Analysis of herbal medicine among Bedouin of the Saint Catherine Protectorate (southern Sinai Peninsula) and its comparison to modern drug design

Rivka Ofir, Roni Lev, Miriam Ron, Ilan Stavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Saint Catherine region of southern Sinai Peninsula’s drylands encompasses a unique combination of geophysical conditions. These features have formed highly diverse habitats, which support extremely complex plant communities. Throughout history, the local Bedouin population has used many of these plants for therapeutic purposes. The objectives of this study were to document the medicinal knowledge for as many as possible plant species, evaluate this ethnobotanic knowledge against a modern biomedical database, and identify links between the two disciplines. On-site gathering of information, through structured interviews with two local key informants, revealed the traditional use of 90 native vegetation species for a range of therapeutic purposes. Surveying the modern biomedical uses of these plant species in the PubMed database revealed medicinal use for 41 of them, as well as other plant species without known traditional therapeutic uses. Of the 41 plant species, in-depth integration of traditional and modern knowledge was implemented for 20 species, for which sufficient information was found in the PubMed. The results highlight the common ground between the two disciplines, and propose bridges between traditional and modern medicines. The study stresses the need for additional research in ethnobotany, which may assist in developing new plant-based medications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2278831
JournalSustainable Environment
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Saint Katherine Protectorate
  • clinical experience
  • ethnopharmacology
  • medicinal plants
  • modern biomedicine
  • therapeutic plant-use
  • traditional practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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