Ethnobotanical survey of two astragalus species used by the local population in El-Oued province (septentrional Algerian Sahara)

*Article not assigned to an issue yet

, , , ,

Research Articles | Published:

Print ISSN : 0970-4078.
Online ISSN : 2229-4473.
Pub Email:
Doi: 10.1007/s42535-023-00755-6
First Page: 0
Last Page: 0
Views: 2232

Keywords: Ethnobotanical survey, n Astragalus cruciatus Link., n Astragalus gyzensis Bunge, Ethnobotanical indices, Diabetes, Scorpion and snake bites


Astragalus cruciatus and Astragalus gyzensis are two Saharan plants with medicinal properties. The objective of the current study is to conduct an ethnobotanical investigation of these two plants within the El-Oued population of Algeria to document their traditional uses for the first time. An ethnobotanical survey was conducted between February and November 2022. Data were collected through in-person interviews with 250 individuals. Ethnobotanical indices (the relative frequency of citation, use value, the fidelity level, informant consensus factor and rahaman similarity index) were computed and socio-demographic information was analyzed using the Chi-squared (Chi2) test. The findings showed that A. cruciatus had the highest relative frequency of citation and use value (RFC = 0.404 and UV = 1.84). This species has several uses as food for animals (FL = 77.23) and humans (FL = 76.24), medicinal (FL = 18.81) and cosmetic (FL = 3.96). The most important Informant consensus factor was recorded for its utilization in the treatment of diabetes (Fic = 0.66). Alternatively, A. gyzensis had a similar RFC (RFC = 0.4), but it had a low UV (UV = 0.68). It was also mainly used as food for animals (FL = 79) and humans (FL = 62) and had some medicinal uses (FL = 19). The treatment of snake and scorpion bites had the highest Fic (Fic = 0.66). In El Hamraya/Douar el ma region, both species had a 100% Rahaman similarity index for their antidiabetic properties. Leaves were the most commonly used plant part for both species (AC = 88.9%, AG = 57.9%), usually prepared as a decoction (AC = 66.66%, AG = 63.2%). These plants are familiar to elderly, uneducated men over 60. Further validation of traditional plant uses through pharmacological research is necessary to safeguard regional biodiversity.

Ethnobotanical survey, n                     Astragalus cruciatus Link., n                     Astragalus gyzensis Bunge, Ethnobotanical indices, Diabetes, Scorpion and snake bites

*Get Access

(*Only SPR Members can get full access. Click Here to Apply and get access)



Abouri M, El Mousadik A, Msanda F, Boubaker H, Saadi B, Cherifi K (2012) An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used in the Tata Province, Morocco. Int J Med Plants Res 1:99–123

Agyemang K, Han L, Liu E, Zhang Y, Wang T and Gao X (2013) Recent advances in Astragalus membranaceus anti-diabetic research: pharmacological effects of its phytochemical constituents. Evidence-Based Medicinal Plants for Modern Chronic Diseases 1–9.

Alfa T, Anani K, Adjrah Y, Batawila K and Ameyapoh Y (2018) Ethnobotanical Survey of Medicinal Plants Used Against Fungal Infections in Prefecture of Sotouboua Central Region, Togo. Euro Sci J January 14: 242–359.

Amiri MS, Joharchi MR, Nadaf M, Nasseh Y (2020) Ethnobotanical knowledge of Astragalus spp.: The world’s largest genus of vascular plants. Avicenna J Phytomed 10:128–142

Andrade-Cetto A, Heinrich M (2011) From the field into labor: Useful approach to selecting species based on local knowledge. Front Pharmacol 2:1–5.

Barkat A, Bouaicha F, Bouteraa O, Mester T, Ata B, Balla D, Rahal Z, Szabó G (2021) Assessment of complex terminal groundwater aquifer for different use of Oued souf valley (Algeria) using multivariate statistical methods, geostatistical modeling, and water quality index. Water 13:1–26

Barkat A, Bouaicha F, Mester T, Debabeche M, Szabó G (2022) Assessment of spatial distribution and temporal variations of the phreatic groundwater level using geostatistical modelling: the case of oued souf valley—Southern East of Algeria. Water 14:1–25.

Belhaj S, Dahmani J, Belahbib N, Zidane L (2020) Ethnopharmacological and ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants in the high atlas central, Morocco. Ethnobot Res Appl 20:1–40

Benarba B, Belabid L, Righi K, Bekkar A, Elouissi M, Khaldi A, Hamimed A (2015) Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by traditional healers in Mascara (North West of Algeria). J Ethnopharmacol 175:626–637

Benchadi W, Haba H, Lavaud C, Harakat D, Benkhaled M (2013) Secondary metabolites of Astragalus cruciatus Link. and their chemotaxonomic significance. Rec Nat Prod 7:105–113

Bouallala M, Bradai L, Abid M (2014) Diversité et utilisation des plantes spontanées du Sahara septentrional algérien dans la pharmacopée saharienne: cas de la région du Souf. Revue ElWahat Pour Les Recherches Et Les Etudes 7:18–26

Bratkov VM, Shkondrov AM, Zdraveva PK, Krasteva IN (2016) Flavonoids from the Genus Astragalus: phytochemistry and biological activity. Pharmacogn Rev 10:11–32

Caunca ES, Balinado LO (2021) Determination of use-value, informant consensus factor, and fidelity level of medicinal plants used in Cavite, Philippines. Asian J Biol Life Sci 10:443–453

Chaachouay N, Benkhnigue O, Fadli M, El Ibaoui H, Zidane L (2019) Ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological studies of medicinal and aromatic plants used in the treatment of metabolic diseases in the Moroccan Rif. Heliyon 5:1–9

Chehma A (2006) Catalogue des plantes spontanées du Sahara septentrional algérien. 141p.

