MEDICINAL PLANTS USED IN TRADITIONAL HERBAL MEDICINE IN THE FIFA VILLAGE/SOUTHERN JORDAN

by Abdullah Aloshoush

fifa village map
Figure (1) Fifa village map Click to Expand

Abstract

This study was conducted to identify the uses of plant species in traditional medicine in the Fifa village and to collect this information and save it from loss. Some of this information is not scientifi cally documented but is personally tested by some local communities. The questionnaire was taken with key informants like traditional healers between the aged of 25 to 60 years. From field surveys conducted among the population, 17 plants species commonly used as traditional home remedies in the Jordan valley were recorded.

Introduction

Ethnobotany is the science of documentation and conservation of original knowledge, which has been used by ethnic people since ancient history (Manandhar, 1989, Rijal, 2011). Today, millions of people around the world consume plant based medicines as part of traditional medicine for a range of medical disorders. The use of traditional medicine in developing countries contributes directly to the socio-economic status and well-being of the rural communities (Tabuti et al., 2003a; Chiranjibi et al., 2006). Conservation of plants and other natural resources has been an integral part of the cultural ethos of indigenous communities. Diff erent religions having their own traditions, beliefs, and rituals are associated with conserving the biodiversity and forests products (Karthikeyan and Tangavelou, 2011).

Jordan is a small country, but it has a great diversity of wild plants due to the varied geography and climate. It has been estimated that there are a total of 2000 plant species, belonging to 700 genera (Afi fi FU, Abu- Irmaileh B, 2002). The land itself is unique in its natural diversity due to its geographical location at the meeting point of three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe). Its special climate is influenced by the Mediterranean as a moderating factor and the desert as a drying factor (LevE, Amar Z, 2002). The flora of Jordan is rich regarding its number of plant species. There are 2,978 species belonging to 120 families and 719 genera recorded in Jordan (Al-Eisawi, 1982). The total number of medicinal plants recorded includes 363 species of vascular plants, belonging to 263 genera and 86 families. The taxa recorded are wild plants that occur in Jordan, except for a few species that are cultivated and well known to the people in the country (S.A. Oran, 1998). The aim of this study is to collect as much information as possible about medicinal plants in the Jordan Valley and save this knowledge from loss.

Materials and Methods

jordan valley
Jordan valley looking towards Israel from the Jordanian side

Study site

usage of plant part
Figure (2): Usage of plant part

Fifa village is located at the southwestern part of Jordan, about 33.5 km south to southeast of the Dead Sea and 157 km north of Aqaba city [East 731366.653, North 3427479,77].

Coordinates. It is situated in the Jordan Rift Valley between the southern part of the Dead Sea and the northern extent of Wadi Araba (Figure 1). Fifa village is located within the Sudanian (Tropical) Bio-Geographical Zone, which is characterized by high temperatures with warm winters and hot summers, combined with low annual rainfall of about 50-100 mm /year.

Methods

The survey was done between September 2019 and October 2019. Using open interviews, questionnaires were adopted for documentation of botanical knowledge in the Jordan Valley where the local communities have vast knowledge about their live fencing practices and the species used. The interviews were carried out from local people to document local name and botanical uses. About 100 informants have been interviewed on a random basis.

jordan-valley-plant-species
Table. 1. Plants species recorded in the Jordan Valley

Result and Discussion

In this survey, 17 plant species belonging to 14 families have been established to treat diff erent diseases in the Jordan Valley (Table 1). The plant parts mostly reported in this regard were leaves (10 plant species, 59%), latex (1 plant species, 6%), bulbs (4 plant species, 23%), tubers (1 plant species, 6%), and flowers (1 plant species, 6%). (fi g.2)

The purpose of this study was to highlight the plant species used in folk medicine in the Jordan Valley region in order to preserve this knowledge from loss and contamination for future generations. During the study, 20 plant species with medical uses were registered through 100 questionnaires from the population in the region. This shows a slight decline in the use of this type of medicine, especially in the younger category. As access to treatment became easy in rural areas, the use of folk medicine in the region declined.

Conclusion

The present study indicates that there are about 17 plant species used for medicinal purposes in the Fifa village the percentage of traditional medical use decreased especially among the youth category. The purpose of this study is to save this knowledge, which has come to be used almost exclusively by the elderly, from being lost.

Acknowledgment

The survey Team would like to express our thanks for the continuous support of all our colleagues for their help in contributing to the development of this study. We are grateful to Mr. Nashat Hamidan, director of the Conservation Monitoring Center, for his unlimited support and help.

Our thanks extend to Ibrahim Al-Mahasneh, the manager of Fifa Nature Reserve, for his logistical support and the rangers for field support.

Abdullah Aloshoush is in the Department of Biology, Mutah University, Jordan and is a member of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in Jordan.

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