Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 60, Issue 7, pp 2055–2080 | Cite as

Traditional medicinal plant knowledge among Albanians, Macedonians and Gorani in the Sharr Mountains (Republic of Macedonia)

  • Besnik Rexhepi
  • Behxhet MustafaEmail author
  • Avni Hajdari
  • Jehona Rushidi-Rexhepi
  • Cassandra L. Quave
  • Andrea Pieroni
Research Article


A medico-ethnobotanical study was conducted among Albanians, Macedonians, and Gorani in forty-one villages located in the Sharr Mountains in western Macedonia. The survey was conducted by interviewing local people of each community about the medicinal plants and their uses and properties. Seventy-six mainly wild taxa were found to represent the remaining folk medical heritage of the area. The large majority of the recorded plants are used in form of teas, and mainly for minor dysfunctions of the respiratory system. Among the findings, the uncommon uses of Ballota nigra L. (leaves) tea as a digestive, Convolvulus arvensis L. (aerial parts) tea against hypertension, Chenopodium urbicum L. leaves (topically applied) for treating hemorrhoids, and Cornus sanguine L. (leaves and fruits) tea against stomachaches could be of interest for further phytopharmacological studies. A significant portion of study participants raised concerns regarding the possibility of over-exploitation of a few species due to collecting practices serving both local and outside (pharmaceutical) markets. Most of the uses reported by Macedonians and Gorani were also recorded among Albanians, while a significant portion of plants quoted by Orthodox Macedonians showed an idiosyncratic use. This may be explained by the fact that the Gorani lived very close to the Albanian communities in the study area over the last century, with marriages between the two communities being commonplace and facilitated by their shared (Muslim) faith.


Albanians Ethnobotany Macedonia Medicinal plants Sharr Mountain 



Special thanks are due all study participants of the Sharr Mountains.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Besnik Rexhepi
    • 1
  • Behxhet Mustafa
    • 2
    Email author
  • Avni Hajdari
    • 2
  • Jehona Rushidi-Rexhepi
    • 3
  • Cassandra L. Quave
    • 4
  • Andrea Pieroni
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of BiologyState University of TetovaIlindenska, TetovoRepublic of Macedonia
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of Prishtina Mother TeresaPrishtinaKosovo
  3. 3.South-East European UniversityIlindenska, TetovoRepublic of Macedonia
  4. 4.Center for the Study of Human HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  5. 5.University of Gastronomic SciencesBra/PollenzoItaly

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