Advertisement

Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 911–924 | Cite as

Medical ethnobotany of the Tabarkins, a Northern Italian (Ligurian) minority in south-western Sardinia

  • Andrea Maxia
  • Maria Cristina Lancioni
  • Alessandra Nicoletta Balia
  • Raffaella Alborghetti
  • Andrea Pieroni
  • Maria Cecilia Loi
Research Article

Abstract

A medico-ethnobotanical study was conducted among the Tabarkin communities living in Calasetta and Carloforte, in south-western Sardinia. These communities represent a Ligurian minority who have resided in Sardinia since their forebears migrated from Tabarka in Tunisia in the second half of the 18th Century, having previously migrated to Tabarka from Genoa in 1544. In this study, we conducted more than 200 interviews and recorded 53 botanical taxa and 72 folk pharmaceutical preparations, which represent the folk medicine of the Tabarkins. The folk phytotherapy of the Tabarkins living in Calasetta and Carloforte is quite restricted compared with other folk phytotherapy recorded in similar recent ethnobotanical studies conducted in Sardinia. This could indicate that there has been a remarkable erosion of Traditional Knowledge (TK) within these two communities. Of particular interest are a few local medical uses we recorded that have never or only very rarely been documented in Italy; namely the use of Dittrichia graveolens (L.) Greuter as an anti-haemorrhoidal, of Centaurea calcitrapa L. as a remedy for malaria, of Glycyrrhiza glabra L. in ophthalmic treatments, and of Urtica dioica L. as an antiviral in cases of German measles. Most of the botanical species quoted in this research are referred to in the two centres using a local Ligurian idiom. Most of the medico-botanical uses we recorded are very similar to those collected in other ethnobotanical surveys carried out in Liguria and south-western Sardinia. Because there was no evidence in this research of any substantial ethnobotanical traces related to the communities’ North-African experience, it would appear that the Tabarkins have readily adopted their host culture’s use of medicinal plants and have retained their own traditional cognitive concepts and knowledge of the natural plant world through the language only.

Keywords

Ethnic minority groups Ethnobotany Ligurians Sardinia Tabarkins 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Special thanks are due to all the Tabarkins for their enthusiasm and for sharing their knowledge with the authors. The authors wish to thank Prof. Rachid Chemli of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Monastir (Tunisia) for making available the Tunisian ethnobotanical data. We also thank Lindsay Lyons for editing this manuscript.

