Medicinal Plant Use in Bouira Province, Northern Algeria

Al Asnam, Bouira, northern Algeria. Attribution: Bouizriphotography, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Medour et al. (2002)[1] carried out an ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plant use in two rural municipalities in the province of Bouira, Northern Algeria. This is a biodiverse, mountainous, Berber-speaking region with a rich ethnobotanical knowledge system.

Bouira is a province of Northern Algeria. Image taken from the cited paper [1].

Data were compiled from 69 informants among the local population and on 136 plant species. Data were gathered and data analyses were provided on:

  • Socio-demographic profile of the informants.
  • Diversity of medicinal plants.
  • Toxic plants.
  • Plant parts used, mode of preparation and administration.
  • Diseases groups, treated diseases and number of use reports.
  • Relative frequency of citation of the plant species recorded.
  • Frequency of use of the plant species recorded.
  • The percentage of informants claiming the use of a certain plant species for the same major purpose.
  • Consensus among informants for plant use for the different disease categories recorded.

Among the many interesting data provided in this quantitative survey, the most interesting for me were those on the most used medicinal plants for various types of symptoms or conditions. These are summarised in the table below, taken from the cited paper [1].

Medicinal plants used for various types of symptoms or conditions. Table taken from the cited paper [1].

Of particular interest to me personally are the reported uses of several plants commonly found in my own bio-region of Ibiza, Balearic islands, Spain, namely:

Allium sativum: Hypertension.
Cynara cardunculus
: Diabetes.
Ditricchia viscosa
: Arthritis.
Juniperus oxycedrus
: Furuncles.
Lavandula stoechas
: Colon pain.
Mentha spicata
: Flu.
Olea europaea
: Arthritis.
Papaver rhoeas
: Colon pain.
Pinus halapensis
: Flu.
Urtica dioica
: Hair loss.

[1] Meddour, R., Sahar, O., Abdoune, N., & Dermouche, M. (2022). Quantitative ethnobotanical investigation of medicinal plants used by local population in the rural municipalities of Haizer and El Asnam, province of Bouira, Northern Algeria. Mediterranean Botany, 43, e71190. https://doi.org/10.5209/mbot.71190

Coriander: Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry, Cardiovascular Benefits

Coriandrum sativum L.: Image from Wikimedia Commons. Public domain. Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany.

Simple Summary

The following is a simple summary of this recent review paper:

Mahleyuddin, N.N.; Moshawih, S.; Ming, L.C.; Zulkifly, H.H.; Kifli, N.; Loy, M.J.; Sarker, M.M.R.; Al-Worafi, Y.M.; Goh, B.H.; Thuraisingam, S.; et al. Coriandrum sativum L.: A Review on Ethnopharmacology, Phytochemistry, and Cardiovascular Benefits. Molecules 2022, 27, 209. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27010209.

1. Traditional Uses in Various Old-World Regions

Fruits (seeds)

  • Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, and joint pain.
  • Some liver diseases (roasted seeds).
  • Dyspeptic complaints, as a digestive.
  • Loss of appetite, as an appetiser.
  • Convulsions.
  • Anxiety, insomnia.
  • As a diuretic.
  • “Melancholia”.
  • To lower blood glucose levels.
  • Influenza.
  • Bad breath.
  • Bad odour from genitalia.

Leaves

  • Mouth ulcer.
  • Eye redness.
  • “Melancholia”.
  • Digestive complaints, poor digestion.
  • To lower blood glucose levels.

Aerial parts

  • Viral infection.
  • Neurasthenia.

Whole plant

  • Measles.
  • Diabetes.
  • Aerophagy.
  • Gastroenteritis.
  • As a diaphoretic.
  • As a diuretic.
  • As a carminative.
  • As a stimulant.

Essential oil

  • Aa an aphrodisiac.
  • As an analgesic.
  • As an antimicrobial, mouth infections.
  • As a digestive stimulant.
  • Gastric ulcers.

Unspecified part(s)

  • As a diuretic, some renal diseases.
  • Anxiety; as a sedative and muscle relaxant.

2. Main Phytochemical Constituents

Fruits (seeds)

  • Carotenoids including β-carotene.
  • Tocols: α-, β-, γ- δ- tocopherols, and α-, γ-tocotrienols.
  • Fatty acids: Petroselinic linoleic, palmitic and oleic acids.
  • Sterols: Stigmasterol, β-sitosterol, δ-stigmasterol.
  • Volatile constituents: Linalool, camphor, geraniol.

Aerial parts

  • Carotenoids including β-carotene.
  • Phenolic acids: Ferulic, gallic and caffeic acids.
  • Benzoic acid derivative: Salicylic acid.
  • Coumarins: Esculetin, esculin, scopoletin, 4-hydroxycoumarin, umbelliferone, dicoumarin.
  • Flavonoids: hyperoside, rutin, hesperidin, vicenin, diosmin, luteolin, apigenin, orientine, dihydroquercetin, catechin, arbutin.

Essential oil

  • Linalool.
  • γ-terpenine.
  • α-pinene.

