Poisonous medicinal plants used in the popular pharmacopoeia of the Rif, Northern Morocco

Author(s): Noureddine Chaachouay

Background/Aim: Popular herbal medicine has served as a unique health provider for human beings for thousands of years. It has ever been part of human history. Hence, herbal remedies as medicines either have side consequences or are ineffective. In the present study, we document and value the toxic plants used as medicines in the Rif region, intending to assess the knowledge of indigenous people on the toxicity of the natural products used. Materials and Methods: Ethnobotanical survey was conducted in the R if, northern Morocco between June 2016 and June 2018 using semi-structured questionnaires and focus groups. An investigation of the scientific literature was conducted to sustain or verify the claimed toxicological information. Results: A total of 84 species of plants belonging to 67 genera and 30 families were reported as being used in the prevention and treatment of diseases. The families reported to be most representatives of these kinds of plants are Asteraceae and Fabaceae (7 species). However, the highly toxic plant prescribed was Rosmarinus officinalis L. Leaf was the most commonly used plant part, and the majority of herbal remedies were prepared from a decoction (40.6%).Conclusions: The results of this investigation showed that the local people in the Rif are still dependent on herbal medicine. These species used for remedial purposes are noted to have a potential toxic impact associated with their irrational consumption. Therefore, we suggest that attention should be observed when using them as medicinal sources.

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