Ethnopharmacological survey of medicinal plants practiced by traditional healers and herbalists for treatment of some urological diseases in the West Bank/Palestine

Background: Throughout history, every civilization in the world used plants or their derivatives for treatment or
prevention of diseases. In Palestine as in many other countries, herbal medicines are broadly used in the treatment
of wide range of diseases including urological diseases. The main objective of this research is to study the use of
herbal remedies by herbalists and traditional healers for treatment of various urological diseases in the West Bank
regions of Palestine and to assess their efficacy and safety through the literature review of the most cited plants.
Method: The study included a survey part, plant identification and a review study. The first part was a crosssectional
descriptive study. Face to face questionnaires were distributed to 150 traditional healers and herbalist in
all regions of the West Bank of Palestine. The literature review part was to assess the most cited plants for their
efficacy and toxicity.
Results: One hundred forty four herbalists and traditional healers accepted to participate in this study which was
conducted between March and April, 2016. The results showed that 57 plant species belonging to 30 families
were used by herbalists and traditional healers for treatment of various urinary tract diseases in Palestine. Of these,
Apiaceae family was the most prevalent. Paronychia argentea, Plantago ovata, Punica granatum, Taraxacum syriacum,
Morus alba and Foeniculum vulgare were the most commonly used plant species in the treatment of kidney stones,
while Capsella bursa-pastoris, Ammi visnaga and Ammi majus were the most recommended species for treatment of
urinary tract infections and Portulaca oleracea used for renal failure. In addition Curcuma longa and Crocus sativus
were used for enuresis while Juglans regia, Quercus infectoria, Sambucus ebulus and Zea mays were used for
treatment symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia. Fruits were the most common parts used, and a decoction
was the most commonly used method of preparation. Through literature review, it was found that Paronychia
argentea has a low hemolytic effect and contains oxalic acid and nitrate. Therefore, it could be harmful to renal
failure patients, also Juglans regia, Quercus infectoria and, Sambucus ebulus are harmful plants and cannot be used
for treatment of any disease.
Conclusions: Our data provided that ethnopharmacological flora in the West Bank regions of Palestine can be
quite wealthy and diverse in the treatments of urinary tract diseases. Clinical trials and pharmacological tests are
required evaluate safety and efficacy of these herbal remedies.

 

Journal
Title
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publisher
Biomedical Central
Publisher Country
United Kingdom
Indexing
Thomson Reuters
Impact Factor
1.987
Publication Type
Prtinted only
Volume
17
Year
2017
Pages
255-273