An Ethnobotanical and Ethnomedicinal Study on the Use of Wild Medicinal Plants in Rural Areas of Serbia
Book part (Published version)
© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014
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In the traditional culture of the Serbian people, medicinal plants are of medicinal, economic, and cultural anthropological importance and represent a symbol of health. Among other things, they are used in the healing of people and animals, for food, beliefs and customs, and as a source of income. This chapter describes the usage of 80 of the most frequently used and well-known medicinal herbs in ethnomedicine and 15 used in ethnoveterinary medicine in rural areas of Serbia. Different plant parts (rhizomes, roots, tubers, bulbs, leaves, buds, flowers, fruit, seeds, bark, needles, the aerial part or the whole plant) are used internally or externally, as tea, decoction, tincture, syrup, oil, or ointment, or are applied directly to the skin. In addition to tea, the most important role in Serbian ethnomedicine traditionally is played by rakija prepečenica (very strong plum brandy) or komovica (grape pomace brandy) combined with a medicinal herb (gentian, wormwood, walnut, juniper, etc.). Medicinal plants that are predominantly used internally (50 %) are mainly used for treating diseases of the digestive system, skin conditions, respiratory system diseases, urogenital problems, nervous tension, gynecological problems, etc., whereas external applications are used in the treatment of rheumatic diseases, arthritis, injuries, wounds, cuts, boils, hemorrhoids, and other skin complaints.