Sunday, 27 September 2015

A study on current status of herbal utilization in Bulgaria: Part 1 - Application of herbal medicines

Article Number - 563632D51269

Vol.10(5), pp. 168-176 , March 2015
DOI: 10.5897/SRE2015.6172
ISSN: 1992-2248
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Asya Pencheva Dragoeva

Vanya Petrova Koleva

Zheni Dimitrova Nanova

Teodora Veselinova Koynova

Pavlina Kalcheva Jordanova

 Received: 31 January 2015  Accepted: 18 February 2015  Published: 15 March 2015

Copyright © 2015 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0

Despite increasing interest in phytotherapy, little is known about patterns of herb utilization in modern society. Ethnobotanical studies are useful tool to evaluate the dynamics of traditional knowledge. To our knowledge, there is no study focused on collection of information about herbal utilization from a wide range of people in Bulgaria. 1) the attitudes toward benefits of medicinal plants; 2) the most popular herbal application; 3) the manner in which herbs are being obtained; 4) how specific demographic features of the participants related to their attitude. This survey was carried out in different regions in Bulgaria, between May and July 2013 using the face-to-face interview technique. A descriptive statistic procedure and chi-square test were employed for data analysis. Simple linear coefficient test is calculated to determine the correlation between herbal knowledge and demographic features of the informants. The results revealed that 93.89% of the respondents believed that herbs are beneficial for their health; age exerted impact on this statement. A larger proportion of the respondents uses herbs frequently and if necessary. About 60% of the informants use medicinal plants for disease treatment and prophylaxis. Only 11.37% of respondents reported to gather herbs from natural habitats; impact of age and place of residence was established. Self-gathering is preferred by the respondents belonging to groups with low socio-economic status. More than a half of the respondents (61.92%) prefer to buy herbs from the pharmacy. The survey shows the persistence of traditional knowledge in contemporary Bulgarian population. The impact of modern society on herbal application is obvious. Demographic features exerted negligible influence on the attitudes toward herbal utilization.
Key words: Ethnobotanical survey, traditional knowledge, herbal utilization.