To provide ethnopharmacological information on the use of medicinal plants for central nervous system (CNS) disorders in the Sinai Peninsula region (Egypt). To collect, analyze and evaluate the ethnobotanical knowledge about these medicinal plants in the Sinai Peninsula region with 61,000 km² and 379,000 inhabitants.
Field work was concluded between March 2006 and May 2011, using semi-structured questionnaire with 700 informants (mean age: 59; 100% men) from 117 settlements of 17 Bedouin tribes. Transects walks in wild herbal plant collection areas and bibliographical review on the collected plants were also conducted. The Interview/ Inhabitant index (I/P), relative importance value of the species and informant consensus factor (FIC) were calculated.
More than 300 species were traditionally used in folk medicine in the Sinai Peninsula; 101 of these species belonging to 40 families were reported as useful in different CNS disorders. Only 5 species are endemic of the studied area. All different part plants were used, leaves and aerial parts being the most frequent. Most of the remedies were prepared as infusion or decoction, while oral administration was the most common way to be used. Gastrointestinal (67.3%) and respiratory disorders (42.57%) were also reported as frequently treated by Bedouins with herbal remedies.
Only a few species were found where the traditional use is supported by pharmacological studies (Acacia nilotica, Achillea fragrantissima, Ajuga iva or Mentha longifolia). No bibliographical references in the scientific literature were found for 22 species (21.78%); finally, several studies were published with different pharmacological activities than those provided by Bedouins.
- Medicinal plants;
- Central nervous system disorders
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