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Категория: Материалы VIII Симпозиума (2018 год)
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MEDICINAL PLANT RESOURCES OF SOUTHERN ARID STEPPES IN REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA 

РЕСУРСЫ ЛЕКАРСТВЕННЫХ РАСТЕНИЙ АРИДНЫХ СТЕПЕЙ ЮГА РЕСПУБЛИКИ МОЛДОВА

 V. Ghendov1, Т. Izverscaia1, N. Ciocarlan1, X. Simonnet2

В.С. Гендов1, Т.Д. Изверская1, Н.Г. Чокырлан1, К. Симоне2

 

1Botanical Garden (Institute) of the ASM (MD-2002, 18 Padurii str., Chisinau, R. Moldova)

2Research Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants «Mediplant» (Conthey, Switzerland)

 

1Ботанический сад (Институт) АНМ (MD-2002, ул. Лесная, 18, Кишинев, Р. Молдова)

2Институт Лекарственных и Пряно-ароматических растений «Mediplant» (Конте, Швейцария)

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The research was conducted in order to identify the medicinal plant resources of the arid steppe in south of Republic of Moldova (between vill. Giurgiulesti and Valeni, distr. Cahul). The spontaneous flora in studied area comprises 330 species of higher vascular plants of 195 genera and 53 families. Among them 139 (44,1%) species contain a wide variety of chemical compounds, making them important from pharmacological viewpoint, used to treat different ailments.

Было проведено исследование с целью определения лекарственных растительных ресурсов аридной степи на юге Республики Молдова (между сс. Джурджулешты и Вэлены, района Кагул). Сосудистая флора исследуемой области включает 330 видов растений (из 195 родов и 53 семейства). Среди них 139 видов (44,1%) содержат большое количество химических соединений, используются при лечении различных заболеваний. 

INTRODUCTION

Medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) have been an important source for human health care from prehistoric times to the present day. Despite impressive progress in producing synthetic drugs, herbs continue to provide raw material for some of the most important medicines and today we find a renewed interest in this sector. A high percentage of the world's population depends on MAPs as their primary source of medicines. In the Eastern Europe, where the traditional medicine is associated with the modern medicine, the ratio of prescriptions which contain compounds of plant origin is over 60% [1].

In Republic of Moldova as a developing country, in some areas local healthcare needs are satisfied primarily using raw materials from MAPs. The collection of MAPs must be guided by an accurate knowledge of the biology of the species concerned, and steps must be taken to avoid over-exploitation, and the collection of rare or otherwise endangered species.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Figure 1. Area of arid steppe habitat

The designation of Habitat type was made according to the Interpretation Manual of EU Habitats, Directive 92/43/EEC on the basis of scientific criteria defined in Annex III of the Directive [2]. Description of the associations was made based on characteristic, self-evident, dominant and differential species, according to the phytosociological research method of the central European school, based on the traditional ecological-floristic systems developed by Tüxen [4] and Braun-Blanquet [3]. Identified species were collected, dried, conditioned and inserted in the Herbarium of the Botanical Garden (Institute) of ASM. In parallel with the collection of the material for herbarium the specialty literature was studied. All detected plant species are native to local flora and the taxonomy followed by the recent literature on flora and taxonomy of vascular plants [5-6].The research was conducted during 20014-2017 in the southern part of the country, along the Prut river valley, between Văleni (N 45° 36' 35", E 28° 10' 11") and Giurgiulești (N 45° 29' 30", E 28° 10' 45") villages (figure 1), district Cahul, with a surface totaling about 50 hectares, on predominantly semi-arid or arid steppe vegetation with so called ”wormwood semi-deserts”.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

The dry grassland habitat with Artemisia lerchiana in Republic of Moldova is located within the boundaries of the Ponto-Sarmatic steppes – *62C0 [2], belonging to the Steppic Biogeographical Region of the European continent [8] which has only a small foothold in the European Union, but it develops into a vast band of vegetation that stretches out from the eastern parts of Romania and incorporates the entire region known as Dobrogea over southern parts of Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Russia and western Kazakhstan. It eventually continues all the way across Asia to the foothills to the Altai Mountains on the borders of Mongolia. The region itself is characterized by low-lying plains and undulating hills or plateaus with an average height of 200-300 meters.

The grasslands of the *62C0 habitat are among the most species-rich plant communities in Europe in terms of the number of plant species they support per unit area. The calcareous grasslands of North-West Europe, for instance, host up to 80 plant species/m2 [9].

