Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Ethnobotanical Uses of Roots of Various Plant Species in Turkey

By Mehmet Uğur Yıldırım, Ercüment Osman Sarıhan and Khalid Mahmood Khawar

Submitted: November 9th 2020Reviewed: March 25th 2021Published: May 10th 2021

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.97418

Downloaded: 159


Turkey has advantage of lying on transection of three climatic zones. Namely Europe-Siberia, Iran- Turan and the Mediterranean region situated between 26 and 45° east longitude and 36–42° north latitude in the Northern hemisphere. The number of plant species subspecies, taxa and varieties in Flora of Turkey is above 12,000. In terms of plant diversity in the temperate zone, it attracts attention with its features that are different from the neighbouring countries around it in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. This has led to the development of many distinct ethno-medicinal-botanical habits among local people; who use different plant parts like roots, leaves, flowers, fruits, herbs, seeds, etc. in their cuisines, natural dyeing, decoration, textile dyeing and medicinal purposes, etc. This study reviews ethnomedicinal and botanic uses of the 196 taxa belonging to 54 families and 113 genera grown in Turkey.


  • Edible plants
  • flora of Turkey
  • medicinal uses
  • plant species

1. Introduction

Turkey lies on intersection of three climatic zones namely European-Siberia, Iran-Turan and the Mediterranean region; surrounded by oceans on three sides, with mountains, plateaus and plains having different heights and topographical features (Figure 1). It is located in the Mediterranean climate zone, also seen in inland continental climate with seven ecogeographical regions (Aegean, Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Marmara, Mediterranean, and South Eastern Anatolia) [1]. Koppen-Geiger climate classification system identifies 3 main and 10 sub climates in Turkey [2].

Figure 1.

Map of Turkey, showing different provinces of Turkey and biogeographical regions.

Hosting different climate types within the boundaries of different flora regions play an important role in the abundance of species, taxa and also endemic plant taxa. According to “Flora of Turkey and The East Aegean Islands” Turkey has 174 families, 1251 genera and more than 12,000 taxons (including species and subspecies and varieties) [3, 4, 5]. Approximately 3649 or 1/3rd of these are endemic [6].

The total and endemic number of plant taxa in these regions are given in Table 1. Some of these are found in only one, while the others are naturally distributed in more than one ecogeographical regions.

RegionsNumber of total taxa in a regionNumber endemic plant taxa in a region
Central Anatolian34881030
Eastern Anatolian47601237
South East Anatolian1891239

Table 1.

Number of total and endemic plant taxa in Turkey.

Source: [7].

Moreover, it has distinction to become homeland of one among the three oldest civilizations (Indus valley, Nile, and Mesopotamia) in the World. The present day Turkey has honor to host 9 different civilizations (Hatti; Hittite, Urartu, Phrygian, Lydian, Ionian, Carian, Lycian, Hellenic) along with majestic Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman Empires in the later periods, that has resulted in accumulation of a huge knowledge about use of local flora in traditional medicines and cuisines [8, 9, 10, 11].


2. Ethnobotany

The Word ethnobotany, is coined from two Greek words “ethnos”, meaning folk, and “botane” or “botanos”, meaning plants. It is defined as the branch of science that studies relationship between human beings and plants [12, 13, 14]; related to their use in foods, medicines, religious rituals, ceremonies and and related chores in a local culture [15]. The therapeutic uses of medicinal herbs is largely desired in both developed and developing countries of the World during these days and are emerging as powerful aid to discover treatments to many diseases and their use in palliative care [16]. The rich cultural history of Turkey has played a distinct role in the plant-human relationship, both in verbal and written form. It has passed down from generation to generation and has become a part of Turkish culture of ethno-medicine-botany over time. In line with advances in technology in recent years there is increased economic migration from rural areas to cities. This has resulted in reduced understanding and recognition of these plant species, loss of habitat of many plants and have resulted in the risk of disappearance of many plants from the Turkish flora. There is need to protect and guaranty the survival of this knowledge by securing it through transcription for benefit of future generations [17]. Therefore, documenting “Taraditional Ethnobotanical Knowledge” is important for their conservation and proper use of biological resources [5, 18].

It is noted with interest that the first works about medicinal plants were put forward in China, South Asian subcontinent (Indus valley), Egypt (Nile valley) and Turkey (Mesopotamia) followed by Greeks and Roman people.


3. Prescription patterns through times

Prescription patterns belonging to the Hittite civilization are accepted as one of the oldest known prescriptions in the history. Materia Medica, written by Dioscorides, is considered the world’s first pharmacopoeia. The book describes 500–600 plants and most of these are grown in Turkey. This book also describe drug preparation methods from plants and their usage [19, 20].

