Plantas usadas en la cosmetica tradicional y la higiene en el Parque Natural de Arribes del Duero (occidente espanol).
Daily work in rural settings generates dirtiness and people living in the rural environment are aware of the need for personal and domestic hygiene, the cleanliness of other areas used by them. Accordingly, they seek simple, close-by resources, especially those from the surrounding vegetation. Aromatic plants serve to freshen the skin and clothes; simple creams for the face and hands and hair lotions are made, and certain plants serve as raw materials for the elaboration of bleaching agents and soap for washing clothes. At present, traditional knowledge concerning home-made phytocosmetics is represented by both the remnants of an orally transmitted folk tradition and also by new forms of knowledge, sometimes coming from popular phytotherapeutic books and the mass media (PIERONI & al., 2004). The use of certain natural products in cosmetic preparations is also based on their low toxicity and their active ingredients, responsible for both the effect and the benefits (ABURJAI & NATS HEH, 2003).
As in other rural environments in the west of the Iberian Peninsula (e.g. CARVALHO, 2010; TEJERINA, 2010; COBO & TIJERA, 2011), the traditional knowledge (TK) of the people inhabiting the territory of the Arribes del Duero Natural Park (Salamanca-Zamora, Spain) -henceforth the "ARD"--can also be seen in the use of certain plant species to generate products for cleaning or aromatic use. Widely used in the recent past by most of the population, currently such species are less employed or have simply been lost from the memories of a few people of advanced age.
To preserve this TK, in recent years Spain has seen the introduction of norms regulating its natural resources and their use. The 42/2007 bill, providing for Spain's Natural Heritage and Biodiversity (ANONYMOUS, 2007), is the lynchpin of the creation of the Spanish Inventory of Natural Heritage and Biodiversity, in turn regulated by Royal Decree 556/2011 (ANONYMOUS, 2011), which specifies its content, structure and functioning.
Following the aims and principles of this inventory, the aims of the present work were as follows: (i) to document and analyze the knowledge and traditional use of different plant species in the hygiene and cosmetic use of people from the ARD; (ii) to contribute to the dissemination of the results within the scientific community in order to open a door to research in other disciplines; and (iii) to contribute to the knowledge and conservational possibilities of plant biodiversity, bearing in mind that biological diversity is also related to the use and applications of natural resources.
The territory of the ARD forms the administrative border between Spain and Portugal along a stretch of some 120 km (40[degrees]50'-41[degrees]35' N, 6[degrees]00' -6[degrees]41' W; Figure 1). In light of its extraordinar natural, landscape and faunistic value, it was declared a Natural Park in 2002, and is listed in the Sites of Community Importance proposed by Spain to become integrated within the European Natura 2000 network. It features a singular climatology on the Iberian Peninsula: a mild annual mean temperature (11 [degrees]C overall), the almost complete absence of frost events along the year, and a mean precipitation of about 700 mm/yr (CALONGE-CANO 1990). From the geomorphological point of view, the ARD forms an extensive peneplain, whose most striking feature is the deep valley of the River Duero and its network (known as "arribes"). The considerable extent of this Natural Park, together with its clear N-S orientation and the differences in altitude, explains why it has a very high plant diversity, characterized by an abundance of typically Mediterranean species (BERNARDOS & AMICH, 2000; NUNEZ & al., 2003; AMICH & al., 2004). Distant from industrial areas, the territory is characterized by a strong demographic regression, which started half-way through the last century, with losses of almost 60% of the local population, a high ageing rate (almost 40% of people over 65), and a very low population density (8.6 inhabitants/[km.sup.2]) (MORALES & CABALLERO, 2003). The economy is mainly based on the primary sector, livestock-raising being preponderant over crop-growing (CALABUIG, 2008).
The incidence and socio-economic context of the use of plants for personal or domestic hygiene and cosmetics in general was studied as part of an ethnobotanical survey carried out in the ARD. Key informants, mostly elderly, with a sound TK of useful plants and who were born in the region and were long-time residents were interviewed. Information was obtained through 116 semi-structured interviews of 80 people (44 men and 36 women; age range, 45-98 years; mean age, 72). They were from 18 localities shown in Figure 1: 6 in the province of Zamora (localities 1-6) and 12 in the province of Salamanca (localities 7-18). Interviews were conducted from 2005 to 2009. Open questions were asked about the use of plants to gain insight into their past and present use.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
The ethnobotanical data collected were grouped in the following use-categories of plants based on folk perceptions: (1) personal hygiene, (2) home-made cosmetics and perfumes, (3) domestic cleaning, (4) air-fresheners, and (5) as anti-moth agents.
