Studies on Folkloric Medicinal Plants Used by Palestinians in the Qalqilia District

Discussion Committee: 
Prof. Mohammed S. Ali-Shtayeh- Supervisor
Dr. Mohammed Musmar- Internal Examiner
Dr. HazeSawalha- External Examiner Arab American University of Jenin)
Prof. Mohammed S. Ali-Shtayeh
Raeda Tawfeeq Ebrahim Daoud
An ethnobotanical study was conducted in the Qalqilia district, a semicoastal area in the northern West Bank, Palestine from January 2006 to April 2007. The study aimed at evaluating the current status of the Traditional Arabic Palestinian Herbal Medicine (TAPHM) in the Qalqilia District, determining medicinal plants still in use, their primary health care importance at the household level, economic value, conservation status, and their healing potentials. The work also aimed at documenting and preserving the traditional knowledge associated with the use of medicinal plants before its disappearance. Information was collected from 200 people: 174 women and 26 men, using specially designed questionnaires. The participants included 3 local healers, and 197 well known informants. One hundred and sixteen medicinal plants were reported to be used as a cure for 62 ailments. The studied plants belong to 46 families and 103 genera. The fidelity level (FL), relative popularity level (RPL), and rank order priority (ROP) of the medicinal plants were determined. Based on their FL values, the following plants were the most frequently utilized plants: Dianthus strictus Banks & Sol., Ficus sycomorus L., Pyrus communis L., Abelmoschus esculantus L., Oryza sativa L., Corylus avellana L., Cupressus sempervirens L., Salvadora persica L., Arachis hypogea L., Lepidium sativum L., Spinacia oleraceae L., and Opuntia ficus- indica (L.) Mill. Based on their RPL values, the following plants can be considered popular plants: Allium cepa L., Allium sativum L., Anisum vulgare L., Camellia thea Link., Ceratonia siliqua L., Citrus limon (L.) Burm. Fil, Coffea arabica L., Majorana syriaca (L.) Rafin., Matricaria aurea (L.) Sch. Bip., Mentha spicata L., Olea europaea L., Petroselinum sativum Hoffm., Ricinus communis L., Salvia fruticosa Mill., Sesamum indicum L., and Trigonella foenum- graecum L. The remaining plants were considered less popular. Based on ROP values, and primary use, the following medicinal plants were considered to be the most effective: Ceratonia siliqua L. (ROP= 92.9), Sesamum indicum L. (92), Cucumis sativus L. (85.6), Salvia fruticosa Mill. (86.2), Camellia thea Link. (81.6), Anisum vulgare L. (79.6), Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. (75.7), Teucrium polium L. (75.2), Crataegus aronia (L.) Bosc. ex DC. (74.3), Allium cepa L. (73.8), Majorana syriaca (L.) Rafin. (73.3), and Coffea arabica L. (70.3). The most frequently utilized plant parts were leaves 38.8 %, followed by fruits 25%, and seeds 24.1 %. The majority of remedies were used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, 97 plants (83.6 %) followed by skin related health problems, 77 plants (66.4%), and reproductive system, 68 plants (58.6%). This probably indicates a high incidence of these types of ailments in the region due to poor socio-economic and sanitary conditions of these people. Fifteen animal or mineral materials were also found to be used in the TAPHM for the treatment of human ailments.
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