Ethno Botanical Study of Some Medicinal and Edible Plants in Northeastern Statistical Region of Macedonia
Background: Information regarding the local importance and the use of medicinal and edible plants in Northeast Region of Macedonia is not available in the literature, but collection of plants is still an important and widespread practice in these regions. The Northeastern Statistical Region comprises the extreme northeast part of the Republic of Macedonia. It borders Kosovo and Serbia to the north and Bulgaria to the east, while internally; it borders the Skopje and Eastern statistical regions. Our aim was to document and compare the use of medicinal and edible plants in northeastern region.
Methods: From April 2015 to December 2016, 45 key informants from 15 villages of northeastern region were interviewed during field research. The age of the each key informants were over 60 years. Interviews were conducted in a way to explore the data regarding medicinal and wild edible plants. To address our research questions more fully, we used the simple mixed methods approach through face-to-face interviews and focus group discussion with 45 key informants (19 male and 26 female) of diverse ethnicity (15=Macedonians, 15=Albanians, and 15=Serbs) who had knowledge about medicinal and edible plants or were dependent on the local resources for their survival.
Results: A total of 79 plant specimens were collected. The informants interviewed by the first author, were asked to answer question concerning the use of medicinal and edible plants, via a previous free listing of pathologies and related use of “home remedies”. The cross-cultural comparison among three ethnic groups quoted in the field study shows that the three ethnic groups share some similar knowledge of plant uses between them (more than 50% common uses).
Conclusions: The present research documents the folk use of medicinal and edible plants in Northeastern region of Macedonia. This rapidly changing practice needs to be documented before it disappears or changes. Furthermore this study can be used as a basis for developing management plans for conservation, sustainable use and drug development.
Keywords - Ethnobotany, Folk knowledge, Key Informants, Macedonia, Comparison, Fidelity Level.