References

  1. Alexiades MN, Sheldon JW (1996) Selected guidelines for ethnobotanical research: a field manual. New York Botanical Garden, BronxGoogle Scholar
  2. American Antropological Association (1998) Code of Ethics. Available from: http://www.aaanet.org/committees/ethics/ethcode.htm (accessed July 2007)
  3. Atzei A (2003) Le Piante nella tradizione popolare della Sardegna. Defino Editore, SassariGoogle Scholar
  4. Atzei AD, Orrù L, Putzolu F, Rozzo G, Usala T (1994) Le piante nelle terapie tradizionali della Sardegna sud-occidentale. Stef, CagliariGoogle Scholar
  5. Balick M, Kronenberg F, Ososki A et al (2000) Medicinal plants used by Latino healers for women’s health conditions in New York City. Econ Bot 54:344–357Google Scholar
  6. Ballero M, Fresu (1991) Piante officinali impiegate in fitoterapia nel territorio del Marganai (Sardegna sud-occidentale). Fitoterapia LXII:524–531Google Scholar
  7. Ballero M, Fresu I (1998) Plants used in folk medicine of Monteleone (Northern Sardinia). Fitoterapia LXIX:52–64Google Scholar
  8. Ballero M, Bruni A, Sacchetti G et al (1994) Indagine etnobotanica del territorio di Arzana (Sardegna orientale). Annali di Botanica (Roma) LII:489–499Google Scholar
  9. Ballero M, Floris R, Poli F (1997a) Le piante utilizzate nella medicina popolare nel territorio di Laconi (Sardegna centrale). Bollettino della Società Sarda di Scienze Naturali XXXI:207–229Google Scholar
  10. Ballero N, Poli F, Sacchetti G et al (2001) Ethnobotanical research in the territory of Fluminimmaggiore (south-western Sardinia). Fitoterapia 72:788–801PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ballero M, Sacchetti G, Poli F (1997b) Plants in folk medicine in the territory of Perdasdefogu (Central Sardinia, Italy). Allionia 35:157–164Google Scholar
  12. Barnes J, Anderson LA, Philipson JD (2007) Herbal medicines, 3rd edn. Pharmaceutical Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Berlin EA, Berlin B (2005) Some field methods in medical ethnobiology. Field Methods 17:235–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Boukef MK (1986) Les plantes dans la médecine traditionnelle tunisienne, médecine traditionnelle et pharmacopée. Agence de coopération culturelle et technique, TunisGoogle Scholar
  15. Bruni A, Ballero M, Poli F (1997) Quantitative ethnopharmacological study of the Campidano Valley and Urzulei district, Sardinia, Italy. J Ethnopharmacol 57:97–124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chaieb I, Harzallh-Skhiri F, Chemli R (2002a) Etude des plantes alimentaires à usage medicinal dans la région de Sfax (Tunisie). 3eme Congrés International de Phytotérapie Clinique 11–12 May 2002, Sousse, TunisiaGoogle Scholar
  17. Chaieb I, Harzallh-Skhiri F, Chemli R (2002b) Contribution à une étude ethnobotanique de la flore en Tunisie (cas de la région de Sfax). XIémes Journées Nationales de Biologie, 24–26 March 2000, Monastir, TunisiaGoogle Scholar
  18. Chrubasik JE, Roufogalis BD, Wagner H et al (2007) A comprehensive review on the stinging nettle effect and efficacy profiles. Part II: urticae radix. Phytomedicine 14:568–579PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Conti F, Abbate G, Alessandrini A et al (2005) An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora. Palombi, RomeGoogle Scholar
  20. Cotton CM (1996) Ethnobotany: principles and applications. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  21. Gastaldo P, Barberis G, Fossati F (1979) Le piante nella medicina tradizionale nei dintorni di Praglia (Appennino ligure-piemontese). Atti dell’Accademia Ligure di Scienze e Lettere 1979:125–158Google Scholar
  22. Ghirardini MP, Carli M, Del Vecchio N et al (2007) The importance of a taste: a comparative study on wild food plants consumption in twenty-one local communities in Italy. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 3:22PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Guarrera PM (2006) Usi e tradizioni della flora italiana. Medicina popolare ed etnobotanica. Aracne Editrice, RomeGoogle Scholar
  24. Hadjichambis AC, Paraskeva-Hadjichambi D, Della A et al (in press) Wild and semi-domesticated food plants consumption in seven circum Mediterranean areas, Int J Food Sci Nutr. doi: 10.1080/09637480701566495
  25. Hammer K, Laghetti G (2006) Small agricultural islands and plant genetic resources. Le piccole isole rurali italiane. IGV-CNR, BariGoogle Scholar
  26. Laghetti G, Parrino P, Cifarelli S et al (1999) Collecting crop genetic resources in Sardinia, Italy, and its islands. Plant Genet Res Newsl 120:30–36Google Scholar
