Three lichens used in popular medicine in Eastern Andalucia (Spain)

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<ul><li><p>THREE LICHENS USED IN POPULAR MEDICINE IN EASTERN ANDALUCIA (SPAIN) 1 </p><p>M. R. GONZALEZ-TEJERO, M. J. MARTJNEz-LIROLA, M. CASARES-PORCEL, AND J. MOLERO-MESA </p><p>Gonz~lez-Tejero, M. R., M. J. Martinez-Lirola, M. Casares-Porcel, and J. Molero-Mesa (De- partamento de Biologfa Vegetal, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Granada, 18071 Gra- nada, Spain.) T~ LICHENS USeD IN POP~ MEDICINE IN EASTmU~ ANDALUOA (SpAn~). Economic Botany 49(1) 96-98. 1995. The history of lichen use for medicinal purposes is reviewed briefly and the contempory uses of three lichens in eastern Andalucia is reported. </p><p>Key Words: popular medicine; Lichens; Andalucia; Spain. </p><p>Lichens have been used in traditional medi- cine since the time of the first Chinese and Egyp- tian civilizations (Richardson in Galun 1988). Many of these lichens do not appear to contain any active substance to explain their effects. Spe- cies such as Lobaria pulmonaria or Parmelia sul- cata were widely used in the Middle Ages owing to the "signature theory" prevalent in those times. This theory related the morphological and eco- logical characteristics of the plants with the ail- ment which was to be cured. For this reason the scrobiculate thallus of Lobaria pulmonaria was used to treat pulmonary illnesses and Parmelia cranial diseases. </p><p>In the 1940s, following the growth in the use of antibiotics such as penicillin and streptomy- cin, lichens began to be systematically investi- gated due to their fungal nature in search of new antibiotic-type substances. Burkholder (1944), the discoverer of chloromycetin, found that the extracts of 52 different species of lichens from Eastern North America inhibited the growth of several types of bacteria (Hale 1974, 1983). These findings resulted in increased research into lich- enic substances. Several compounds (usnic and protolichesterinic acid, etc.) were isolated and found to be antibiotics, actives on Gram+ bac- teria. In Spain, Bustinza and Caballero (1948) carried out similar investigations into different </p><p>Received 10 February 1994; accepted 9 September 1994. </p><p>species of Evernia and Usnea. Simultaneously, other investigations into lichenic substances took place which had ample repercussions on the tax- onomy of the group (Asahina and Shibata 1954; Culberson 1969; etc.). </p><p>Until relatively recently, the sodium salt of usnic acid was the main substance commercial- ized as an antibiotic in Europe and the ex-Soviet Union. However, its commercialization has ceased due to the appearance of new active sub- stances and the slow renewal of the populations of raw material (reindeer lichen, Cladonia as a result of the slow growth of lichens. Research into pharmacologically active lichenic sub- stances is currently directed, above all, towards the obtention of anti-tumoral and anti-fungal constituents. </p><p>In spite of this, lichens continue to be used in folk medicine, although not as commonly as the higher plants. Some examples are the use of Us- nea, by Chinese herbalists and, in Hindu medicine, the ingestion of Peltigera canina for hepatic problems (Hale 1983). </p><p>Spanish references to the popular use of lichens are very scarce (6 lichens out of a total of 700 vascular plants, approximately). In 1803, Lagas- ca reported the existence of Cetraria islandica in Puerto de Pajares. Until then, this species had been considered absent from the Iberian Pen- insula and had to be imported from more north- erly regions for its medicinal importance. Bus- tinza and Caballero (1948) mentioned the use of Usnea barbata, as a secant and antiseptic, in Abe- </p><p>Economic Botany 49(1) pp. 96-98. 1995 9 1995, by The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY 10458 U.S.A. </p></li><li><p>1995] GONZALEZ-TEJERO ET AL.: LICHEN MEDICINALS IN ANDALUCIA 97 </p><p>jar in the province of Sofia. In later ethnobotan- ical studies, Villar (1991) recorded the use of Evernia sp., Lobaria pulmonaria, and Usnea sp. to treat respiratory ailments and Muntan6 (1991) the use ofCetraria istandica against catarrh, asth- ma, and to reduce inflammation. The lack of ethnobotanical data concerning the use of lichens as dyes or aromatics is surprising, beating in mind that until a few decades ago, in the province of Granada, there was a company dedicated to the collection of Pseudevernia furfuracea, and this activity still prevails in neighbouring provinces (Sierra de Cazorla, Ja6n). </p><p>The following note explains