Chermat S, Gharzouli R (2015) Ethnobotanical study of medicinal Flora in the NorthEast of Algeria—an empirical knowledge in DjebelZdimm (Setif). J Mater Sci Eng 5:50–59

Daoudi A, Bachiri L, Bammou M, Ibijbijen J, Nassiri L (2015) Etude ethnobotanique au moyen atlas central. Eur Sci J 11:226–242

Dobignard A and Chatelain C (2010–2013) Index synonymique de la Flore d’Afrique du Nord. V: 1–5. Genève.

Fadil M, Farah A, Haloui T and Rachiq S (2014) Etude ethnobotanique des plantes exploitées par les coopérativeset les associations de la région Meknès-Tafilalet au Maroc. Phytothérapie 1–12.

Friedman J, Yaniv Z, Dafni A, Palewitch D (1986) A preliminary classification of the healing potential of medicinal plants, based on a rational analysis of an ethnopharmacological field survey among Bedouins in the Negev Desert. Israel J Ethnopharmacol 16:275–287

Hacini N, Djelloul R, Boutabia L, Magdoud B (2022) The medicinal plants of the region of El Oued (south-eastern Algeria): inventory and traditional therapeutic uses. Ukrainian Journal of Ecology 12:1–16.

Hamel T, Sadou S, Seridi R, Boukhdir S, Boulemtafes A (2018) Pratique traditionnelle d’utilisation des plantes médicinales dans la population de la péninsule de l’edough (nord-est algérien). Ethnopharmacologia 59:75–81

Heinrich M, Ankli A, Frei B, Weimann C, Sticher O (1998) Medicinal plants in Mexico: Healers’ consensus and cultural importance. Soc Sci Med 47:1859–1871.

Helisse (2005) The botanical encyclopedia of Souf region [in Arabic].

Heumann C, Schomaker M, Shalabh S (2016) Introduction to statistics and data analysis: with exercises, solutions and applications, R. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland

Hussain M, Khalid F, Noreen U, Bano A, Hussain A, Alam S, Shah S, Sabir M, Habiba U (2022) An ethno-botanical study of indigenous medicinal plants and their usage in rural valleys of Swabi and Hazara region of Pakistan. Braz J Biol 82:1–21

Jeddi M, Ouaritini ZB, Fikri-Benbrahim K (2021) Ethnobotanical study ofmedicinal plants innorthern Morocco(Taounate): case of Mernissa -Étude ethnobotanique desplantes médicinales aunord du Maroc(Taounate): cas deMernissa. Ethnobot Res Appl 21:01–23

Jima TT, and Megersa M (2018) Ethnobotanical Study of Medicinal Plants Used to Treat Human Diseases in Berbere District, Bale Zone of Oromia Regional State, South East Ethiopia. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 1–16.

Kumleh AA, Asgarpanah J, Ziarati P (2016) Chemical composition and nutritive value of Astragalus podolobus seeds growing wild in South of Iran. Biomed Pharmacol J 9:1117–1125

Labed A, Ferhat M, Labed-Zouad I, Kaplaner E, Zerizer S, Voutquenne-Nazabadioko L, Magid AA, Semra Z, Kabouche A, Kabouche Z and Öztürk M (2016) Compounds from the pods of Astragalus armatus with antioxidant, anticholinesterase, antibacterial and phagocytic activities. Pharmaceut Biol 1–7.

Lakhdari W, Dehliz A, Acheuk F, Mlik R, Hammi H, Doumandji-Mitiche B, Gheriani S, Berrekbia M, Guermit K, Chergui S (2016) Ethnobotanical study of some plants used in traditional medicine in the region of Oued Righ (Algerian Sahara). J Med Plants Stud 4:204–211

Mehdioui R, Kahouadji A (2007) Etude ethnobotanique auprès de la population riveraine de la forêt d’Amsittène : cas de la Commune d’Imi n’Tlit (Province d’Essaouira). Bulletin de l’Institut Scientifique. Rabat, Section Sciences De La Vie 29:11–20

Miara MD, Bendif H, Ait Hammou M, Teixidor-Toneu I (2018) Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used by nomadic peoples in the Algerian steppe. J Ethnopharmacol 12:248–256

Mostefai A, Hassiba M, Bouazza M (2015) Therapeutic use of Rosmarinus officinalis L. (Lamiales Lamia- ceae) and description of its medicinal flora cortege in Algeria. Biodiversity J 6:761–766

