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Ethnobotanical Study of Medicinal Plants Used for the treatment of Headache, Low Back, and Joint Pains in Three Provinces in Cambodia
Vanlyta Chan, Sokunthea Khun, Lynecta Sun, Tan Sokheng, Sothea Kim, Chhavarath Dary, Sena Chheang

In this paper, we present an ethnobotanical study on medicinal plants used in 3 provinces in Cambodia by Khmer traditional healers with a special focus on low back pain, headache, and joint pain. The survey was conducted from the 26th of September 2017 to the 6th of October 2017 in the capital city Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Kampot provinces. These studies areas were selected based on the Cambodian urbanity index, available contact information, and vegetation density. Thirteen traditional healers were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The ethnomedicinal use and importance of the plants cited were assessed using two ethnobotanical indices: fidelity level (FL) and informant consensus factor (ICF). A total of 108 species were used by thirteen key informants in their traditional healthcare practices to treat three targeted pains. Leguminosae was the most predominant family. Spirolobium cambodianum Baill. (កេ􀊰ម􀌶កគុម􀊘), Scoporia dulcis L.(ឥសផី 􀋍េំ 􀊰សច), and Derris trifoliata Lour. (វល􀊵 􀌞េ􀊰បង􀊰កហម) had high healing potential for low back pain and headache with FL of 100%, 67%, and 67%, respectively, while Cibotium barometz (L.) J.Sm.(􀊰បេ􀊤យ􀋏􀊺 ), and Loesneriella cambodiana (វល􀊵 􀌞ទទុង) were effective for curing joint pain with a FL of 67%. Oral administration was the most reported administration route. The entire plants, woods, and rhizomes were described as the most frequently used parts, and decoction was the most cited method of preparation. Sixty-five species were reported for the treatment of low back pains, 35 for headache, and 46 for joint pains. Chemical and pharmacological studies on five medicinal plants with high FL should be conducted to justify the traditional use. As people still depend chiefly on natural medicinal plants for daily healthcare, medicinal plant resources should be carefully preserved, and used sustainably.

Keywords: Ethnobotany, Informant consensus factor, Fidelity level, Khmer traditional healers, Pain