the popular use of Ramalina bourgeana, Xanthoria parietina subsp. ectanea in Almeria and Pseudevernia furfuracea in Granada, both provinces in Eastern Andalu- cia. This information has been compiled using the ethnobotanical studies carried out by Mar- tinez-Lirola (1993) and Gonzfilez-Tejero (1985, 1990) in Almeria and Granada respectively. For each taxon the following information is given: scientific name according to Clauzade and Roux (1985), and botanical family according to Purvis et al. (1992), catalogue number in the University of Granada Faculty of Pharmacy Herbarium (GDA), common name, uses and methods of use, and, between parentheses, localities where the plants are used. </p><p>Ramallna bourgeana Mout. ex Nyi. Ramafinaceae GDA 896 (Lichens) Common name: Flor de piedra (Stoneflower) </p><p>The decoction of the thallus is used in the mu- nicipal areas of Viso and Nijar as a diuretic for the treatment of renal lithiasis. A cup of the liq- uid obtained is taken daily until the ailment dis- appears. </p><p>Xanthoria parietina (L.) Th. Ft. subsp, ectanea (Ach.) Clauz. et Roux Teloschistaceae </p><p>GDA 898 (Lichens) Common name: Rompepiedra (Stonebreaker), Flor de </p><p>piedra (Stoneflower) The decoction of the thallus with wine is used </p><p>to treat menstrual complaints (Campohermoso). A decoction in water of the aerial part of the plant is taken to treat kidney disorders (Barran- quete, Cueva de los Medinas, Joya, Pozo de los Frailes and Puebloblanco) and as antiodontalgic (Fernan P6rez and Joya). In Fuente del Escribano it is used as an analgesic for several pains. Fi- nally, this plant is one of the ingredients of a </p><p>cough syrup together with fruits ofCeratonia sil- iqua and Fiscus carica, flowers and leaves of Or- iganum vulgare, pericarp of the fruit of Prunus amygdalus, leaves of Olea europaea and abun- dant sugar or honey (San Isidro Jim6nez). </p><p>Pseudevernla furfuracea (L.) Zopf Parmeliaceae GDA 1368 Common name: musgo (Moss) </p><p>For respiratory complaints. The part of the thallus above the attachment with the tree branches is washed and boiled for a considerable time. The decoction is then drunk (Alfacar, Viz- nar). </p><p>ACKNOWLEDGMENTS </p><p>Work developed in the ambit of projects PB87-0874 and PB90-301- CO2-02 of D.G,I.C.Y.T. (Direccibn General de lnvestigaci6n Cientifica y T6cnica). </p><p>LITEnATUnE CITED Asahina, Y., and S. Shibata. 1954. Chemistry of li- </p><p>chens substances. Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo. </p><p>Burkhoider, P. R, A. W. Evans, I. Mcveigh, and H. K. Thornton. 1944. Antibiotic activity of lichens. Proceedings National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. 30(9):250-255. </p><p>Bustinza, F., and A. Caballero L6pez. 1948. Contri- buci6n al estudio de los antibi6ticos procedentes de los liquenes, Anales del Jardln Botfinico de Ma- drid V:511-533. Madrid. </p><p>Clauzade, G., and C. Roux. 1985. Likenoj de Okci- denta Efiropo. Ilustrita Determinlibro. Royan: Bul- letin de la Soci6t~ Botanique du Centre-Ouest (Nou- vel S~rie-Num6ro Special 7). 893 + 2 p. </p><p>Culberson, Ch. F. 1969. Chemical and botanical guide to lichens products. The University of North Car- olina Press. </p><p>Hale, M. E., Jr. 1974. The biology of lichens. 2 ~ ed. Edward Arnold, Melbourne. </p><p>- - . 1983. The biology of lichens. 3 a ed. Edward Arnold, Melbourne. </p><p>Gonzalez-Tejero, M.R. 1985. Investigaciones etno- botfinicas en el municipio de Giiejar-Sierra (Gra- nada). Memoria de Licenciatura ined. Universidad de Granada. </p><p>9 1990. Investigaciones etnobothnicas en la provincia de Granada. Tesis Doctoral. Servicio de Publicaciones. Universidad de Granada. </p><p>Lagasca, M. 1803. Noticia sobre el descubrimiento del liquen islfindico en el Puerto de Pajares. Gaceta de Madrid. 29 de Julio de 1803. </p><p>Martinez Lirola, M. J . 1993. Investigaciones etno- botfinicas en el Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata- Nijar (Almeria). Tesis de Licenciatura. Universidad de Granada. </p></li><li><p>98 ECONOMIC BOTANY [VOL. 49 </p><p>Muntanr, J . 1991. Aportaci6 al coneixement de l'Ethnobotfinic de Cerdanya. Doctoral Thesis, fac- ulty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, 1220 PP. </p><p>Purvis, O. W., ed. 1992. The lichen flora of Great Britain and Ireland. Natural History Museum Pub- lication, London. </p><p>Richardson, D. H.S. 1988. Medicinal and other eco- </p><p>nomic aspects of lichens. In M. Galun, Handbook of Lichenology, CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Flor- ida. </p><p>Villar, L., J. M. Palacin, C. Cairo, D. Gomez, and G. Monserrat. 