Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants commonly used by local Bedouins in the Badia region of Jordan

J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jul 30;148(3):921-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.05.044. Epub 2013 May 29.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: The harsh dry environment of the Badia region in Jordan harbors many valuable plant species that are well known to be used by the local Bedouins (Bedu) for medicinal purposes. An ethnobotanical study was conducted as a part of the local knowledge study which was carried out in 2010. The target participants were livestock owners in the arid Jordanian Badia region.

Aim of the study: The objective of the study was to document traditional knowledge in using wild plants to treat health problems in order to conserve this valuable knowledge from loss; to identify the key plant species used; and to calculate the Informant Consensus Factor (ICF) for each category of health disorder, the Fidelity Level (FL%) and the Use Value (UV) of the plant species used by the Bedouin.

Materials and methods: The data was collected by interviewing 80 participants whom were interviewed face to face of whom 21% were women. The team designed a questionnaire that helped in the data gathering, and also recorded the procedures used by the local communities on video.

Results: A total of 47 plant species are used by local Bedouins for medicinal purposes. The majority of these species are native to the study area, for example: Artemisia judaica, Citrullus colocynthis, Ecballium elaterium and Rheum palaestinum. The study showed that the plant species with the highest UV is Artemisia herba-alba and that Ducrosia flabellifolia is a remarkable native plant species with a high FL% in curing dental pain. Moreover, the highest value of ICF was scored for dental disorders, followed by gastrointestinal disorders, and jaundice which may indicate the high incidental occurrences of these diseases and/or the lack of dental care services in the rural areas.

Conclusion: The study showed an agreement of the local Bedouins on using certain plant species, particularly natives in their dry surroundings, in treating certain health disorders. Some plants showed high use values and fidelity levels to treat certain health problem. Further investigation should be carried out in Jordan on the pharmaceutical value and production practices of these native medicinal plants that have very low water requirements in a country with extreme water shortages.

Keywords: Badia; Ducrosia flabellifolia; Informant consensus factor (ICF); Jaundice; Medicinal plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabs
  • Ethnobotany
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Jordan
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires