Ethnopharmacological survey on medicinal plants used by Algerian population to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection
Background: The world is confronted with an acute pneumonia outbreak caused by SARS-CoV-2 and the use of plants remains the best choice for many populations to prevent the infection by this virus. This work is an ethnopharmacological survey on medicinal plants used for the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection by the Algerian population.
Method: This study was carried out in 2020 in three Algerian provinces (Bejaia, Bouira, and Boumerdes). Ethnobotanical information was obtained using a questionnaire by direct interview with 55 herbalists.
Results: The results indicated that the herbalists are predominantly men (94%) whose 70% of them have more than 5 years of experience in the field. The survey revealed that 25 medicinal plants belonging to 17 families were used by the population to prevent SARS-CoV-2 with a dominance of Asteraceae, Lamiaceae, and Zingiberaceae. The frequently used plants are Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L.M. Perry (92.72%), Origanum vulgare L. (78.18%), Mentha × piperita L. (50.9%) and Zingiber officinale Roscoe (50.9%). The plant part used is depending on the plant; the aerial parts are the most used, followed by fruit, then leaf, rhizome, seed, and flower, whereas bark, bulb and root are rarely exploited. The more frequently used methods of plant preparation are infusion (72%) followed by decoction (68%), and then maceration (28%).
Conclusion: This survey is a good enrichment of knowledge on the plants used by the Algerian population for the prevention of SARS-COV-2 infection. This study also provides researchers with important information that can be exploited to develop remedies and preventive drugs against COVID-19.
Key words: SARS-Cov-2, ethnopharmacology survey, medicinal plant, Algerian population, herbalist.
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