3. Physiological Effects of Phytochemicals from C. sativum

Flavonoids: A flavonoid-rich fraction was found to have hypotensive activity.

Quercetin (a flavonoid): A quercetin-rich aqueous ethanolic extract inhibits α-amylase, α-glucosidase and lipase, and thus potentially has antidiabetic and anti-obesity effects.

Polyphenols: A polyphenol-rich extract inhibits angiotensin-converting enzyme thus potentially has a antihypertensive effect.

Isocoumarins: Isocoumarin aglycones and (to a lesser degree) isocoumarin glycosides (cilantroside A and B) have been found to have neurotrophic / neuroprotective effects by stimulation of nerve growth factor. The aglycones of isocoumarins also showed anti-inflammatory effects.

Phenolic glycosides: The phenolic glycosides daphnin and benzyl-O-β-d-glucoside have also been found to stimulate nerve growth factor.

Sterols: Plant sterols have hypocholesterolaemic effects.

Essential oil: Prominent activities against diabetes, microbial infections, and inhibitory to acetylcholinterase.

Other: A linalool, ascorbyl palmitate and petroselinic acid-rich petroleum ether extract of coriander seeds reduces oxidative stress, is hypolipidaemic, hypoglycaemic, and preventative against diabetic nephropathy.

4. Cardiovascular Benefits of C. sativum

A systematic review was carried out of studies investigating the potential cardiovascular benefits of C. sativum.

Studies have demonstrated the cardioprotective benefits of C. sativum. These include its effect as an antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-atherogenic, antiarrhythmic, as well as the improvement of other factors that may lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as altered lipid profile, hyperglycaemia and cardiac biomarkers or enzymes.

Most of the studies included in the review were in vivo studies carried out on laboratory animals. Only two were human studies. These latter demonstrated hypolipidaemic, hypocholesterolaemic, hypotensive and antioxidant effects of coriander seed powder. As to plant parts, the majority of the studies included investigated the effects of the seeds. The two studies on the leaves showed hypolipidaemic, hypotensive, normoglycaemic and antioxidant effects.

The authors comment that more in vitro studies are needed to elucidate mechanisms of action.

Caper Leaves and Other Herbs for Cystitis in the Rif Mountains of Morocco

Capparis spinosa L. (caper). Royalty-free image from Pxfuel.com.

This study is an ethnobotanical review of herbs traditionally used to treat Cystitis in the Rif, Northern Morocco.

Mountain ranges of North Africa. From Wikimedia Commons.

Of the 60 plant species described, Capparis spinosa L. (caper) was the most commonly used – as a decoction of the leaves – followed by Apium graveolens L. (celery) – whole plant as an infusion – and Ziziphus vulgaris Lam. (jujube) – fruit, eaten.

Rif Mountains by Hamza.hayoun. From Wikimedia Commons.

A table summarising the study’s findings can be found here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s43094-021-00226-2/tables/2.

Here is a link to the whole study: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s43094-021-00226-2.

Traditional Use of Medicinal Plants in Kerman Province, Iran

Roses in a flower garden, Kerman Province, Iran. Photo from Pxfuel. Public Domain.

The authors of this study surveyed the use by herbal healers of plant species found in Kerman Province, south-east Iran. They note that traditional (folk) medicine is a major component of healthcare in south-east Iran.

Kerman Province, Iran. Image from Wikipedia. Public Domain.

The study findings suggest that plants in the Asteraceae and Apiaceae families are used for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, Lamiaceae plants for respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments, and Apocynaceae and Euphorbiaceae plants for dermatological problems.

Photo of Rayen Citadel, Kerman Province, Iran, by Ninara, via Flickr. Creative Commons CC BY 2.0.

A full table of the medicinal plants identified and their uses by local herbal healers can be found here.

Hosseini, S.H., Bibak, H., Ghara, A.R. et al. Ethnobotany of the medicinal plants used by the ethnic communities of Kerman province, Southeast Iran. J Ethnobiology Ethnomedicine 17, 31 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-021-00438-z .

Copyright © Robert Hale 2021.

Plants Used for Urinary Stones in Traditional Iranian Medicine

This review of classic texts indicates that medicinal plants such as Feverfew, Chickpea, Bindii (Tribulus terrestris), Grape leaves, Lithospermum officinale, Carum copticum, Matricaria recutita, Grape, Prunus spp, Ferula persica, Apium graveolens, Nigella sativa, Peucedanum officinalis, Allium sativum, Centaurea cyan, Brassica rapa, Armenica vulgaris, Cucumber, Atriplex hortensis, Cucurbita maxima, Zingiber zerumbet, Arnebia euchroma and Origanum majorana are the most important medicinal plants used in traditional Iranian medicine for the treatment of kidney stones.

http://pbp.medilam.ac.ir/files/site1/user_files_7dh7d7/pirhadi-A-10-118-2-bf2b6d4.pdf

Pirhadi M. and Shahsavari S. An Overview of the Most Important Me-dicinal Plants Used in Iranian Traditional Medicine for the Treatment of Kidney Stones: A mini-review article. Plant Bio-technol Persa 2021; 3(1): 01-4.