A cross-cultural comparison of folk plant uses among Albanians, Bosniaks, Gorani and Turks living in south KosovoReport as inadecuate

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Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine

, 11:39

First Online: 12 May 2015Received: 20 January 2015Accepted: 22 April 2015DOI: 10.1186-s13002-015-0023-5

Cite this article as: Mustafa, B., Hajdari, A., Pieroni, A. et al. J Ethnobiology Ethnomedicine 2015 11: 39. doi:10.1186-s13002-015-0023-5


BackgroundKosovo represents a unique hotspot of biological and cultural diversity in Europe, which allows for interesting cross-cultural ethnobotanical studies. The aims of this study were twofold: 1 to document the state of traditional knowledge related to local esp. wild plant uses for food, medicine, and handicrafts in south Kosovo; and 2 to examine how communities of different ethnic groups in the region Albanians, Bosniaks-Gorani, and Turks relate to and value wild botanical taxa in their ecosystem.

MethodsField research was conducted in 10 villages belonging to the Prizren municipality and 4 villages belonging to the Dragash municipality, located in the Sharr Mountains in the southern part of Kosovo. Snowball sampling techniques were used to recruit 139 elderly informants 61 Albanians, 32 Bosniaks-Gorani and 46 Turks, for participation in semi-structured interviews regarding the use of the local flora for medicinal, food, and handicraft purposes.

ResultsOverall, we recorded the local uses of 114 species were used for medicinal purposes, 29 for food wild food plants, and 20 in handicraft activities. The most important species used for medicinal purposes were Achillea millefolium L., Sambucus nigra L., Urtica dioica L., Tilia platyphyllos Scop. Hypericum perforatum L., Chamomilla recutita L. Rauschert, Thymus serpyllum L. and Vaccinium myrtillus L. Chamomilla recutita was the most highly valued of these species across the populations surveyed. Out of 114 taxa used for medicinal purposes, only 44 species are also included in the European Pharmacopoeia. The predominantly quoted botanical families were Rosaceae, Asteraceae, and Lamiaceae. Comparison of the data recorded among the Albanian, Bosniak-Gorani, and Turkish communities indicated a less herbophilic attitude of the Albanian populations, while most quoted taxa were quoted by all three communities, thus suggesting a hybrid character of the Kosovar plant knowledge.

ConclusionCross-cultural ethnobiological studies are crucial in the Balkans not only for proposing ways of using plant natural resources, which could be exploited in sustainable local development projects e.g. focusing on eco-tourism and small-scale trade of medicinal herbs, food niche and handicrafts products, but also for fostering collaboration and reconciliation among diverse ethnic and religious communities.

KeywordsEthnobotany Sharr Mountains Folk medicine Kosovo Medicinal plants Wild food plants  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Behxhet Mustafa - Avni Hajdari - Andrea Pieroni - Bledar Pulaj - Xhemajli Koro - Cassandra L Quave

Source: https://link.springer.com/

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