Ethnobotanical Heritage


 

 

 

Village Healer Husniye Turan, from Akdam Village, Kagizman

 

RECORDING ETHNOBOTANICAL DATA

Many different ethnic groups, each with different plant usage traditions, weave the landscape of Eastern Anatolia, but the gathering of wild plants for food and medicine, once a rich tradition, has fallen out of vogue. One main reason for this decline is the loss of traditional knowledge due to heavy migration from rural communities to the big cities. The specialized knowledge is disappearing with the elders as those remaining behind lack traditional knowledge of how to use the plant kingdom with reverence, and to the benefit the community.

Anatolia Foundation team noticed that the project communities are surrounded by an abundant flora, which remains mostly unused and unidentified. We invited a team of international experts, including an Ayurvedic doctor from India and a foremost Turkish botanist, to direct field studies and compile information on traditional plant usages from elders and healers.  They took botanical students on field trips to environmentally sensitive areas to identify and catalog this precious resource. Students visited and interviewed elders and compiled disappearing information on traditional plant usage in the region. Plants used for food and folk medicine were identified and the information recorded.


Golnaz Karakurt washing Caksir (Ferula orentalis)


Esmecayir Village, eating Mircalik (Trogopon aureus) Akyoz Plateau, Sarikamis, Wild Onion (Allium spp)


The project educated local villagers about the importance of recognizing and protecting local flora. In this remote region where livestock grazing is the basis of the local economy, emphasis was placed on raising awareness about the detrimental effects of over-grazing and measures to avoid it. During the project, over 500 plant taxons were scientifically identified and an extensive ethno-medicinal database recorded, while simultaneously protecting the intellectual rights of the villagers. Villagers visited during the data collection process were informed about the importance of the plants surrounding them. Most plants mentioned by healers were collected on the spot, pressed and identified by our botanical team. This project aims to contribute to safeguard what remians of the once rich but now disappearing Anatolian ethnobotanical heritage.



Kafkas University, Botanical Department Students getting instruction from Prof. Dr. Neriman Ozhatay (Istanbul University)

During the two years of our projects, student teams from Kafkas University Botanical Department interviewed many village healers on plant usage as food and medicine in the region. Despite the fact that major knowledge has been lost, an extensive recording of ethno-medicinal data has been initiated in this project. Most plants mentioned by healers were collected on the spot, pressed and identified by our botanical team.


ETHNOBOTANY STUDY

Student Report Summary

Kars is located in North East Anatolia. The city is surrounded by high plateaus and plains formed of volcano lava and ash; mountains and rocky areas and some forested land around Sarikamis. Kars is the coldest region of Eastern Anatolia. According to
Flora of Turkey there are about 1200 taxons in the Kars region. Local names are given to some of the endemic plants, such as: Lathyrus karsianus, Seneceio integrifolius subsp.karsianus, Chaerophyllum karsianum, Festuca karsianum , Allium karsianum , Nonea karsensis .

This study was conducted in 8 villages and includes some of the wild plants that are used medicinally, or eaten as food in the region. The information comes from interviews conducted with locals. The plants in question have been collected, dried and scientifically identified, then preserved at
the Biology Department’s Herbarium which was inaugurated in 2007 with Anatolia Foundation support.  At the end of the study, 45 taxons, used in the region medicinally or as food, were recorded with their latin and local names and their usage information, as in Tables 1-2 below:


Table 1: Inventory of Wild Plants used as Folk Remedy in Kars Province

Latin name

Vernacular Name

Family

Part used

Technique

Uses

Ajuga reptans

Mayasıl otu

Labiatae

Flowers

stems

Decoction with Mentha longifolium ssp longifolium

Hemorrhoids, pains, eczema

Anemone ablana subsp. armena

Sinüzit otu

Ranunculaceae

Base leaves

Leaves grounds and extracts

Headache & sinusitis

Anethum graveolens

Dere otu

Umbelliferae

All parts, seeds

Decoction

Gastritis, hemorrhoids & stomach disease

Artemisia absinthium

Yavşan otu

Compositae

Leaves, stems

Decoction

Diabetes

Anthemis cotula

Papatya

Compositae

Stems  leaves flowers

Decoction

Cold & cough

Astragalus

Geven

Leguminosea

Leaves roots

Decoction with honey

Stomach inflammation, tension, pain

Caltha polypetala

Lilipar

Ranunculaceae

Flowers

make soup

Internal organs haemorrhoids

Centaurea depressa

Oğul otu

Compositae

Leaves

Decoction

Expectorant, good for heart and asthma

Cephalaria gigontea

Kanteper

Dipsacaceae

Flowers

Decoction

Treats common cold, diuretic, menstruation regulator, relieves rheumatism, lung diseases and heart conditions

Filipendula vulgaris

Emen kömenci

Rosaceae

Leaves

Decoction, extacts make dough for lessions

Lesions, carbuncle, discharge

Hecisum palasi

Altın otu

Compositae

Flowers

Leaves Stems

Decoction

Diuretic

Heracleum trachyloma

Keküre

umbell

Stems

eat fresh, make pickle

Stomach disease

Juniperus oxycedrus

Ardıç

Cupressaceae

Fruits

Decoction with Urtica sp. & Petroselinum crispum

Rheumatism, constipation

Malva neglecta

Emen kömenci

Malvaceae

Stems Leaves

Decoction with Plantago major leaves

Gastritis & stomach disease

Mentha longifolium ssp longifolium

Yarpuz

Labiatae

Leaves Stems

Infusion with Camelia sinensis

Asthma, stomach disease

Pinus sylvestrls

Çam

Pinaceae

Coat Leaves

Decoction, make cream

Toothache, lesions, gastritis, expectorant

Plantago major

Bağa Leaves

Plantaginaceae

Leaves

Decoction with sugar

Stomachache, inflammation

Poligonum bistorta

Çayır eveleği

Polygonaceae

Flowers Stems

Dried and make soap, decoction

Stomachache, discharge

Sinapis sp.