In the analysis of the ethnobotanical catalogue, as well as the number of informants (frequency of citation, FC) we used the cultural importance (CI) index proposed by TARDI'O & PARDO-DE-SAN-TAYANA (2008). This allows the relative importance of each plant species to be calculated. First, the use-reports (UR) of the species s are summed within a given use-category ([u.sub.i]) for all the informants (from [i.sub.1] to [i.sub.N]) and divided by the total number of informants (N). Then, the previously calculated quotients for each use-category, from [u.sub.1] to [u.sub.NC], are summed.
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Theoretically, this index varies between 0 and the total number of use-categories (NC), in our case 5. The real value of CI is much lower than the theoretical minimum because it is difficult for a species to find a use in all categories and it is highly unlikely that all the informants would mention the use of such species in each category.
To analyze how the informants' TK varied as regards socio-demographic characteristics, we performed an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), taking "UR" as the variable to model (number of use-reports provided by each informant) and using the XLSTAT 2009 program. Likewise, as explanatory variables we took the two items of personal data requested: "age" and "gender" (qualitative values of m = male or f = female).
Regarding plant taxonomy and nomenclature we followed the "Flora iberica" (CASTROVIEJO, 1986-2010) for the families included therein and the "Flora Europaea" (TUTIN & al., 1964-1993) for the remaining ones. Voucher specimens were deposited at SALA, the Herbarium of the University of Salamanca, Spain. In the case of some species for which no voucher was available, a digital photography number (PHO) is included.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The inhabitants of the ARD use, or have used in the recent past, 32 vascular plants (included in 18 botanical families) for hygiene and cosmetic purposes. Table 1 lists the plant species cited by at least three informants and includes core botanical and ethnobotanical information about these plants.
The two botanical families best represented in the study are Lamiaceae, with 8 species (25%), and Oleaceae, with 3 (9%). Regarding the use-categories assigned to the plants surveyed, 37% are used in the artisanal production of cosmetics and perfumes; 22% for personal hygiene, another 37% as air-fresheners, and 3 species (9%) are used as anti-moth agents. The taxa obtained were mainly cultivated (53%), and regarding the part of the plant used, branches (34%) and flowers (19%) were found to be the main organs used. At species level, the two most important taxa are Thymus mastichina (CI = 1.10) and Quercus ilex subsp. ballota (CI = 1.00).
The informants interviewed provided a total of 780 UR (average ca. 10 UR/informant). The results of the exploratory analysis conducted regarding the TK amassed by the different informants in terms of their characteristics show that only 45% of the variability of the TK can be explained in terms of age and gender ([R.sup.2] adj. = 0.456). The remaining variability was due to certain effects (other explanatory variables) that were not, or could not, be measured during the study. We believe that some socio-economic effects might be involved, although in light of the results of the analysis of variance it may be concluded with a certain degree of confidence that the two explanatory variables do bring a significant amount of information to the model ([F.sub.2,77] = 34.140, P < 0.0001, confidence interval = 95%). Table 2 gives details of the model. According to our data, women provided more information than men in this particular study.
The leaves and fresh flowers of the herbaceous plant known as "jabonera" (Saponaria officinalis) have been used as a substitute for soap for washing hands ("which stay soft and pliable"). In all of its parts, especially in the roots, this plant contains saponins; these are potentially toxic chemical compounds (PERIS & STUBING, 2006) that when used externally with water have a foam-forming and detergent action and serve for washing and degreasing. In the same sense, lemon juice (Citrus x limon) is used to wash and degrease the hands, for example after having prepared olives for pickling (which leaves the hands very dirty).
Holm-oak (Quercus ilex subsp. ballota) or oak (Q. pyrenaica) ash together with hot water used to be used for washing the hair. These ashes, rich in potassium carbonate, have traditionally been used in personal hygiene for many years in Spain (BUSCARONS, 1986). When rinsing the hair a squirt of vinegar leaves it shiny.
