Ethnobotany of Dagestan
Background: Dagestan is one of the most ethnically diverse regions of Russia, home to more than 17 indigenous ethnic groups. Geomorphologically, Dagestan is divided into four main physiographic provinces: Plain, Outer Mountain, Middle Mountain and High Mountain. The highlands are characterized by considerable depths of relief dissection and large height differences. The diversity of natural landscape, climate, flora, isolation of ethnic groups by inaccessible mountains, caused different specificity of cultural development of peoples, which was reflected in the peculiarities of the use of plants in folk life. This paper presents for the first time the results of a comprehensive ethnobotanical study, which was conducted to document wild plants used by indigenous ethnic groups of the Republic of Dagestan.
Methods: Ethnobotanical information of the region was collected in 2022-2023 by questionnaire survey of the data received from the population. More than 300 people were interviewed among different ethnic groups throughout the territory of the Dagestan Republic.
Results: 48 commonly utilized wild plants belonging to 25 families were recorded, of which 20 species were used for both food and medicinal purposes, 20 species were only for food, and 8 species were only for medicinal purposes. The most frequently used plants were from the family Rosaceae (8 species), 6 species were from the family Apiaceae, 4 species were from the family Lamiaceae, 3 species each were from the families Asteraceae and Alliaceae, 2 species each were from the families Boraginaceae, Fabaceae, Polygonaceae, Viburnaceae.
Conclusions: Studies have shown that the population of Dagestan currently continues to use the plants extensively for food, but medicinal use has decreased after the appearance of pharmacies in the region with preparations from the world pharmaceutical industry. To our opinion, phytochemical and pharmacological studies of plants used by Dagestan ethnic groups will allow to create promising medicines on their basis.
Keywords: Ethnobotany, Dagestan, North Caucasus, medicinal plants.
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