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Ethnobotanical research and teaching: A Case in Bulgaria
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology. (Ethnobotany)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology. (Systematic Biology)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Evolution, Genomics and Systematics, Systematic Botany.
2006 (English)In: Program of the Society for Economic Botany 47th Annual Meeting, 2006Conference paper, Published paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Introduction

Bulgarian people in rural areas have a tradition of using herbal medicine as household remedies,

due partly to the scarcity of pharmaceuticals during the Soviet era. As part of a fieldwork exercise

in the ethnobotany course taught at Uppsala University students carried out ethnobotanical

research in different areas in Bulgaria to study and describe these traditions.

Objectives

To study: Plants used to treat fevers and cold; plants used to treat wounds and for pain-relief;

plants grown in home gardens; plants used for magical purposes; and awareness of endangerment

of medicinally used plants.

Methods

Our group of 16 students was divided in groups of two-three students. Each group had written a

project proposal focusing on one of the study objectives, and carried out this research with the help

of a Bulgarian translator, who was knowledgeable about the local flora. Three field sites had been

selected to spread the students throughout the country and to prevent informant fatigue. Interviews

were semi-structured and if necessary, walks were made with the informants to point out plants and

collect herbarium vouchers.

Results

The students as a whole managed to collect an enormous amount of data in a very short time, and

some groups carried out as many as 18 interviews during the 8-day field period. Results were

analyzed per group and presented during a one-day seminar at Ruse University, Bulgaria.

Conclusion

Bulgarian villagers, mainly ederly people, rely to a great extent on the use of medicinal plants to

treat common and non-threatening chronic diseases. These plants are often grown in home

gardens, and less so collected in the wild. Knowledge is often based on books, and less so on

maternal or paternal transmission. The people living in Roussenski Lom national park experience

that most medicinally used wild plants have stayed equal or increased in abundance over the last

decennium. Carrying out ethnobotanical field research can be effective and efficiently done as part

of a course training ethnobotany students.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006.
Keyword [en]
Student participation, Endangered plants, Ethnobotany teaching
National Category
Biological Systematics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-23269OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-23269DiVA: diva2:51043
Available from: 2007-01-26 Created: 2007-01-26 Last updated: 2012-01-12

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de Boer, Hugo J.Kool, AnneleenBjörk, Lars

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