Another important plant derivative is olive oil. Used in the kitchen, it is recycled for home-made soap for routine house cleaning, especially for washing clothes, although this soap is particularly important in personal hygiene.
Instead of toilet paper, the hairy leaves of Verbascum pulverulentum are used.
HOME-MADE COSMETICS AND PERFUMES
To soften the face, in the recent past decoctions were made with mallow flowers (Malva sylvestris), rose petals (Rosa sp. pl.) or wheat bran (Triticum aestivum). The women used to wash their faces daily with the resulting solution.
Regarding hair tonics, some plants have been used to obtain lotions for purposes other than mere washing. We documented three traditional plant remedies against baldness (GONZALEZ & al., 2010), although it should be noted that they are also used to "lighten the hair"; that is, discolour it. Some people suffering from a progressive darkening of the hair, especially in the case of blonde women, would use the flowering branches of Helichrysum stoechas to wash their hair or used to cook the flower of Verbascum pulverulentum and use the resulting solution. Regarding grey hair, people would apply decoctions made from green walnuts (the immature fruit of Juglans regia). This stains the hair brown.
The perfumes traditionally used by the informants in the ARD were made at home, mainly through the maceration of braches or flowers in water and/or alcohol. Used individually or mixed, the six species documented in this work are rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), thyme (Thymus mastichina), rose bush, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and violet (Viola odorata, although Viola canina L. also present in the territory, may be used), and orange (Citrus x sinensis).
Women used to use bunches of basil (Ocimum basilicum) to adorn their lapels or would place them in the folds of their blouses on feast days.
Not too long ago, in the ARD the inhabitants used to use a bleaching agent made from the combustion of the wood burnt at home; this was used as a household cleaner and for whitening sheets and clothes. The dirty linen was placed in a cauldron; a cloth was placed on top and on this was placed a fair amount of holm-oak or oak ash. Then, boiling water was poured over the ash and the cloth. This whitened and disinfected the clothes. After finishing the whitening, the clothes were rinsed and the spare dirty water was then used to clean the floor, which came up nicely after a rinsing with clean water. The potash of the ash acted as a salt-laden whitener, with the effects of a gentle diluted bleaching agent, and the clothes were disinfected by the simple act subjecting them to boiling water.
The ash from the slow combustion of wood from ash trees (Fraxinus angustifolia) was highly appreciated for whitening the wash and hanks of linen. This ash used to be boiled in iron pots; the clothes or hanks of linen were submerged in the boiling liquid and then left to dry in the sun.
To clean cauldrons, plates and other household goods, two of the plant resources mentioned above were used: the ash (mixed with water) from certain trees, mainly oak, and the roots of Saponaria officinalis. However, in this context another two traditional uses are important: dried and ground "pimenton" -paprika (Capsicum annuum)was used as a dye and preservative in the manufacture of chorizo and similar sausage products, and together with coarse salt and very hot water it was used to clean copper cauldrons. Elder (Sambucus nigra) branches were chopped up and boiled in water and the resulting solution was used once a year to clean the vessels used for storing olives. This was achieved by rubbing the inside with scouring pads made of beaten esparto grass (Stipa tenacissima) from old ropes or in disuse and removed any bad smells and disinfected the vessels. Also, bread (from wheat flour) was used to clean gold (chains, pendants, necklaces) and the old copper utensils that even today are used as decorative elements in kitchens (pans in particular).
For fragrances, although also as ornaments, the inhabitants of the ARD use certain plants as "air-fresheners". To perfume stored clothing in cupboards or trunks they place fresh quinces (Cydonia oblonga) or branches of rosemary among their clothes. To perfume the air, apart from their culinary use, they place bunches made of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a plant that many inhabitants cultivate in their gardens/orchards, or of Thymus mastichina. It is also common to find vases containing different species of mint (Mentha aquatica, M.pulegium, M. spicata) or flowering branches of Helichrysum stoechas, which emits an agreeable odour of liquorice, or of trees such as Syringa vulgaris or Acacia dealbata, which as well as giving off a pleasant aroma are decorative owing to their vivid colouring.