Nafti K, Giacinti G, Marghali S, Raynaud CD (2022) Screening for astragalus hamosus triterpenoid saponins using HPTLC methods: prior identification of azukisaponin isomers. Molecules 27:1–19

Nekhla H, El Ghadraoui L, Ousaaid D, Harrach A, Tarmoun K, Squalli W, Mansouri I (2021) Ethnobotanical survey of Chamaerops humilis L. in the rural commune of Sidi Youssef Ben Ahmed, Sefrou Province, Morocco. Tropical J Nat Product Res 5:1586–1590

Niknam V, Salehi Lisar Y (2004) Chemical composition of Astragalus: Carbohydrates and mucilage content. Pak J Bot 36:381–388

Olennikov DN, Rokhin AV (2008) Polysaccharides of Fabaceae. I. Galactomannan of Astragalus sericeocanus seeds. Chem Nat Comp 44:685–687

Oliveira L, Mota E, Moreira G, Passos I, Miranda J, Andrade I, Rocha J (2020) Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used at extrema neighbourhood, in the city of Grajaú, MA. J Global Innovation 3:1–9

Ozenda P (2004) Flore du Sahara, 3rd edn. CNRS, Paris

Pereira ARA, Velho APM, Cortez DAG, Szerwieski LLD, Cortez LER (2016) Traditional use of medicinal plants by elderly. Rev Rene 17:427–434

Phillips OL, Gentry AH (1993) The useful plants of Tambopata, Peru: Statistical hypotheses test with a new quantitative technique. Econ Bot 47:15–32.

Rahimi E, Asgarpanah J, Ziarati P (2017) Nutritive value and mineral elements open access of wild Astragalus meridioalis sensu auct. Seeds in South of Iran. J Pharmaceut Health Sci 5:121–129

Rahman IU, Hart R, Afzal A, Iqbal Z, Ijaz F, Abd-Allah EF, Ali N, Khan SM, Alqarawi AA, Alsubeie MS (2019) A new ethnobiological similarity index for the evaluation of novel use reports. Appl Ecol Environ Res 17:2765–2777

Reimers EAL, Fernández E, David J, Reimers L, Chaloupkova P, del Valle JMZ, Milella L, Russo D (2019) An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used in papantla, veracruz. Mexico Plants 8(246):1–20.

Saadi B, Msanda F, Boubaker H (2013) Contributions of folk medicine knowledge in south-western Morocco: The case of rural communities of Immouzzer Ida Ou Tanane Region. Int J Med Plant Res 2:135–145

Senouci F, Ababou A, Chouieb M (2019) Ethnobotanical survey of the medicinal plants used in the Southern Mediterranean. Case study: the region of Bissa (NortheasternDahra Mountains, Algeria). Pharmacog J 11:647–659

Skalli S, Hassikou R, Arahou M (2019) An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used for diabetes treatment in Rabat, Morocco. Heliyon 5:1–24

Tardio J, Pardo-De-Santayana M (2008) Cultural importance indices: a comparative analysis based on the useful wild plants of southern Cantabria (North Spain). Econ Bot 62:24–39.

Telli A, Chedad A and Sadine SE (2022) Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used for scorpion sting envenoming treatments in Algerian Septentrional Sahara. International Journal of Environmental Studies 1–23.

Thomas E (2008) Quantitative Ethnobotanical Research on Knowledge and Use of Plants for Livelihood Among Quechua, Yuracar_e and Trinitario Communities in the Andes and Amazon Regions of Bolivia (PhD thesis). Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium.

Trotter RT, Logan MH (1986) Informant consensus: a new approach for identifying potentially effective medicinal plants. In: Etkin NL (ed) Plants in Indigenous Medicine and Diet. Redgrave Publishing Company, Bedford Hills, pp 91–112

Yimam M, Yimer SM, Beressa TB (2022) Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used in Artuma Fursi district, Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia. Trop Med Health 50:1–23

Zheng Y, Ren W, Zhang L, Zhang Y, Liu D, Liu Y (2020) A review of the pharmacological action of astragalus polysaccharide. Front Pharmacol 11:349.



The authors were grateful to the herbalist Mr. Abdeldjabar Noubli and the head of the forest district in Taleb Larbi: Mr Boukelba Moncef (El-Oued, Algeria) and Dr. Abdelwahab Chedad (Laboratory of Saharan Bio-Resources: Preservation and Valorization, Ouargla University, Algeria) for the assistance.

Author Information

Tedjani Aicha
Laboratory for the Protection of Ecosystems in Arid and Semi-Arid Zones, Kasdi Merbah-University, Ouargla, Algeria
Boual Zakaria
Laboratory for the Protection of Ecosystems in Arid and Semi-Arid Zones, Kasdi Merbah-University, Ouargla, Algeria

Telli Alia
Laboratory for the Protection of Ecosystems in Arid and Semi-Arid Zones, Kasdi Merbah-University, Ouargla, Algeria

Chemsa Ahmed Elkhalifa
Department of Biology, Faculty of Life and Natural Sciences, University of El Oued, El Oued, Algeria

Khelef Yahia
Laboratory of Biology, Environment and Health (LBEH), Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Natural Science and Life, University of El Oued, El Oued, Algeria