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J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2019 Jan 9;15(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s13002-018-0263-2.

Traditional use of ethnomedicinal native plants in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Department of Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, Riyadh, 11451, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mansoura University, El-Mansoura, 35516, Egypt.
Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Mansoura University, El-Mansoura, 35516, Egypt.
Technical Biochemistry, TU Dortmund University, Emil-Figge-Strasse 66, 44227, Dortmund, Germany.


The Arabian Peninsula is recognized as an arid area dominated by deserts and poor biodiversity. However, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (henceforth abbreviated into KSA) has a wide range of flora, consisting of different species of trees, herbs, and shrubs and containing numerous edible and medicinal plants. The KSA is characterized by its vast area of diverse geographical landscapes and climates. Consequently, there is enormous variation in the distribution of plants across the Kingdom. The traditional use of ethnomedical plants in the KSA represents a strong interconnection among familiar remedies, health, diet, and traditional healing practices characterized by specific cultures. The present paper reviews a collection of medicinal plants in KSA used in ethnomedicine. This review might be useful in developing strategies for the sustainable use of medicinal plants which are among the threatened important natural resources in folk medicine in the KSA. The present study reports 309 genera which cover 471 species from a total of 2253 known species belonging to 89 families. The most dominating families are Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Solanaceae, Apiaceae, Brassicaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Poaceae, Amaranthaceae, Boraginaceae, Apocynaceae, Convolvoulaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Capparaceae, Polygonaceae, and Zygophyllaceae.


Ethnomedicine; Folk medicine; Medicinal plants; Saudi Arabia; Threatened natural resources; Traditional use

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