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An ethnomedicinal survey of a Tashelhit speaking community in the High Atlas, Morocco

Teixidor-Toneu, Irene, Martin, Gary J., Ouhammou, Ahmed, Puri, Rajindra K., Hawkins, Julie A. (2016) An ethnomedicinal survey of a Tashelhit speaking community in the High Atlas, Morocco. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 188 . pp. 96-110. ISSN 0378-8741. (doi:10.1016/j.jep.2016.05.009) (KAR id:58664)


Ethnopharmacological relevance:

Traditional knowledge about medicinal plants from a poorly studied region, the High Atlas in

Morocco, is reported here for the first time; this permits consideration of efficacy and safety of current

practices whilst highlighting species previously not known to have traditional medicinal use.

Aim of the study:

Our study aims to document local medicinal plant knowledge among Tashelhit speaking communities

through ethnobotanical survey, identifying preferred species and new medicinal plant citations and

illuminating the relationship between emic and etic ailment classifications.

Materials and methods:

Ethnobotanical data were collected using standard methods and with prior informed consent obtained

before all interactions, data were characterized using descriptive indices and medicinal plants and

healing strategies relevant to local livelihoods were identified.


151 vernacular names corresponding to 159 botanical species were found to be used to treat 36 folk

ailments grouped in 14 biomedical use categories. Thirty-five (22%) are new medicinal plant records

in Morocco, and 26 described as used for the first time anywhere. Fidelity levels (FL) revealed low

specificity in plant use, particularly for the most commonly reported plants. Most plants are used in

mixtures. Plant use is driven by local concepts of disease, including “hot” and “cold” classification

and beliefs in supernatural forces.


Local medicinal plant knowledge is rich in the High Atlas, where local populations still rely on

medicinal plants for healthcare. We found experimental evidence of safe and effective use of

medicinal plants in the High Atlas; but we highlight the use of eight poisonous species.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.05.009
Uncontrolled keywords: Ethnomedicine; traditional knowledge; medicinal plants; Informant Consensus Factor; Berber
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Q Science > QK Botany
R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
R Medicine > RV Botanic, Thomsonian, and eclectic medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Rajindra Puri
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2016 12:18 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 03:42 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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