UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Wild food plants in Graecanic communities in Calabria, southern Italy - ethnobotany, current role in Mediterranean diets and antioxidant activity

Nebel, Sabine M; (2006) Wild food plants in Graecanic communities in Calabria, southern Italy - ethnobotany, current role in Mediterranean diets and antioxidant activity. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

[img] Text
out.pdf

Download (14MB)

Abstract

Dietary patterns are changing rapidly all over the world. The body of available local food knowledge, which forms the basis of many local traditions, is decreasing dramatically. In rural areas throughout the Mediterranean, vegetables and salads made from wild plants have been particularly important as local foods since ancient times. However, very little is known about the use of these wild food plants (WFPs) and about their contribution to health, while numerous clinical and pharmacological-biochemical studies have shown beneficial effects for major components of Mediterranean diets. This research project studied WFPs used in the Graecanic area in Calabria, Southern Italy as components of the local diet with potential antioxidant activity. It was embedded in an EU-funded project entitled "Local Food - Nutraceuticals". The research approach adopted for this interdisciplinary research combined ethnobotanical methods with pharmacology and nutritional sciences. The gathering, processing and consumption of these plants were studied using participant observation techniques and semi-structured interviews. Local perceptions about WFPs (beneficial health effects, health risks) and nutritional data were obtained through a socio-nutritional study conducted in Italy, Spain and Greece. More than 40 WFPs are used as condiments, or vegetables, including edible greens, called ta chòrta in the local language. Many are considered to be healthy because of their bitterness (e.g. Reseda alba). Furthermore, the antioxidant activity of WFPs from Italy, Spain and Greece, was evaluated using in vitro assays. Crude extracts were tested for free radical scavenging activity (FRSA), and for the inhibition of xanthine oxidase (XO). Only a small number of plant extracts showed significant antioxidant activity. However, some extracts had promising activity in the XO-system. This interdisciplinary research contributed not only to the understanding of locally used WFPs as a promising source of natural antioxidants, but also to the safeguarding of this rapidly vanishing local knowledge.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Wild food plants in Graecanic communities in Calabria, southern Italy - ethnobotany, current role in Mediterranean diets and antioxidant activity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Health and environmental sciences; Antioxidant; Calabria; Communities; Current; Diets; Ethnobotany; Food; Graecanic; Italy; Mediterranean; Plants; Wild
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119465
Downloads since deposit
17Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item