Many medicinal plants and herbal medicines not known to the Western civilizations were used in daily life of the deep-rooted Asian and the Middle Eastern civilizations (present day Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Palestine/Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Egypt), FarEastern civilizations (China, Koreas, Japan), South Asian Indian sub continent (present day Pakistan, İndia), the Mayans, the Aztecs and Incas that lived in the Central and Southern America [19].


4. Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Greek periods

Information from transcriptions about Egyptian medicines written on papyrus describe use of plants in ancient Egypt. The most important of these papyrus based prescription were written many years before Common Era (BCE). It is the Ebers Papyrus (discovered by George Maurice Ebers in 1872), that is estimated to have been written in 1550 [19, 20]. Celsus (25 BCE-50 CE, Plinus (23–79 CE), Dioscorides (40–90 CE) and Galenos (129–201 CE) were the World-renowned medical doctors who were trained during the Roman Empire. The prescriptions on the tablets belonging to this period show the number of herbal drugs used by people during Mesopotamian civilization (inTurkey); period was around 250 CE. It is estimated that about 600 medicinal plants were used during the Greeks and 4,000 during the Arab Moroccan civilization [20].


5. Developments during Greek and Roman Periods

Plants and root drugs collected by the ancient Greek physicians, known as rhizomotomy were used in the treatment of various diseases. Hippocrates, who lived in 460–377 BCE; is considered the founder of modern medicine, mentions 236 plant species and their healing effects in his work [19].

5.1 Islamic or Arab period

Apart from the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations, the Islamic or Arabs started to translate Greek, Roman South Asian and Iranian books/works into their own languages from the 7th century, adding significant number of their own contributions for the development of medical science. The most important and famous scientists like al-Razi (850–923); al-Dineveri (895–992); Al-Zahravi (936–1013). Al-Biruni (973–1051) and ibn-i-Sina (Avecena) (980–1037) can be counted among them. These works were continued by many other worth mentioning scientists like ibn-i- Zühür (1094–1162), al Gafiki (? -1165), ibn-i- Rushd (1128–1198), ibn-i-Baytar (1197–1248), Nüveyri (1279–1332) and Davud al Antaki (1541–1599) [19].

5.2 Seljuk and Ottoman periods

The Turks used the traditional practices in Central Asia by synthesizing them together with the traditional practices of Ancient Anatolia. During the Anatolian Seljuk period with the establishment of hospitals (medical centers) in various regions. Gevher Nesibe Sultan hospital was located and established in the Turkish province of Kayseri during this period. It was first example of the modern hospitals. During the Ottoman Empire, Darushifa (Hospitals) were established, in many cities including Bursa, Edirne, Manisa and Istanbul. The most famous medical doctors and surgeons of the Ottoman Empire, include Sherafeddin Sabuncuoğlu (1386–1470) and Merkez Efendi. The Ottomans opened famous hospitals like Tibkhâne-i Amire with the efforts of Shanizade Mehmed Ataullah Efendi (1771–1826) and Behchet Efendi (1774–1834) to modernize medical education in the Ottoman Empire [19].

5.3 Post Democracy Period

After passing to democracy or establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the medical law was enacted based on modern medical practices and put into practice in 1923. Number of Medicine and Pharmacy Faculties, began to rise with the establishment of Istanbul and Ankara universities. These institutions contributed positively to the diagnosis and treatment process and development of modern medical education in Turkey in parallel to the scientific and technological progress in medicine and pharmacy sciences in the World [19]. Today, medical scientists in Turkey continue to benefit and study local flora in line with the local ethnobotanical trends since centuries by diagnosis and treatment methods. The scientists have discovered many active substances necessarry for human and animal health.

The first ethnobotanic works in the modern sense in Turkey are focused on medicinal plant as in the worldwide [19]. In a 70-year period between the years 1928–1997, a total of 765 ethnobotanical studies were conducted in Turkey. These informations are included in the thesis entitled “Republican Turkish Ethnobotanical Research Archive” by Narin Sadıkoglu. The thesis is available in the archive of Istanbul University Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Botany. This study include uses of plants belonging to Sivas, Istanbul and Konya provinces; mostly used in human health, beliefs and used as food [21, 22].

A brief information about 196 taxa (species, subspecies and 43 varieties) belonging to 54 families and 113 genera frequently used in Turkish folk medicines (Table 2).

