RELEVANCE AND BACKGROUND: "Dictamnus" was a popular name for a group of
medicinal herbaceous plant species of the Rutaceae and Lamiaceae, which
since the 4th century have been used for gynaecological problems and
other illnesses BCE and still appear in numerous ethnobotanical records.
research has as four overarching aims: Determining the historical
evolution of medical preparations labelled "Dictamnus" and the different
factors affecting this long-standing herbal tradition. Deciphering and
differentiating those medicinal uses of "Dictamnus" which strictly
correspond to Dictamnus (Rutaceae), from those of Origanum dictamnus and
other Lamiaceae species. Quantitatively assessing the dependence from
herbal books, and pharmaceutical tradition, of modern Dictamnus
ethnobotanical records. Determining whether differences between Western
and Eastern Europe exist with regards to the Dictamnus albus uses in
ethnopharmacology and ethnomedicine.
exhaustive review of herbals, classical pharmacopoeias, ethnobotanical
and ethnopharmacological literature was conducted. Systematic analysis
of uses reported which were standardized according to International
Classification of Diseases - 10 and multivariate analysis using
factorial, hierarchical and neighbour joining methods was undertaken.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:
popular concept "Dictamnus" includes Origanum dictamnus L., Ballota
pseudodictamnus (L.) Benth. and B. acetabulosa (L.) Benth. (Lamiaceae),
as well as Dictamnus albus L. and D. hispanicus Webb ex Willk.
(Rutaceae), with 86 different types of uses. Between 1000 and 1700 CE
numerous complex preparations with "Dictamnus" were used in the
treatment of 35 different pathologies. On biogeographical grounds the
widespread Dictamnus albus is a far more likely prototypical "Dictamnus"
than the Cretan endemic Origanum dictamnus. However both form integral
parts of the "Dictamnus" complex. Evidence exists for a sufficiently
long and coherent tradition for Dictamnus albus and, D. hispanicus, use
to treat 47 different categories of diseases.