Figure 2. Steep slopes of Ponto-Sarmatic steppes

The slopes of the left Prut river bank, depending on exposure and slope exposition are covered with uneven vegetation – the slopes of the northern exposition are more mesophilic, here in the vast majority dominated by tussock-forming grasses, often with an admixture of rhizomatous Elytrigia repens, whereas the south oriented slopes are much drier, with obviously xerophytic vegetation, with significant participation of sub-bushy chamaephytes such as: Artemisia lerchiana, Kochia prostrata and Chamaecytisus lindemannii. In the northern part of the area, located south of the village Valeni, considerably higher and more abrupt, compared with the southern part, the fragments with Bothriochloa ischaemum at the edges of the slopes overgrown ravines appear.A portion of the native Prut river bank side between the villages of Giurgiulesti and Valeni, distr. Cahul (circa 135 hectares), (figure 1) was taken into research in order to investigate the floristic composition and phytocoenotic peculiarities. This site represents slope steppes with more or less closed grasslands, dominated by tussock-forming grasses. Loess hills of south-west and west expositions are quite steep, in some places up to 45 degrees, sometimes a little more – up to 60° and up to almost vertical walls, with numerous water washed ravines, perpendicular to the slope's edge (figure 2).

Such grassland associations composed predominantly of Artemisia austriaca, Kochia prostrata, Agropyron pectinatum, Koeleria cristata and Festuca valesiaca. In general, on the western slopes of the northern part of the area the share of Poaceae species is reduced, increasing the presence of Artemisia and Kochia taxa. South from the village Valeni, on the steep slopes of 50-70o these species dominate with 60% of vegetation cover.

The coverage of herbaceous plants varies greatly – from virtually bare spots, mostly confined to the steep sides of the ravine and scree sections to pretty tight sod fragments between the hills and the sides of the ravine, where the grass cover reaches 70-80%, sometimes up to 90-100%. The vegetation of a two-layered, first dominated by the edificators, but the second rather multispecies layer was not dominated by any species. Some steppic plants such as Ephedra distachya, Gypsophila pallasii, Artemisia lerchiana, Kochia prostrata established mainly in the upper third and at the edges of the vertical sides of ravines.

The field investigations and the survey of the scientific references allowed identifying 330 wild spontaneous growing species belonging to 195 genera and 53 families. The analyses show the following number of largest families: Asteraceae (with 68 species), Poaceae (34 sp.), Fabaceae (28), Lamiaceae (20), Brassicaceae (19), Caryophyllaceae (18), Rosaceae (13) and Scrophulariaceae (with 12 species) make up 65% of the floristic richness of the plant community. Families with of 1-3 species representation cover about 19% and count up to 35 families.

Among those 330 wild growing species, a number of 139 plants have been documented for medicinal use. Medicinal plants encompass 34 families including Asteraceae (34 species), Brassicaceae (13), Fabaceae (11), Lamiaceae (9), Rosaceae (8), Poaceae (7) and Apiaceae (5), etc. The most important medicinal properties of species in the area are anti-inflammatory (Hypericum perforatum L., Pimpinella saxifraga L., Carduus nutans L., Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronq., Melilotus officinalis (L.) Pall., Daucus carota L., Arctium lappa L., Teucrium chamaedrys L., Centaurea solstitialis L., Aristolochia clematitis L., Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop., Tanacetum vulgare L., Knautia arvensis (L.) Coult., Equisetum arvense L., Plantago lanceolata L., Polygala sibirica L., Polygonum aviculare L., Solanum nigrum L.), astringent (Filipendula vulgaris Moench, Fragaria viridis (Duch.) Weston, Potentilla recta L., Poterium sanguisorba L., Hieracium umbellatum L., Bupleurum rotundifolium L., Sisymbrium loeselii L., Descurainia sophia (L.) Webb ex Prantl, Prunus spinosa L.), hemostatic (Erigeron acris L., Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik., Vicia cracca L., Lamium amplexicaule L., Agrimonia eupatoria L., Amaranthus retroflexus L., Equisetum arvense L., Medicago sativa L., Plantago lanceolata L., Polygonum aviculare L.), emollient (Hibiscus trionum L., Malva pusilla Smith, Linum perenne L., Solanum nigrum L.), cholagogue, depurative (Cichorium intybus L., Helichrysum arenarium (L.) Moench, Taraxacum officinale Wigg., Lithospermum officinale L., Convolvulus arvensis L., Prunus spinosa L.), anthelmintic (Tanacetum vulgare L., Chenopodium album L., Artemisia campestris L., A. annua L., A. absinthium L., A. lerchiana Web. ex Stechm., Anthemis arvensis L.), expectorant (Origanum vulgare L., Plantago lanceolata L., Polygala sibirica L., Eryngium planum L., Onopordum acanthium L., Echium vulgare L.), diuretic (Convolvulus arvensis L., Equisetum arvense L., Polygala sibirica L., Polygonum aviculare L., Galium verum L., Linaria vulgaris Mill., Tribulus terrestris L., Amaranthus retroflexus L., Asparagus verticillatus L., Consolida regalis S.F.Gray, ), choleretic (Carthamnus lanatus L., Cardaria draba (L.) Desv., Portulaca oleracea L., Artemisia vulgaris L., A. absinthium L.), tonic, restorative (Rosa canina L., Asparagus officinalis L., Artemisia scoparia Waldst. et Kit., Onopordum acanthium L., Equisetum arvense L., Teucrium polium L., Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers., Lotus corniculatus L.), hypotensive (Xanthium strumarium L., Tribulus terrestris L., Verbascum lychnitis L., Tanacetum vulgare L.), antiseptic (Origanum vulgare L., Hypericum perforatum L., Knautia arvensis (L.) Coult.), sedative (Papaver rhoeas L., Hyoscyamus niger L., Solanum nigrum L.), antitumor (Papaver rhoeas L., Hyoscyamus niger L., Amaranthus blitoides S.Wats., Cerastium holosteoides Fries, Scleranthus annuus L.), cicatrizing (Senecio jacobaea L., Lepidium ruderale L., Medicago lupulina L., Melilotus albus Medik., Veronica arvensis L.), etc. [10, 11]. The vast majority of MAPs are mainly used for the diseases related to digestive system followed by urinary and respiratory disorders. The raw materials are used in many different forms: fresh, powdered, infusions, decoctions, tincture etc.

