Economic Botany

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 370–382 | Cite as

Species Substitution in Medicinal Roots and Possible Implications for Toxicity of Herbal Remedies in Morocco

  • Abderrahim Ouarghidi
  • Bronwen Powell
  • Gary J. Martin
  • Hugo De Boer
  • Abdelaziz Abbad
Article

Species Substitution in Medicinal Roots and Possible Implications for Toxicity of Herbal Remedies in Morocco. Herbal medicine is an integral part of health care in Morocco and is widely used by Moroccans. However, the efficacy and safety of traditional plant-based medicine in Morocco is threatened by insufficient knowledge about practices of adulteration and substitution. These issues are of particular importance when subterranean plant parts are employed. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was used to identify where and why confusion (accidental substitution) and intentional substitution occurs in root-based medicines sold in Marrakech. Additionally we examined local perceptions of the toxicological risks posed by substitution.

We recorded a total of 20 species (34 unique cases) of roots for which substitution or confusion was reported by either herbalists or collectors. Substitution or confusion occurred in 54.6 % of the 33 most commonly sold medicinal roots, with herbalists reporting substitution in more species than collectors. Collectors and herbalists cited poor availability of roots (in part due to overexploitation of wild resources), high demand, high prices, and lack of knowledge as factors driving substitution and confusion. Roots for which substitution was reported were significantly more difficult for herbalists to identify. Moreover, profit was higher for roots for which intentional substitution was reported. Despite the detailed knowledge held by many herbalists and a long tradition of use of herbal medicine in Morocco, doctors and pharmacists had dismissive attitudes towards traditional medicine and expressed concern about both efficacy and safety of medicinal plant use. Given the high rates of substitution and confusion documented by this study, there is an urgent need for appropriate regulation of herbal remedies in Morocco, a conclusion embraced by herbalists and Western-trained medical practitioners alike.

Key Words

Confusion adulteration identification herbalists collectors doctors pharmacists markets NTFP Morocco 

ملخص

يعتبر التداوي بالأعشاب جزء لا يتجزأ من الرعاية الصحية بالمغرب و يستعمل على نطاق واسع من طرف المغاربة؛ملخص ومعدالك تبقى سلامة و فعالية التداوي بالأعشاب التقليدية مهددة، لعدة اسباب ندكر منها على سبيل المثال لا الحصر المعرفة غيرالكافية، ممارسات الاستبدال و الغش. ويعتبر استخدام جذور الأعشاب من اهم القضايا الحساسة. لدلك تمت دراسة الأسبابالأساسية و المكان الذي يتم فيه الاستبدال لجذور الأعشاب الطبية التي تباع في معشبات مراكش، بالمغرب وكذلك قدرةالعشابين _اللذين هم بمثابة خبراء_ على التعريف بجذور الأعشاب الأكثر استعمالا. لقد تم اعتماد مجموعة من المناهج الكيفيةو الكمية لتوضيح الاستبدال و أسباب حدوثه. و استخدمت المناهج الكيفية لتسجيل تصورات العشابين و جامعي الأعشاب والأطباء و الصيادلة حول ممارسات الاستبدال، ومخاطر التسمم بسبب الاستبدال والغش و الخلط بين الأعشاب الطبية. لقد تمتسجيل ما مجموعه 20 نوعا من جذور الأعشاب التي تم فيها الاستبدال و الخلط، كما ورد على لسان العشابين و جامعيالأعشاب،وتم التفريق بين أشكال متعددة حيث الاستبدال و الخلط محتملين. و قد تم استبدال و خلط ما نسبته %57،6 من أصلما اشار اليه جامعي الأعشاب, إلا أن الاستغلال المفرط، و انعدام المعرفة و الخبرة، و ندرة الموارد المادية، و ارتفاع الطلبو غلاء الأسعار كلها عوامل تقف وراء الاستبدال. كان من الصعب جدا تحديد جذور الأعشاب التي ورد فيها الاستبدال و الخلطمن طرف العشابين , علاوة على دالك، فان سعرالبيع و هامش الخطر يكون أكبر في جذور الأعشاب الطبية التي تعرضت للخلط أو الاستبدال. على الرغم من المعرفة الدقيقة لدى العشابين ، و قدم ممارستهم للطب التقليدي ، فان الأطباء و الصيادلةلهم موقف معارض تجاه الطب التقليدي و أعربوا عن قلقهم حول سلامته و فعاليته.ان معطى المعدلات المرتفعة للاستبدال و الخلط المقترحة من خلال هده الدراسة، إلى جانب المخاطر المحتملة الناتجة عندلك و التي تهدد الصحة العمومية ،إلا انه، مع دالك، كان من الملاحظ أن كل من العشابين و الأطباء فشلوا في التعبير عنقلقهم حول التسمم؛ في حين أنهم عبروا عن اهتمامهم بالتقنين

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abderrahim Ouarghidi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bronwen Powell
    • 3
  • Gary J. Martin
    • 2
    • 4
  • Hugo De Boer
    • 5
    • 6
  • Abdelaziz Abbad
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biotec-VRV, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of Cadi AyyadMarrakechMorocco
  2. 2.Global Diversity FoundationCanterburyUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.School of Dietetics and Human NutritionMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Rachel Carson Center for Society and EnvironmentLudwig Maximilian UniversityMunichGermany
  5. 5.Department of Systematic BiologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  6. 6.Naturalis Biodiversity CenterSection National Herbarium of the NetherlandsLeidenThe Netherlands

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