Use of medicinal plants in Middle Atlas of Morocco: potential health risks and indigenous knowledge in a Berber community
El Houssine Bouiamrine, Lamiae Bachiri, Jamal Ibijbijen and Laila Nassiri
The indigenous herbal knowledge was studied in Amazigh (Berber) communities through questionnaire and interviews with street vendors and herbalists. The results about the age and sex of vendors of medicinal plants show that the greater parts of vendors are seniors. Their age range is mostly between 66 and 89 years of age and the majority are women. These women make do both the harvesting and trade of plants in the traditional markets. Confusions during plant harvesting were recorded. The most frequent cases of confusion concerned "Euphorbia resinifera", whose vernacular name is "Daghmous". This plant is widely used by the local population to treat cysts and cancer. Confusion has also been observed in many scientific articles with species belonging to very distant families. Most of herbaceous fresh plants traded in traditional markets that we studied are whole plants which allow an easy botanical identification. Trees or shrubs are sold in the form of branches, barks or roots, which sometimes makes visual identification difficult. The risk of poisoning by these false medicinal plants can sometimes be high. We also noticed that the Berber women who sell plants possess a perfect control of medicinal plants and their uses than male street vendors. The practice of traditional medicine is deeply rooted in the Amazigh culture of Atlas and is perpetuated from generation to generation thanks to women who have possessed this thousand-year old phytotherapeutic knowledge.
El Houssine Bouiamrine, Lamiae Bachiri, Jamal Ibijbijen, Laila Nassiri. Use of medicinal plants in Middle Atlas of Morocco: potential health risks and indigenous knowledge in a Berber community. J Med Plants Stud 2017;5(2):338-342.