Medicinal Plants in the Records of Latvian Folk Medicine and Analysis of Their Practical Applications

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Medicinal plant knowledge in Europe is rooted in a long history of health traditions. Numerous ethnobotanical studies across Europe have addressed the increasing importance of the traditional use of medicinal plants. Latvia is a country with old folk medicine traditions and an extensive folk knowledge archive. The aim of this thesis was to collect and analyse knowledge about the use of the medicinal plants found in the records of Latvian folk medicine and to search for new ideas regarding the practical applications of these plants. This thesis reveals, for the first time to the international scientific community, the important ethnobotanical information contained in the records of Latvian folk medicine that had not yet been translated into English and are therefore less visible to researchers from all over the world.
This thesis provides a list of the used plant species and plant parts, the dosage forms of herbal medicines, the routes of administration, and the disorders treated with medicinal plants mentioned in the records of Latvian folk medicine and used by indigenous people of Latvia in the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th centuries. In total, the thesis includes information on 211 plant taxa, most of which were utilized for the treatment of digestive and respiratory system disorders. To understand whether the information mentioned in the folklore material is relevant today, it was compared with evidence-based information regarding the uses of the listed plant, including official herbal monographs. During this study, it was concluded that only 59 plant taxa mentioned in the studied records of Latvian folk medicine are included in the official monographs of the European Medicines Agency, and most of the plant indications mentioned in the records have not been described in evidence-based monographs.
After the systematic analysis of folklore materials, additional information on the molecular mechanisms of the anti-inflammatory activities of Pelargonium sidoides DC. and Prunus padus L. were investigated to confirm their traditional use for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. The obtained results provide evidence that both plant extracts exhibit pronounced in vitro and ex vivo anti-inflammatory activities, supporting their use in Latvian ethnomedicine as effective anti-inflammatory agents.
The obtained results are important as they provide ideas for further research related to possibilities regarding the use of plants growing in the territory of Latvia and allow new perspectives to be gained for both national and international ethnobotanical research.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Science
Awarding Institution
  • Rīga Stradiņš University
  • Dambrova, Maija, First/Primary/Lead supervisor
  • Romāne, Edita, Second/Co-supervisor
Award date1 Oct 2021
Place of PublicationRīga
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2021


  • Sector – Basic Medical Sciences, including Pharmacy
  • Sub-Sector – Pharmacognosy
  • Doctoral thesis
  • folk medicine
  • ethnomedicine
  • records of Latvian folk medicine
  • Pelargonium sidoides root extract
  • proanthocyanidins
  • Prunus padus flower extract
  • anti-inflammatory activity

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 4. Doctoral Thesis


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