NoBotanical namesFamilyVernacular namesParts usedUsage formUsesReferences
1.Acorus calamusL.AcoraceaeEğir kökü, HazanbelRootsInfusiontreating kidney ailments; jaundice, removal of toxins from the body, intestinal gas reliever, stomach burn, gout, against bottom wetting in the elderly[59]
2.Adianthum capillis-venerisL.AdianthaceaeBaldırıkaraRootsDecoctionTo treat cough and expectorant.[60]
3.Cotinus coggyriaScop.AnacardiaceaeTetere, tetre, tera otuRootsTo treat skin disorders.[61]
4.Apium graveolensL.ApiaceaeKerevizRootsRaw, freshTaken as food, cooking is made from roots tuber.[81]
5.Caucalis platycarposL.ApiaceaeKavkal, PıtırakRootsInfusionCrushed, wrapped using cloth bandage over wound, eczema. Used to treat skin inflammations and eczema and liver disorders.[63, 64]
6.Chaerophyllum crinitumBoiss.ApiaceaeXilokRootsRaw, freshFreshly consumed as food.[65]
7.Daucus carotaL.ApiaceaeHavuçRootsRaw, fresh decoctionEye treatment, increase human milk secretion, peeled, abortive, to treat diarrhea and used as expectorant.[63, 66]
8.Eryngium billardieriDelar.ApiaceaeHıyarak, HazaraRoots, Aerial partsRaw, fresh Infusion, decoctionDried and crushed to treat sinusitis, wound, cold, flu, hemorrhoids, kidney and urinary system diseases, toothache, aphrodisiac.[38, 63, 67]
9.Eryngium bornmuelleriNab.ApiaceaeRoots, latexLatexLatex (roots-stem); to treat toothache.[68]
10.Eryngium campestreL. var. virensLink.ApiaceaeSütlü diken, Kuşkonmaz, Şeker dikeniRootsRaw, fresh DecoctionRoots are chewed to relieve abdominal pain; treatment of prostate diseases and treatment of prostate cancer.[69, 70]
11.Ferula sp.ApiaceaeÇaşır,RootsDecoctionHemorrhoids, strengthen.[71]
12.Ferula communis ssp. communisL.ApiaceaeÇakşır otuRootsRaw, freshWhen its roots are crushed and mixed with honey, it increases male sex potency[8, 60]
13.Ferula elaeochytrisKorovinApiaceaeÇakşır otuRootsRaw, fresh DecoctionIts roots and leaves are used to reduce intestinal dryness and as an aphrodisiac. Treatment aphrodisiac, abdominal pains, ulcer, Increasing milk and meat (animals)[63, 72]
14.Ferula haussknechtiiWolffex Rech.ApiaceaeKermeğRootsDecoctionWound, wound healing.[63, 73]
15.Ferula longipedunculataPeãmenApiaceaeÇakşırRootsRaw freshTreatment of aphrodisiac problems.[63]
16.Ferula meifoliaL.ApiaceaeÇakşır köküRootsRaw freshTreating infertility, increasing sex potency in men, lowers blood sugar.[59]
17.Ferula orientalisL.ApiaceaeHeliz Kınkor, KafkorikRootsDecoctionDried and crushed roots and applied to wounds. Psoriasis, digestive. Abdominal pains and hemorrhoid, skin inflammation and burns, vertigo, nausea, diabetes[74, 75]
18.Ferula rigidulaFisch. Ex DC.ApieaceaeHelizRootsRaw, freshFresh stems and roots eaten; Kidney stones, cholesterol.[75]
19.Ferulago sylvatica(Besser) Reichb.ApiaceaeRootsDecoctionSkin diseases[63]
20.Ferulago trachycarpaBoiss.ApiaceaeRootsRaw, fresh
Peeled, crushed, eaten appetizer, aphrodisiac, stomac ailments,[63]
21.Foeniculum vulgareMiller.ApiaceaeRezeneRoots, fruits, herbsDecoctionIt is used as food. Gas-removing and milk-enhancing properties in stomach ailments. The leaves of the plant have wound healing properties; roots used for diuretic problems treatments.[8, 60]
22.Glaucosciadium cordifolium(Boiss.) B.L.Burtt et P.H.DavisApiaceaeSakar otu, Çakşır otuRoots leavesTo treat aphrodisiac effects.[63]
23.Heracleum sphondyliumL. ssp. ternatum(Velen.) BrummittApiaceaeDevesilRootsPaste, infusion, teaHemorrhoids, abdominal pains[61]
24.Petroselinum crispum(Miller) A.W.HillApiaceaeMaydanozRootsDecoctionTo treat ailments of stomach, hemorrhoids[63, 76, 77]
25.Pimpinella olivieroidesBoiss. & Hausskn.ApiaceaePapatyaRootsInfusion;To treat asthma[56, 63, 85]