In some villages of the ARD, in particular Villarino de los Aires (Salamanca), the inhabitants collect canes ("canas de San Juan": Magydaris panacifolia) once a year for their pleasant smell (with an odour of cumaru, Dipteryx odorata (Aubl.) Willd., Fabaceae). With these canes, they make bunches, placed in vases, and sometimes make small bunches for use in cars. Four informants recall having placed a leaf of Tanacetum balsamita between the pages of their schoolbooks in their childhood.
In a previous work (GONZALEZ & al., 2011) we reported data concerning certain plant species used as insect-repellents and/or insecticides in the struggle against disease-vectoring species: in particular mosquitoes and flies. Here we wish to include the insecticide plants used to prevent the proliferation of moths in stored clothes.
Tineid moths (Lepidoptera: Tineidae), commonly known as "clothes moths", inhabit human dwellings and storage areas and their caterpillars are considered a serious pest, since they derive nourishment from clothing, in particular wool, although also many other natural fibres. Control measures for the most common species, Tineola bisselliella Hummel 1823, known as the "common clothes moth" and the only species of its genus present in Europe (GAEDIKE, 2011), and Tinea pellionella L. 1758, the "case-bearing clothes moth", include physical measures such as dry-cleaning, but also solutions based on chemical methods that elicit problems of public health. Because it is highly flammable, toxic and carcinogenic (IARC, 2002), naphthalene was replaced by 1,4-dichlorobenzene in mothball production; even then, mothballs should never be stored in places accessible to children or pets. Also, some of the chemical components used (permethrin, deltamethrin, etc.) are persistent in the ecosystem and toxic to humans and domestic animals (e.g. DOI & al., 2006; LINNETT, 2008).
As a remedy for the protection of stored clothing in cupboards and trunks, commercial "bolas de alcanfor" (mothballs) are still used with a certain frequency in the ARD. However, as a natural method of prevention against moths -alternative to mothballs and insecticides-, the use of lavender inflorescences is a very common practice. Many people grow this aromatic plant in their gardens as an ornamental plant and then collect its inflorescences, dry them, and place them in small cloth bags to be hung in cupboards or trunks.
Laurel (Laurus nobilis) leaves are also used as an anti-moth agent, placed especially among stored blankets and winter clothing, and older women still place a bunch confected with the flowered branches of Thymus mastichina in their cupboards.
in all the uses documented, it may be seen that there is a noteworthy ecological value of the plants described, since on one hand the inhabitants recycle what in principle is a residue to be disposed of and, on the other, the home-made product obtained is less harmful or contaminating for the environment than many commercial products (detergents, degreasers, ammonia, etc.). Moreover, these plant resources are useful for air-freshening, with almost the same efficiency as modern chemical substances, and are reusable and do not generate health problems.
We would like to thank our informants for their time and effort to preserve traditional knowledge.
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Recibido: 21 junio 2010
Aceptado: 12 abril 2011
Jose Antonio Gonzalez, Monica Garcia-Barriuso, Ruben Ramirez-Rodriguez, Sonia Bernardos & Francisco Amich (*)
