therapeutic ratios for taxa within the Asteraceae, Lamiaceae and Apiaceae families varied between 0.14-1.00, 0.17-0.82 and 0.27-0.60, respectively. It was observed that the most targeted therapeutic system was the gastrointestinal system covering several ailments that included gastric disturbances, liver and biliary conditions, and intestinal problems.
Conclusions: It can be concluded that although, these two regions are distinct from each other, the two regional communities share the common understanding that the health status of an individual depends on the maintenance of the health of the digestive system. Today, several studies support this relationship, with scientific evidence and the use of natural products for their medicinal, nutraceutical and functionality in everyday life.
Key words: Ethnobotany, Folk medicinal plants, Malta, Italy, Asteraceae, Lamiacea, Apiaceae.
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