1991. PlantasmedicinalesdelPirineo aragonrs y demfis tierras oscenses. Diputaci6n pro- vincial de Huesca, Huesca, 322 pp. </p><p>BOOK REVIEW </p><p>Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture in the Trop- ics. American Society of Agronomy Special Publi- cation Number 56. John Ragiand, and Rattan Lal (eds.). 1993. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science So- ciety of America. South Segoe Road, Madison, WI 53711-1086. 313 pp. $30.00 (paperback). ISBN 0-89118-118-0. </p><p>I commend the joint effort of these societies for their many excellent publications. This one is no exception; it is an important contribution to the growing literature on "sustainability," a concept that is increasingly of interest. This book focuses on the pressing need for long-term solutions to the destructive consequences of current agricultural practices in the tropics where "lands are more easily degraded than perhaps any other part of the inhabited world and population pressures there are the most intense" (p. xi). The wide ranging dis- cussion is especially significant because it represents the work of many international tropical experts who were participants in two international symposia in 1990 and 1991. </p><p>There is no better way to indicate the status of the concept of "sustainability" as it is used in this book than the comments of the editors in their concluding chapter: "Sustainability is presently a vaguely defined and a qualitative concept. There are numerous defi- nitions and approaches, and the specific use depends on the user's understanding, needs, and resources. The concept has a subjective value. Consequently, there is a need to develop a quantitative and objective defi- nition of sustainability so that the concept is clear and free of ambiguities and vagueness." </p><p>This book, which is far less focused than the title suggests, contains 20 articles divided into seven sec- tions. These sections are "Basic Concepts," "Tech- nological Options," "Agroforestry and Nutrient Cy- cling," "Vegetative Hedges for Erosion Management," "'Computer Models," "Socio-Economic Considera- tions," and "Case Studies from sub-Saharan Africa." </p><p>Because of the book's title, I expected "Technolog- ical Options" to be the most developed of the seven sections. There are only two chapters, however: San- </p><p>chez examines alternatives to slash and burn agricul- ture in the first, and Garrity discusses practices to en- sure sustainability on sloping uplands in Southeast Asia in the second. </p><p>Social factors are of fundamental importance in achieving sustainable agriculture in the tropics, and this is the focus of"Socio-Economic Considerations." The first chapter, by Kiker, deals with economic and policy issues; the second, by Francis, examines the need to involve farmers to achieve more effective research; and the third, also by Francis, discusses sustainability in the design of future tropical agricultural systems. </p><p>"Case Studies from sub-Saharan Africa" has seven chapters, making it the largest section of the book. I found this section especially interesting given its focus on a region of the world that is well known for the very problems that this book seeks to address. In the first three chapters, Kesseba discusses strategies for sus- tainable agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa; Okigbo looks at the "challenges" of developing effective strategies; and Lal examines the technological basis for their suc- cess. In chapters four and five, Vlek addresses the "fer- tilizer technology issue," and Balasubramanian and Blaise discuss "short season fallow management" for sustainability. The last two chapters are by the editors. Chapter Six, by Lal, is titled "Technological Options Towards Sustainable Agriculture for Different Ecolog- ical Regions of sub-Saharan Africa," and chapter seven by Lal and Ragland is titled "Towards Sustaining Ag- ricultural Production in the Tropics: Research and De- velopment Priorities." </p><p>The concept of sustainability, whether applied to our global industrial way of life in general or specifically to tropical agriculture, brings into focus the present concern with the future of the human species. This book will be a useful reference for all who are com- mitted to the search for, and development of, tech- nologies and procedures that will ensure that sustain- ability will become a reality of the future. </p><p>JOHN RASHFORD COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON </p><p>66 GEORGE STmSET CHAnLKSTON, SC 29424 </p></li></ul>


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