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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 723: I International Symposium on the Labiatae: Advances in Production, Biotechnology and Utilisation

TRADITIONAL USES OF LABIATAE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN AREA

Author:   M. Mulas
Keywords:   Folk medicine, medicinal and aromatic plants, handicrafts, cosmetics, religious practices.
Abstract:
The Mediterranean area is one of the most important for plant biodiversity. A large number of taxa are autochthonous and many others were introduced into the region during the evolution of the botanic platform. The Labiatae family is particularly rich in biodiversity and since ancient times humans have used it for many purposes. The most quoted genera in the literature are: Hyssopus, Lavandula, Majorana, Melissa, Mentha, Ocimum, Origanum, Rosmarinus, Salvia, Thymus, and, to a minor extent: Acinos, Ajuga, Ballota, Calamintha, Clinopodium, Coridothymus, Dorystaechas, Galeopsis, Glechoma, Lamium, Leonurus, Lycopus, Marrubium, Melittis, Micromeria, Nepeta, Phlomis, Prunella, Satureja, Scutellaria, Sideritis, Stachys, Teucrium, Thymbra, and Ziziphora. This is because these genera have been traditionally used by Mediterranean communities. Different traditional uses are documented including the following: human food or for feeding livestock, aromatic, liqueur production, medicinal or veterinary plants, to combat pests and parasites, cosmetic, house decoration, fuel or illumination, in handicrafts, to produce soap, to tan leather, to dye cloth, in religious, magic or superstitious rituals. The raw materials have also been used in many different forms: fresh, dry, powdered, as infusions in water, oil or alcohol, as ointment, burned and eventually smoked, and sniffed as powder. We report a synthesis of the main uses and some information obtained from the literature databases.
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