Spontaneous medicinal plants used by the population of Ain Sefra province (Southwest Algeria): An ethnobotanical study
Southwest Algeria has a significant but little studied biodiversity, closely associated with a diverse cultural heritage. Medicinal plants are commonly used by the local population as traditional therapeutic treatments. This study was carried out with the aim of inventorying the spontaneous species used by the populations of the Ain Sefra region (south-western Algeria) and to gather information on the ancestral know-how of the local populations in terms of therapeutic use. The ethno-botanical survey was carried out using a semi-structured questionnaire among local herbalists practising in the study area. The data collected was analysed using quantitative indices such as species use value (UV), informant consensus factor (FIC) and fidelity level (FL). The results showed that 48 spontaneous medicinal plants were recognised and identified as medicinal species. These plants belonged to 28 families, of which the families Asteraceae and Lamiaceae are the most represented with 18% and 12% respectively. The leaves are the most used parts for medicinal purposes with decoction being the most used mode. Thus according to the (UV) Juniperus thurifera L. and Cotula cinerea Delile are the most used. Thus Artemisia herb alba Asso had the highest level of fidelity (100%) for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. In conclusion, this study revealed that the local population of the Ain Sefra region has a strong ethnobotanical knowledge and still uses local spontaneous medicinal species to treat several diseases.