Traditional Medicinal Plants of Van Province, Eastern Anatolia

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Dalar A., Mükemre M.

in: Anatolia: Past, Present and Future Perspectives, Trıne B Schou, Editor, NOVA Science Publishers Inc. , New-York, pp.51-162, 2020

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Publisher: NOVA Science Publishers Inc.
  • City: New-York
  • Page Numbers: pp.51-162
  • Editors: Trıne B Schou, Editor
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


This chapter presents significant ethnomedicinal knowledge of plant taxa by local people of Van Province of Eastern Anatolia. The richness of the local flora, the traditional and pastoral farming based lifestyle of local tribes, rurality of the province and limited opportunities of modern medical facilities resulted in a unique traditional medicinal system in the province. Through the richness of medicinal plant utilization, there is a limited report on documentation and inventory analysis on plant taxa used in the traditional medicine of Van Province. Hence, this study aimed to (I) record accumulation of the traditional medicinal plant knowledge of Van Province comprehensively to preserve the valuable local medicines knowledge, which has been threatened by urbanization, (II) analyze data to determine the most efficient plant taxa according to the ailment categories for drug discovery, (III) analyze local knowledge of plant materials that can assist pharmaceutical studies and (IV) reveal the origin(s) of traditional knowledge utilized in Van Province. Traditional medicinal plant determination surveys were conducted during seven years (2013-2019) through structured face-to-face interviews with the local healers who are well known in the province for their long practice in folk medicine (672 informants). Demographic characteristics of the participants, names of the local plants, plant part(s) used, preparation and utilization methods were all evaluated and recorded properly. Additionally, to assess the reliability of ethnomedicinal plant knowledge specified by the local people, data analysis (informant consensus factor; ICF) was calculated.

336 plant taxa belong to 165 genus (specifically Salvia, Allium, Centaurea, Plantago, and Hypericum) and 55 families (principally Asteraceae, Lamiaceae, and Apiaceae) were detected in the province. Data analysis revealed that hormonal disorders (ICF: 0.9881) was the most common ailment category in the province, followed by respiratory tract or muscle and joint pain (ICF: 0.9867), analgesic (ICF: 0.9864), and dermatological (ICF: 0.9856) categories. According to ICF analysis, it can be suggested that plant taxa used in Van folk medicine might serve as promising pharmaceutical agents. For instance, Artemisia absinthium, Campanula glomerata, Diplotenia turcica, Gundelia colemerikensis, Helichrysum plicatum, Lathyrus tuberosus, and Onopordum turcicum might be scientifically evaluated for their antidiabetic capacity. In respiratory tract ailments treatment, the following herbal medicines can be evaluated: Alcea digitata, Anthemis cretica, Mentha longifolia, Prunus divaricata, Rosa canina, Rosa pisiformis, Tanacetum balsamitoides, and Thymus kotschyanus. Also, for muscle and joint pain, Alcea sp., as an analgesic, Scutelleria sp., for dermatological disorders treatment, Alcea kurdica, Allium sp., Artemisia vulgaris, Cephalaria microcephala, Ferula haussknechtii, Medicago sp., Onobrychis sp., Rhus coriaria, Salvia verticillata, Plantago sp., Trifolium sp., and Cichorium intybus can be appraised. The rich local flora combined with the isolated traditional tribe culture in Van Province resulted in a unique plant-based traditional medicine knowledge that was mainly based on the trial and error method and passed down orally. The semi-nomadic lifestyle and rich local flora present in Van Province provided an extensive utilization of plant sources as significant folk medicines and suggest an important database for scientific pharmacological studies.