The status and perception of medicinal plants by local population of Adrar province (Northern Mauritania)
Background: In the province of Adrar (northern Mauritania), there is significant interest in medicinal plants and their use. However, the utilization of herbal medicines has been largely underestimated, with little or no scientific data regarding the status, perception of inhabitants of northern Mauritania, confidence in the healing properties of medicinal plants, and the conservation of traditional medicinal heritage of the local population.
Methods: The semi-structured interviews, and questionnaires were conducted between 2014 and 2016 in the 11 municipalities of Adrar province. A total of 120 participants aged from 20 to 90 years old, including 24 herbalists and 28 traditional healers. The ethnobotanical data were quantitatively analyzed using indices such as relative popularity level (RPL), rank order priority (ROP), the Medicinal Plant Knowledge index (MPKi), the Medicinal Plant Use index (MPUi), and the Informant consensus factor (ICF).
Results: In the present study, we identified 68 taxa from 27 different botanical families. The most significant family is Fabaceae, with 14 species. These plants are used to treat 50 conditions or symptoms grouped into 14 pathological groupings according to the international classification of primary care (ICPC-2). The analysis revealed that the highest value of MPU was obtained for Vachellia tortilis (Forssk.) Galasso &Banfi., Adansonia digitate L. and Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Delile (MPUi= 100%). In addition, the high fidelity level (FL=100) was recorded for Vachellia tortilis, Adansonia digitata and Balanites aegyptiaca, these three species a very high capability (ROP=100) in improving hypertension and Diabetes. For the Informant Consensus Factor (ICF) the most prevalent groups were Cardiovascular (K) with (ICF=0.97).
Conclusions: The knowledge revealed in this study provides a particularly unique source of information on local traditional medicine and adds value to Adrar province.
Keywords: Mauritanian plants, Medicinal plants, Adrar, ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, traditional medicine.
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