Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used in the rural area of the Western High Atlas (Morocco)


  • Fatima El-Ghazouani
  • Rachid Boukhanfer
  • Bouchra Yacoubi
  • Abderrahmane Zekhnini Ibn Zohr University, Faculty of Sciences, 80 000 Agadir, Morocco


Background: This study aimed to address the lack of comprehensive research on the use of medicinal plants in the Western High Atlas, a landlocked region known for its rich plant biodiversity.

Methods: A survey was conducted among 150 participants, utilizing semi-structured interviews to collect socio-economic data and information on medicinal plants.

Results: Most respondents had limited education (76%). Approximately half of the population reported no income (49%), and a significant proportion lacked medical insurance (84%). The study documented the use of 101 plant species from 54 families. High Use Values were observed for Argania spinosa, Opuntia ficus-indica, Tetraclinis articulata, Rosmarinus officinalis, and Trigonella foenum-graecum (UVs 3.17 – 3.67). Thymus broussonetii, Thymus satureoides, T. articulata, and Chenopodium ambrosioides exhibited high Relative Frequencies of Citation (0.23 - 0.47). Notable Fidelity Levels (100%) were observed for T. satureoides, Allium sativum, and Ephorbia officinarum for respiratory diseases, T. foenum-graecum for urinary affections, C. ambrosioides for fever, and Cuminum cyminum for bloating. Digestive and respiratory disorders were the most treated, with respiratory ailments demonstrating the highest ICF (0.86). The study documented new uses, such as Ononis natrix for hepatic disorders, Ammodaucus leucotrichus for digestive and respiratory ailments, and T. articulata for diarrhea.

Conclusion: One hundred and one medicinal plants were listed. The remedies primarily aimed to treat respiratory, digestive, and urinary diseases that recorded high ICFs. New uses were noted for O. natrix, A. leucotrichus, and T. articulata.

Keywords: Ethnobotany; High Atlas; Morocco; Traditional Medicine




How to Cite

El-Ghazouani, F., Boukhanfer, R., Yacoubi, B., & Zekhnini, A. (2024). Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used in the rural area of the Western High Atlas (Morocco). Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 29, 1–26. Retrieved from