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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Department of Plant Systematics: Angiosperm Working Group - Prof. Dr. Sigrid Liede-Schumann

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Dapar, MLG; Alejandro, G J; Meve, U; Liede-Schumann, S: Quantitative ethnopharmacological documentation and molecular confirmation of medicinal plants used by the Manobo tribe of Agusan del Sur, Philippines, Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 16, 14 (2020), doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-020-00363-7
Key words: Agusan Manobo, Cultural importance value, Ethnopharmacology, Mindanao, Molecular confirmation, Use diversity
Background: The Philippines is renowned as one of the species-rich countries and culturally megadiverse in ethnicity around the globe. However, ethnopharmacological studies in the Philippines are still limited especially in the most numerous ethnic tribal populations in the southern part of the archipelago. This present study aims to document the traditional practices, medicinal plant use, and knowledge; to determine the relative importance, consensus, and the extent of all medicinal plants used; and to integrate molecular confirmation of uncertain species used by the Agusan Manobo in Mindanao, Philippines. Methods: Quantitative ethnopharmacological data were obtained using semi-structured interviews, group discussions, field observations, and guided field walks with a total of 335 key informants comprising of tribal chieftains, traditional healers, community elders, and Manobo members of the community with their medicinal plant knowledge. The use-report (UR), use categories (UC), use value (UV), cultural importance value (CIV), and use diversity (UD) were quantified and correlated. Other indices using fidelity level (FL), informant consensus factors (ICF), and Jaccard’s similarity index (JI) were also calculated. The key informants’ medicinal plant use knowledge and practices were statistically analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results: This study enumerated the ethnopharmacological use of 122 medicinal plant species, distributed among 108 genera and belonging to 51 families classified in 16 use categories. Integrative molecular approach confirmed 24 species with confusing species identity using multiple universal markers (ITS, matK, psbA-trnH, and trnL-F). There was strong agreement among the key informants regarding ethnopharmacological uses of plants, with ICF values ranging from 0.97 to 0.99, with the highest number of species (88) being used for the treatment of abnormal signs and symptoms (ASS). Seven species were reported with maximum fidelity level (100%) in seven use categories. The correlations of the five variables (UR, UC, UV, CIV, and UD) were significant (rs ≥ 0.69, p < 0.001), some being stronger than others. The degree of similarity of the three studied localities had JI ranged from 0.38 to 0.42, indicating species likeness among the tribal communities. Statistically, the medicinal plant knowledge among respondents was significantly different (p < 0.001) when grouped according to education, gender, social position, occupation, civil status, and age but not (p = 0.379) when grouped according to location. This study recorded the first quantitative ethnopharmacological documentation coupled with molecular confirmation of medicinal plants in Mindanao, Philippines, of which one medicinal plant species has never been studied pharmacologically to date. Conclusion: Documenting such traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and practices is highly essential for future management and conservation strategies of these plant genetic resources. This ethnopharmacological study will serve as a future reference not only for more systematic ethnopharmacological documentation but also for further pharmacological studies and drug discovery to improve public healthcare worldwide.
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