Hardal

Cruciferae

Flowers

Stems

Decoction, dried and make flour for lessions

Headache, tootache, rheumatism

Ranunculus caucacicus

Sarı çiçek

Ranunculaceae

Air parts

Make soap, use the leave to heal wounds

Rheumatism, burns.

Rheum ribes

ışgın

polgonacea

Stems Roots

Eat fresh, root boiling

Diabetics

Rosa canina

Kuş burnu

Rosaceae

Leaves Stems Fruits

Infusion

Cold

Rosa pinpinellifolia

Siyah kuş burnu

Rosaceae

Fruits

Jam and decoction

Bellyache,

cold.

Rumex patientia

Evelik

Polygonaceae

Leaves

Decoction

Cold, tonsillitis, cough

Tanecetum chiliophyllum

Bronşit otu

Compositae

All parts

Decoction with Camelia sinensis & Tymus transcaucasica drink one glass of it every morning and evening

Lung disease, discharge, cold

Tanecetum balsamia

Kılıç otu

Bozboz

Compositae

Leaves Stems

Fresh

Leaves

Made into a healing salve to treat wounds and arthritis. Menstruation regulator

Taraxacum sp.

Karahindiba

Compositae

Roots Leaves

Decoction

Diabetes, kidney stones, hepatitis

Thalictrum minus

Astım otu

Ranunculaceae

Leaves Stems

Boiling and vapour inhalation

Asthma

Thymus transcaucasica

Kek otu

Labiatae

All parts

Infusion

Hypertension, cold

Tragopogon aureus

Yemlik

Compositae

All parts

Fresh

Intestinal worms

Trifolium ochroleucum

At elması

Leguminosae

Flowers Leaves Stems

Decoction

Constipation

Urtica dioica

Isırgan

Urticaceae

Leaves Stems

Decoction

Preventative for cancer Expectorant. Heals bronchitis and stomach ulcers.

Verbascum sp.

Sığır kuyruğu

Scrophulariceae

Flowers Leaves

Decoction with sugar

Expectorant. Heals hemorrhoids

Zea mays

Mısır

Graminea

Pistils

Decoction

Diuretic. Helps with rheumatism, prostate, coughs, stomach ache and headaches


Table 2: Inventory of Wild Plants used for Food in Kars Province

Latin name

Local name

Family

Part used

Technique

Uses

Amaranthus retrosa

Unluca Pancar

Amarantaceae

Leaves

Stems

Cooked or eaten fresh in salad

Food

Autheriscus cerefolium

Kımı

Umbelliferae

All Plant Parts

Eaten in soup

Food

Caltha polypetala

Lilipar

Ranunculaceae

All Plant Parts

Fried or added soup

Food

Ferula orientalis

Çakşır (çaşır)

Umbelliferae

Leaves

Stems

Eaten pickeled or fresh

Food

Heracleum antiasiaticum

Kangal

Umbelliferae

Stems

Food

Heracleum trachyloma

Keküre

Umbelliferae

Stems

Eaten pickled or fresh.

Food

Lathyrus tuberosus

Koş koz

Leguminosae

Fruits

Food

Lepidium vesicarium

Patpatık

Cruciferae

Seeds

Infusion

Food

Malabailadasyantha

Kelemen keçir

Apiaceae

Leaves

Fried or eaten in soup

Food

Mentha longifolia ssp longifolia

Yarpuz

Labiatae

Leaves Stems

Dried and ground into powder, used as condiment.

Food

Papaver orientale

Haşhaş

Papaveraceae

Seeds

Eaten as seeds, or ground into paste.

Food

Plantago major

Bağa Leaves

Plantaginaceae

Leaves

Cooked

Food

Poligonum bistorta

Çayır eveleği

Polygonaceae

Flowers Stems

Dried and added to soup.

Food

Polygonum cognutum

Madımak, Kuş ekmeği

Polygonaceae

All Plant Parts

Cooked or added to soup. Eaten fresh in salads.

Food

Ranunculus caucasicus

Mayıs flowers

Ranunculaceae

Flowers

Added to soup. Made into jam. Dried and powdered as condent.

Food

Rheum ribes

Işgın

Polgonacea

Stems Roots

Eaten fresh. Roots are cooked.

Food

Rosa pinpinellifolia

Siyah kuş burnu

Rosaceae

Fruits

Made into jam or tea.

Food

Rumex crispus

Kuzu kulağı

Polygonaceae

Leaves

Stems

Cooked or eaten fresh in salads.

Food

Rumex patientia

Evelik

Polygonaceae

Leaves

Cooked or added to soup.

Food

Sedum telephium

Çamış kulağı

Crassulaceae

Leaves

Eaten fresh

Food

Solanum nigrum

İt üzümü

Solanaceae

Fruits

Eaten fresh.

Food

Trifolium ocreleucum

Tut

Leguminosae

Flowers

Eaten fresh.

Food

Trogapogon paratenis

Yemlik

Compositae

All Plant Parts

Eaten fresh.

Food