In this region the most used medicinal herbs are: Hypericum perforatum L., Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik., Tanacetum vulgare L., Arctium lappa L., Polygonum aviculare L., Equisetum arvense L., Agrimonia eupatoria L., Plantago lanceolata L., Helichrysum arenarium (L.) Moench. Some insufficiently studied species (Hieracium pilosella L., Verbascum lychnitis L., Artemisia lerchiana Web. ex Stechn., Tanacetum odessanum (Klok.) Tzvel., Veronica hederifolia L.) are also important remedies in popular medicine and require further investigations to scientifically justify their traditional uses. As well as, preliminary results regarding active compounds and their biological activities in some medicinal plants growing in the area (Teucrium chamaedrys L., T. polium L., Thymus marschallianus Willd.) indicate a high potential for future research.

A good number of MAPs (Pimpinella saxifraga L., Artemisia absinthium L., A. annua L., A. vulgaris L., Cichorium intybus L., Helichrysum arenarium (L.) Moench, Tanacetum odessanum (Klok.) Tzvel., T. vulgare L., Gypsophila paniculata L., Hypericum perforatum L., Origanum vulgare L., Salvia austriaca Jacq., S. nemorosa L., Teucrium chamaedrys L., T. polium L., Thymus marschallianus Willd., Agrimonia eupatoria L., Galium verum L., Linaria vulgaris Mill. and Tribulus terrestris L.) from investigated area are grown at experimental fields in the Botanical Garden (Institute) of ASM in order to monitor their behavior in ex-situ conditions, because many of them are still not cultivated locally at a large scale. Nine medicinal species with different status of rarity (Sternbergia colchiciflora Waldst. et Kit., Asparagus officinalis L., A. verticillatus L., Helichrysum arenarium (L.) Moench, Scorzonera mollis Bieb., Ephedra distachya L., Polygala sibirica L., Amygdalus nana L., Artemisia lerchiana Web. ex Stechn.) are also preserved in ex situ conditions in the Botanical Garden (Institute), Sector of Medicinal Plants.

CONCLUSION

The floristic component of high vascular plants of the arid steppe plant communities comprises 330 wild spontaneous growing species belonging to 195 genera and 53 families. The analyses show the following number of largest families: Asteraceae (with 68 species), Poaceae (34 sp.), Fabaceae (28), Lamiaceae (20), Brassicaceae (19), Caryophyllaceae (18), Rosaceae (13) and Scrophulariaceae (with 12 species) make up 65% of the floristic richness of the plant community. Families with of 1-3 species representation cover about 19% and count up to 35 families.

The vast number of 139 plants which accounts 44,1% of the total flora of the investigated arid steppe area provides a highly diversified source of local plant material for pharmacological research and for elaboration of new formula of medical preparations.

Acknowledgements

This study was conducted under the project entitled “Capitalization of the natural potential of several medicinal and aromatic species in the Artemisia genus with economic and ecological value in Moldova”, financially supported by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), that is gratefully acknowledged. 

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