GJMPR Volume 5, Number 1: January-March, 2017

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Herbal Remedies Used in the Treatment of Scorpion Stings in Saudi Arabia


Amal, M. Fakhry, Masarrat, M. A. Migahid and Hanan, K. Anazi

ABSTRACT Background: Research on use of traditional medicines obtained from plants has received considerable interest. Medicinal plants are an important element of indigenous medical systems in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. The population in the areas under the present study use plant products as a therapy to considerable extent although the modern medical facilities are available. Objective: The present study is conducted for scientific identification and documentation of herbal medicine knowledge and experience of tribal communities in Saudi Arabia. An ethno-botanical survey is conducted on the plants used for treatment of scorpion stings by tribal communities in two districts of Saudi Arabia namely, Tabuk in northwestern region and Jeddah in southwestern region. Results: From the survey conducted in the present study, twelve plant species belonging to eleven families of angiospermae are used for treatment of scorpion stings in the study areas. Six plant species are recorded in Tabuk and other six species in Jeddah. Alliaceae family is common in the two studied regions. Astragalus spinosus(Fabaceae) and Heliotropium bacciferum(Boraginaceae)are the most commonly used plant species for treatment of scorpion stings in Tabuk, while Allium sativum (Alliaceae) and Linum usitatissimum (Linaceae) in Jeddah. Wild plant species are commonly used in the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia, where five out of six species (about 83%) are wild desert plants. Cultivated and imported plant species are the most commonly used (about 67%) in the southwestern region. Generally, leaves, bulbs and seeds are the commonest parts of plants used, while decoctions, infusions, pulverization and grinding are the main methods of preparations. Conclusion: Herbal medicines are effectively used for the treatment of patients with scorpion envenomation. This type of medication is free from side effects as observed with chemical antidotes or anti-venom therapy. Further studies are required to identify the active ingredients of these plant species for improving their therapeutic potential as traditional medicines.

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