* Duero-Douro Ethnobiological Resources Investigation Group (GRIRED).University of Salamanca. E-37071 Salamanca, Spain. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Table 1 List of vascular plants used in folk cosmetics and hygiene in the rural community of the Arribes del Duero (W Spain). Abbreviations are: Status: W, wild (including naturalized); C, cultivated; SD, semi-domesticated (cultivated and reverted to wild status, and neglected cultivated plants); M, market. Use-categories: PEH, personal hygiene; COP, home-made cosmetics and perfumes; DOC, domestic cleaning; AIF, air-fresheners; ANM, anti-moth agents. FC is the frequency of citation; CI is the cultural importance index (see text). For every species we indicate the voucher herbarium number (SALA) or the photograph number (PHO). Families and Status Local name(s) species MAGNOLIOPSIDA Apiaceae Magydaris W Cana de San Juan panacifolia (Vahl) Lange (SALA 18297) Asteraceae Helichrysum W Manzanilla fina, manzanilla real, stoechas tomilleja, meaperros, siempreviva, (L.) Moench flor de San Juan, perpetua (SALA 17069) Tanacetum C Hoja romana balsamita L. (PHO 61) Caprifoliaceae Sambucus nigra W Canillero, cafiilero, sauco, sabugo L. (SALA 17435) caryophyllaceae Saponaria W Jabonera, jabon de gitana officinalis L. (SALA 15823) Fabaceae Acacia dealbata C Mimosa, acacia Link (PHO 10) Fagaceae Quercus ilex L. W Encina, ancina, carrasco, carrasca subsp. ballota (Desf.) Samp. (SALA 16331) Quercus W Roble, rebollo, melojo, roble marojo pyrenaica Willd. (PHO 4) Juglandaceae Juglans regia C, SD Nogal, noguera, nuecera, nuezal L. (PHO 20) Lamiaceae Lavandula C Lavanda, espliego angustifolia Mill. (PHO 197) Melissa C Melisa, toronjil, turgil, flor officinalis de limon L. (SALA 33358) Mentha aquatica C Hierbabuena, yerbabuena, marauz L. (PHO 73) Mentha pulegium W Poleo, polego L. (SALA 17794) Mentha spicata W Hortelana, hortolana L. (PHO 34) Ocimum c Albahaca, albacones basilicum L. (PHO 200) Rosmarinus C, SD Romero officinalis L. (SALA 16225) Thymus W Tomillo blanco, tomillo de poleo, mastichina tomillo de San Juan, tomilleja, (L.) L. ansero, alegrfa, senserina de San (SALA 16251) Juan, mejorana silvestre Lauraceae Laurus nobilis C, SD Laurel, aurel, aurelar L. (PHO 79) Malvaceae Malva W Malva sylvestris L. (SALA 16302) Oleaceae Fraxinus W Fresno, freixo angustifolia Vahl (SALA 17874) Olea europaea C (W) Olivo, oliva, olivera L. (SALA 17872) Syringa C Lilo, lilar, lilas vulgaris L. (PHO 16) Rosaceae Cydonia oblonga C Membrillo, membrillero, membrillal, Mill. membrillar, bembrillo (SALA 15400) Rosa sp. pl. C Rosa, rosal (PHO 52/53) Rutaceae Citrus x limon C Limonero (L.) Burm. (PHO 19) Citrus x C Naranjo, naranjal, azahar, sinensis flor de azahar Osbeck (PHO 18) Scrophulariaceae Verbascum W Gordolobo, gordilobo, gordillogo, pulverulentum patilobo, sanjuan Vill. (PHO 44) Solanaceae Capsicum annuum M Pimenton, pimiento L. (PHO 106) Violaceae Viola W Violeta odorata L. (SALA 18024) Vitaceae Vitis C Vid, parra vinifera L. (PHO 13/15) LILIOPSIDA Poaceae Stipa M Esparto, estopa tenacissima L. (PHO 220) Triticum C Trigo aestivum L. (PHO 91) Families and Use-categories Part(s) used species MAGNOLIOPSIDA Apiaceae Magydaris AIF Stems and panacifolia inflorescences (Vahl) Lange (SALA 18297) Asteraceae Helichrysum COP, AIF Branches (flowered) stoechas (L.) Moench (SALA 17069) Tanacetum AIF Leaves balsamita L. (PHO 61) Caprifoliaceae Sambucus nigra DOC Branches