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Traditional and alternative natural therapeutic products used in the treatment of respiratory tract infectious diseases in the eastern Catalan Pyrenees (Iberian Peninsula)

AuthorsRigat, Montserrat; Vallès, Joan; Iglésias, Jaume; Garnatje, Teresa
Folk medicine
Medicinal plants
Issue Date9-Jul-2013
CitationJournal of Ethnopharmacology 148(2) :411–422 (2013)
AbstractEthnopharmacological relevance Respiratory tract diseases, including mild troubles, such as the common cold, and also life-threatening ones such as bacterial pneumonia and lung cancer, are very important in terms of mortality, incidence, prevalence and costs. Classical medicine has undoubtedly addressed these illnesses, but the body of knowledge generated by alternative approaches, among which folk medicine plays an important role, is not at all negligible. Aims of the study In this context, we performed an ethnobotanical study in a Catalan region of the eastern Pyrenees, northeast Iberian Peninsula, in order to assess the popular knowledge on useful plants. We present here the data concerning pharmaceutical uses of plants devoted to respiratory illnesses. Methodology A total of 160 informants (94 women and 66 men, born between 1915 and 1988) were interviewed during 102 semi-structured interviews. Voucher specimens were collected, and then processed and deposited in the herbarium BCN. Results We collected information about 99 plant taxa (94 species – some of them with subspecies – of 85 genera belonging to 50 families) popularly employed to prevent or treat respiratory troubles. The degree of reliability of uses is high, as indicated for instance by an informant consensus factor of 0.83 and by high medicinal importance indexes for many taxa. In addition, we have recorded information on 14 animal and four mineral products also used against respiratory ailments, this constituting the first ethnopharmacological work in the Catalan linguistic area to report plant, animal and mineral remedies, and one of the very few in the Iberian Peninsula involving the study of ethnozoological medicines. Conclusions The data collected show a high degree of consistency and indicate a remarkable persistence of folk knowledge on plant uses. The anticatarrhal, antitussive and for sore throat are the most valuable uses. This research could be the starting point for further research aiming to obtain products that may generalise the alternative medical uses here raised at a local level. Phytochemical and pharmacological studies on some of the plants quoted here – of which we could provide material to potentially interested researchers – would be useful first steps in this process.
Description12 p., fot., gráf. -- Post-print del artículo publicado en Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Versión revisada y corregida.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2013.04.022
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