  27. Leonti M, Nebel S, Rivera D et al (2006) Wild gathered food plants in the European Mediterranean: A comparative analysis. Econ Bot 60:130–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Loi MC, Poli F, Sacchetti G et al (2004) Ethnopharmacology of ogliastra (Villagrande Strisaili, Sardinia, Italy). Fitoterapia 75:277–296PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Loi MC, Maxia L, Maxia A (2005) Ethnobotanical comparison between two villages of Escolca and Lotzorai (Sardinia, Italy). J Herbs Spices Med Plants 11:67–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Milia G, Mossa L (1976) Ricerche floristiche e vegetazionali nell’isola di San’Antioco (Sardegna meridionale). Bollettino della Società Sarda di Scienze Naturali 16:168–213Google Scholar
  31. Palmese MT, Uncini Manganelli RE, Tomei PE (2001) An ethno-pharmacobotanical survey in the Sarrabus district (south-east Sardinia). Fitoterapia 72:619–643PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pardo-de-Santayana M, Tardio M, Blanco E et al (2007) Traditional knowledge of wild edible plants used in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal): a comparative study. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 3:27PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Penzig O (1924) Flora Popolare Italiana. Raccolta dei nomi dialettali delle principali piante indigene e coltivate in Italia. Volume Primo. Orto Botanico dell’Università di Genova, Genoa (Reprint: Edizioni Edagricole, Bologna 1974)Google Scholar
  34. Pieroni A, Quave CL (2006a) Traditional pharmacopoeias and medicines among Albanians and Italians in southern Italy: a comparison. J Ethnopharmacol 102:69–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pieroni A, Quave CL (2006b) Functional foods or food medicines? On the consumption of wild plants among Albanians and Southern Italians in Lucania. In: Pieorni A, Price LL (eds) Eating and healing. Traditional Food as Medicine, Haworth Press, Binghamton, pp 101–129Google Scholar
  36. Pieroni A, Torry B (2007) Does the taste matter? Taste and medicinal perceptions associated with five selected herbal drugs among three ethnic groups in West Yorkshire, Northern England. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 3:21PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pieroni A, Vandebroek I (eds) (2007) Traveling plants and cultures. The ethnobiology and ethnopharmacy of human migrations. Berghahn, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  38. Pieroni A, Gray C (in press) Herbal and food folk medicines of the Russlanddeutschen Living in Künzelsau/Taläcker, South-Western Germany. Phytother ResGoogle Scholar
  39. Pieroni A, Nebel S, Quave C et al (2002a) Ethnopharmacology of liakra, traditional weedy vegetables of the Arbëreshë of the Vulture area in southern Italy. J Ethnopharmacol 81:165–185PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pieroni A, Janiak V, Dürr CM et al (2002b) In-vitro antioxidant activity of non-cultivated vegetables of ethnic in southern Italy. Phytother Res 16:467–473PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pieroni A, Muenz H, Akbulut M et al (2005) Traditional phytotherapy and trans-cultural pharmacy among Turkish migrants living in Cologne, Germany. J Ethnopharmacol 101:258–270PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pieroni A, Giusti ME, de Pasquale C et al (2006) Circum-Mediterranean cultural heritage and medicinal plant uses in traditional animal healthcare: a field survey in eight selected areas within the RUBIA project. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 2:16PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pieroni A, Sheikh QZ, Ali W et al (in press) Traditional medicines used by Pakistani migrants from Mirpur living in Bradford, Northern England. Compl Ther Med. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2007.03.005
  44. Reiff M, O’Connor B, Kronenberg F et al (2003) Ethnomedicine in the urban environment: dominican healers in New York City. Hum Organ 62:12–26Google Scholar
  45. Rivera D, Obón C, Inocencio C, Heinrich M et al (2007) Gathered food plants in the Mountains of Castilla–La Mancha (Spain): ethnobotany and multivariate analysis. Econ Bot 61:269–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sandhu DS, Heinrich M (2005) The use of health foods, spices and other botanicals in the Sikh community in London. Phytother Res 19:633–642PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Toso F (2002) Isole Tabarchine. Le Mani, GenoaGoogle Scholar
  48. Waller DP (1993) Methods in ethnopharmacology. J Ethnopharmacol 38:189–198PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Maxia
    • 1
  • Maria Cristina Lancioni
    • 1
  • Alessandra Nicoletta Balia
    • 1
  • Raffaella Alborghetti
    • 1
  • Andrea Pieroni
    • 2
  • Maria Cecilia Loi
    • 1
  1. 1.Co.S.Me.Se. (Consorzio Interuniversitario per lo Studio dei Metaboliti Secondari), Dipartimento di Scienze BotanicheUniversità degli Studi di CagliariCagliariItaly
  2. 2.Division of Pharmacy Practice, School of Life SciencesUniversity of BradfordBradfordUK

Personalised recommendations