L. (SALA 17435) caryophyllaceae Saponaria PEH, DOC Leaves and officinalis L. flowers/root (SALA 15823) Fabaceae Acacia dealbata AIF Branches (flowered) Link (PHO 10) Fagaceae Quercus ilex L. PEH, DOC Ash subsp. ballota (Desf.) Samp. (SALA 16331) Quercus PEH, DOC Ash pyrenaica Willd. (PHO 4) Juglandaceae Juglans regia COP Immature fruits L. (PHO 20) Lamiaceae Lavandula COP, ANM Inflorescences angustifolia Mill. (PHO 197) Melissa AIF Branches officinalis L. (SALA 33358) Mentha aquatica AIF Branches L. (PHO 73) Mentha pulegium AIF Branches L. (SALA 17794) Mentha spicata AIF Branches L. (PHO 34) Ocimum COP Branches basilicum L. (PHO 200) Rosmarinus COP, AIF Branches officinalis L. (SALA 16225) Thymus COP, AIF, ANM Branches (flowered) mastichina (L.) L. (SALA 16251) Lauraceae Laurus nobilis ANM Leaves L. (PHO 79) Malvaceae Malva COP Flowers sylvestris L. (SALA 16302) Oleaceae Fraxinus DOC Ash angustifolia Vahl (SALA 17874) Olea europaea PEH Oil (derivative) L. (SALA 17872) Syringa AIF Branches (flowered) vulgaris L. (PHO 16) Rosaceae Cydonia oblonga AIF Fruits Mill. (SALA 15400) Rosa sp. pl. COP Petals (PHO 52/53) Rutaceae Citrus x limon PEH Fruits (juice) (L.) Burm. (PHO 19) Citrus x COP Flowers sinensis Osbeck (PHO 18) Scrophulariaceae Verbascum PEH, COP Basal leaves/flowers pulverulentum Vill. (PHO 44) Solanaceae Capsicum annuum DOC Fruits (dried and L. (PHO 106) reduced to powder) Violaceae Viola COP Flowers odorata L. (SALA 18024) Vitaceae Vitis PEH Vinegar (derivative) vinifera L. (PHO 13/15) LILIOPSIDA Poaceae Stipa DOC Fibers tenacissima L. (PHO 220) Triticum COP, DOC Bran/flour aestivum L. (breadcrumbs) (PHO 91) Families and FC CI species MAGNOLIOPSIDA Apiaceae Magydaris 9 0.11 panacifolia (Vahl) Lange (SALA 18297) Asteraceae Helichrysum 3-11 0.17 stoechas (L.) Moench (SALA 17069) Tanacetum 4 0.05 balsamita L. (PHO 61) Caprifoliaceae Sambucus nigra 11 0.14 L. (SALA 17435) caryophyllaceae Saponaria 43-4 0.59 officinalis L. (SALA 15823) Fabaceae Acacia dealbata 15 0.19 Link (PHO 10) Fagaceae Quercus ilex L. 22-58 1.00 subsp. ballota (Desf.) Samp. (SALA 16331) Quercus 8-19 0.34 pyrenaica Willd. (PHO 4) Juglandaceae Juglans regia 6 0.07 L. (PHO 20) Lamiaceae Lavandula 5-37 0.52 angustifolia Mill. (PHO 197) Melissa 10 0.12 officinalis L. (SALA 33358) Mentha aquatica 4 0.05 L. (PHO 73) Mentha pulegium 13 0.16 L. (SALA 17794) Mentha spicata 8 0.10 L. (PHO 34) Ocimum 16 0.20 basilicum L. (PHO 200) Rosmarinus 14-8 0.27 officinalis L. (SALA 16225) Thymus 27-33-28 1.10 mastichina (L.) L. (SALA 16251) Lauraceae Laurus nobilis 7 0.09 L. (PHO 79) Malvaceae Malva 6 0.07 sylvestris L. (SALA 16302) Oleaceae Fraxinus 8 0.10 angustifolia Vahl (SALA 17874) Olea europaea 37 0.46 L. (SALA 17872) Syringa 11 0.14 vulgaris L. (PHO 16) Rosaceae Cydonia oblonga 47 0.59 Mill. (SALA 15400) Rosa sp. pl. 60 0.75 (PHO 52/53) Rutaceae Citrus x limon 29 0.36 (L.) Burm. (PHO 19) Citrus x 5 0.06 sinensis Osbeck (PHO 18) Scrophulariaceae Verbascum 47-5 0.65 pulverulentum Vill. (PHO 44) Solanaceae Capsicum annuum 7 0.09 L. (PHO 106) Violaceae Viola 11 0.14 odorata L. (SALA 18024) Vitaceae Vitis 21 0.26 vinifera L. (PHO 13/15) LILIOPSIDA Poaceae Stipa 28 0.35 tenacissima L. (PHO 220) Triticum 5-30 0.44 aestivum L. (PHO 91) Table 2 ANCOVA results for the traditional knowledge and model parameters. Parameter Value SD Student's t Pr > t Intercept -8.828 4.224 -2.090 0.040 Age 0.315 0.058 5.462 <0.0001 Gender--m -7.209 1.173 -6.146 <0.0001 Gender--f 0.000 0.000 -- --