• Dermatological remedies in the traditional pharmacopoeia of Vulture-Alto Bradano, inland southern Italy

      Quave, C.L.; Pieroni, Andrea; Bennett, B.C. (2008)
      Dermatological remedies make up at least one-third of the traditional pharmacopoeia in southern Italy. The identification of folk remedies for the skin is important both for the preservation of traditional medical knowledge and in the search for novel antimicrobial agents in the treatment of skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI). Our goal is to document traditional remedies from botanical, animal, mineral and industrial sources for the topical treatment of skin ailments. In addition to SSTI remedies for humans, we also discuss certain ethnoveterinary applications. Field research was conducted in ten communities in the Vulture-Alto Bradano area of the Basilicata province, southern Italy. We randomly sampled 112 interviewees, stratified by age and gender. After obtaining prior informed consent, we collected data through semi-structured interviews, participant-observation, and small focus groups techniques. Voucher specimens of all cited botanic species were deposited at FTG and HLUC herbaria located in the US and Italy. We report the preparation and topical application of 116 remedies derived from 38 plant species. Remedies are used to treat laceration, burn wound, wart, inflammation, rash, dental abscess, furuncle, dermatitis, and other conditions. The pharmacopoeia also includes 49 animal remedies derived from sources such as pigs, slugs, and humans. Ethnoveterinary medicine, which incorporates both animal and plant derived remedies, is addressed. We also examine the recent decline in knowledge regarding the dermatological pharmacopoeia. The traditional dermatological pharmacopoeia of Vulture-Alto Bradano is based on a dynamic folk medical construct of natural and spiritual illness and healing. Remedies are used to treat more than 45 skin and soft tissue conditions of both humans and animals. Of the total 165 remedies reported, 110 have never before been published in the mainland southern Italian ethnomedical literature.
    • Traditional pharmacopoeias and medicines among Albanians and Italians in southern Italy: a comparison.

      Pieroni, Andrea; Quave, C.L. (2005)
      A cross-cultural comparison of traditional household remedies in primary health care and ritual healing practices in two economically and socio-demographically similar communities in Lucania (inland southern Italy) was considered: Ginestra/Zhurë, inhabited by ethnic Albanians, who migrated to the area during the 15th century, and Castelmezzano, inhabited by autochthonous South-Italians. In Ginestra/Zhurë, the number of traditional natural remedies (mainly derived from local medicinal plants) was only half of that in the local folk pharmacopoeia quoted in Castelmezzano. However, ritual magic-healing practices still play a central role among the Albanians in Ginestra/Zhurë, while they do not in Castelmezzano. Reasons for this shift, as well as components that have affected cultural adaptation phenomena and transitions among the Albanians are discussed.