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Herbalists of today’s Switzerland and their plant knowledge: a preliminary analysis from an ethnobotanical perspective


Dal Cero, Maja; Saller, Reinhard; Weckerle, Caroline S (2015). Herbalists of today’s Switzerland and their plant knowledge: a preliminary analysis from an ethnobotanical perspective. Forschende Komplementärmedizin, 22(4):238-245.

Abstract

Background: Herbal medicine is a popular part of primary health care in Switzerland. Following an ethnobotanical approach, in this study we seek to identify Swiss herbalists with broad, empirical medicinal plant knowledge and use. We aim to consider different areas of the medicinal landscape including biomedicine, complementary and alternative medicine, and self-medication.
Material and Methods: A total of 61 expert interviews were conducted from February 2010 to November 2011. The transfer of knowledge was analyzed according to a Switzerland-related selection of historical and recent popular as well as scientific herbal books.
Results: A total of 254 medicinal plant species, belonging to 218 genera and 87 families, were recorded in 934 use reports. Predominantly leaves and flowers are used for the treatment of dermatological, respiratory, nervous, and gastrointestinal problems. Recent to historical herbal books are an important source of plant knowledge.
Conclusions: Medicinal plants are used for self-medication and professional health care and despite different underlying medicinal concepts and philosophies, herbalists largely agree on the most important medicinal plant species.

Abstract

Background: Herbal medicine is a popular part of primary health care in Switzerland. Following an ethnobotanical approach, in this study we seek to identify Swiss herbalists with broad, empirical medicinal plant knowledge and use. We aim to consider different areas of the medicinal landscape including biomedicine, complementary and alternative medicine, and self-medication.
Material and Methods: A total of 61 expert interviews were conducted from February 2010 to November 2011. The transfer of knowledge was analyzed according to a Switzerland-related selection of historical and recent popular as well as scientific herbal books.
Results: A total of 254 medicinal plant species, belonging to 218 genera and 87 families, were recorded in 934 use reports. Predominantly leaves and flowers are used for the treatment of dermatological, respiratory, nervous, and gastrointestinal problems. Recent to historical herbal books are an important source of plant knowledge.
Conclusions: Medicinal plants are used for self-medication and professional health care and despite different underlying medicinal concepts and philosophies, herbalists largely agree on the most important medicinal plant species.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Complementary Medicine
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Systematic Botany and Botanical Gardens
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:16 Sep 2015 07:29
Last Modified:01 Sep 2016 00:00
Publisher:Karger
ISSN:1661-4119
Additional Information:© 2015 S. Karger AG
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1159/000438809

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