Friday, October 01, 2021 by Franz Walker
Infertility is a health problem that humanity has been dealing with since ancient times. Around the world, traditional healers have developed various ways of dealing with this problem. Now, a group of Palestinian researchers are tapping into this knowledge in hopes of finding new treatments for infertility.
Ethnopharmacological surveys are one of the most reliable tools for discovering natural medicines. In fact, herbs and other natural products, as well as their chemical derivatives, represent about 50 percent of all currently utilized medications worldwide.
With this in mind, researchers from An-Najah National University in Palestine conducted a study on the herbal remedies for infertility used by traditional healers in the region. They posited that studying these traditional remedies may eventually lead to new treatments for infertility.
Their findings were published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The researchers chose the West Bank area due to its wild biodiversity and abundance of farms and rangelands. This area has a central mountain chain that is grooved with deep valleys and is rich in natural resources.
These factors, combined with the area’s rich historical and cultural diversity, have enriched the diversity of ethnomedicine in the region. This includes traditional remedies for infertility.
To gather ethnopharmacological data about herbal remedies used to treat infertility in both men and women, the researchers conducted open-ended semi-structured interviews with 51 traditional healers from the region. They collected information on medicinal plants that the healers used, as well as their methods of preparation.
The researchers also conducted a transect walk in which they collected plants under the supervision of the traditional healers. They deposited plant vouchers for the collected specimens at the Natural Products Laboratory of An-Najah National University for identification. They then cross-referenced the plants’ names with data from the United Kingdom’s Royal Botanic Gardens.
To protect the interests of the traditional healers, the researchers informed them of the study’s objectives. The healers did not receive any incentives and were allowed to withdraw from the study any time they pleased.
From the survey, the researchers identified 31 plants from 24 families that are used to treat infertility in men, and 24 plants from 20 families that are used to treat infertility in women.
They also identified the most commonly cited plants by the healers. For treating male infertility, plant remedies with the highest Frequency of Citation (FC) were Ferula hermonis (zallouh) roots (96.08 percent), Phlomis brachyodon (short-toothed phlomis) leaves (88.24 percent) and Phoenix dactylifera (date palm) pollen grains (86.27 percent).
Meanwhile, for female infertility, the plants with the highest FC were Ceratonia siliqua (carob) pollen grains (98.04 percent), Anastatica hierochuntica (rose of Jericho) fruits (88.24 percent) and Parietaria judaica (spreading pellitory) leaves (84.31 percent). (Related: Alternative Treatments for Infertility Offers Hope.)
The researchers also noted the frequency with which specific plant parts were used. For treating female infertility, flowers, fruits, leaves and seeds were the most frequently used parts by traditional healers, followed by bark, roots, rhizomes and pollen grains.
For male infertility, the most frequently used parts were seeds, roots, leaves and pollen grains, followed by fruits, flowers and bulbs.
Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that the West Bank area of Palestine is rich in medicinal plants that can be used to treat male and female infertility. They also noted that some of these plants are used as infertility remedies elsewhere. The researchers believe that the information they obtained can be used in future studies on Palestinian traditional medicines that could be developed into effective treatments for infertility.
For more research on traditional remedies for infertility, follow AlternativeMedicine.news.
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