Folk pharmaceutical knowledge in the territory of the Dolomiti Lucane, inland southern Italy

A. Pieroni, C.L. Quave, R.F. Santoro

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164 Citations (Scopus)


An ethnopharmacognostic survey on the traditional pharmaceutical knowledge (TPhK) of old and newly introduced natural remedies used for healing humans in a small mountainous area in Central Lucania, inland southern Italy, was carried out using classical ethnographical and ethnobiological methods. Approximately 110 remedies of plant origin (belonging to 103 botanical taxa), 30 of animal origin and 20 mineral or industrial (non-pharmaceutical) products were recorded. Among these remedies, the common use of the aerial parts of Hypericurn hircinum and the leaves of Morus alba against cough, and the uncommon uses of Salvia argentea leaves as a haemostatic, of Erigeron acer roots to relieve tooth-aches and arthritic pains, and Elaphe quatuorlineata snake fat for rheumatism are reported for first time in Italy. Moreover, diverse medicinal plants used for uncommon medical purposes and a few biological ingredients used in food preparations with the aim to improve human health were identified. Pharmacological and toxicological considerations relating to possible applications of the recorded traditional knowledge in modern evidence-based medicine are discussed as well. The data that we present here could suggest new inputs for further phytochemical and pharmacological studies among Mediterranean folk pharmacopoeias, and also for sustaining environmentally integrated projects focused on of the maintenance of TPhK via breeding or controlled gathering activities of local medicinal species. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-384
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • iberian peninsula
  • traditional phytotherapy
  • medicinal-plants
  • pallars pyrenees
  • hypericum-hircinum
  • catalonia
  • ethnobotany
  • region
  • campania
  • vegetables


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