26.Prangos pabulariaLindl.ApiaceaeÇakşırRootsInfusion;Taken as tea; or extract. Used as fuel and mixed into animal feed. To Increases resistance, infertility, digestive system, indigestion, strengthening, diabetes, sperm formation[79]
27.Prangos ferulacea(L.) Lindl.ApiaceaeRootsInfusion, tea[63]
28.Prangos pabulariaLindl.ApiaceaeRootsInfusionWound healing; gastric problems, stimulant[73]
29.Smyrnium connatumBoiss. & KotschyApiaceaeBaldıranRootsRawEaten[80]
30.Smyrnium olusatrumL.ApiaceaeDeli kerevizRootsDecoctionTo treat abortion[63, 82]
31.Nerium oleanderL.ApocynaceaeZakkumRootsDyeUsed to extract dye from roots. Used to dye ropes and threads by boiling roots in the water, dye.[81]
32.Arum elongatumSteven subsp. elongatumStevenAraceaeBasur otu
Roots TuberRaw, driedTo treat hemorrhoids; Plant tuber used in into powder form used as capsule.[83, 84]
33.Arum elongatumSteven subsp. detruncatum(C.A. Mey. ex Schott) H. RiedlAraceaeGabarcıkRootsRaw, freshRoots are rubbed on the wart to heal them.[72]
34.Arum rupicola var. rupicolaBoiss.(Endemic)AraceaeDağsorsalıRootsRaw, fresh
Grated, to treat rheumatism[86, 87]
35.Arum rupicola var. virescens(Stapf) P.C. Boyce.AraceaeRootsDecoctionTo treat diabetes[11, 86]
36.Dracunculus vulgarisSchottAraceaeYılanpancarıRootsRaw, fresh
Dried, Decoction
Used in the treatment of rheumatism. Small pieces are swallowed like a pill, treatment of hemorrhoids. Used trait hand cracks.[60, 81]
37.Hedera helix L.AraliaceaeSarmaşıkRootsRaw, fresh
To relieve inflammation in the body, To treaaat rheumatismal diseases[34, 72]
38.Aristolochia bottaeJaub & Spach;AristolochiaceaeZelındar,RootsDried,
Roots dried, crushed, applied to wounds in humans and animals. Boiled as tea for to treating wounds, abodominal pains and human parasites[74]
39.Asparagus acutifoliusL.AsparagaceaeKuşkonmaz, Zaparna, Tatlı filizRootsRaw, fresh
Treating liver swelling. Cleans clean the blood; Lumbago, sliced roots[62, 82, 89]
40.Acroptilon repens(L) DC.AsteraceaeKaramukRootsRaw, freshUsed externally for wound treatment after the roots ends (black part) are crushed[70]
41.Arctium tomentosumMill.AsteraceaeDüvetabanı, gelbeniRoots, leavesRaw, freshEaten raw or cooked[90]
42.Centaurea regia Boiss. subsp. regiaAsteraceaeşahkavgalazRootsRawTo treat blood sugar in diabetes. Consumed for food purposes,[91]
43.Centaurea urvilleiDC. subsp. armataWagenitzAsteraceaeÇoban
Roots, stemRawTo treat swelling, obesity[92]
44.Chondrilla junceaL.AsteraceaeSakızlı ot, garagavukRootsRoots, latexChewing, as expectorant[92]
45.Cichorium intybusL.AsteraceaeHindiba, karakavuk
Acıkök Çıtlık
RootsRaw, fresh decoctionTo treat dandruff. Liver and gall bladder pain. Treatment of blood cancer. Used to treat constipation, hemorrhoids. Respiratory and endocrine system ailments and indigestion.[56, 70, 81, 88, 93, 94, 95]
46.Cichorium pumiliumJacq.AsteraceaeHidibağRootsRaw, fresh decoctionUsed to treat liver diseases[96]
47.Cirsium rhizocephalumC.A MeyAsteraceaeMedik, kopuk, amikRootsRawCooked[90]
48.Cirsium pubigerum(Desf.) DC.AsteraceaeKivari aviRootsEdema[73]
49.Cnicus benedictusL.AsteraceaeŞevketi BostanRootsRaw, freesh, DecoctionBoil and drink water. It is dried and pounded, mixed with honey and eaten. It is used locally to treat vitiligo disease. It is also used as fuel.[59]
50.Gundelia tournefortiiL.AsteraceaeKenger otuRootsRaw, fresh,
Infusion, Decoction
Treatment of endocrine system disorder, nervous system disorder, female/male diseases, cardiovascular diseases. Eaten by adding bulgur and rice. For dental health and increasing appetite.[67, 94, 95]
51.Helianthus tuberosusL.AsteraceaeYer elmasıRootsRaw, freshThe whole roots, along with its fresh lump, is cooked after it is thoroughly cleaned.[61]
52.Hieracium pannosumBoiss.AsteraceaeSakızotuRootsRaw, freshChewing latex obtained from liquid such as milk dry up for chewing.[83]
53.Inula graveolens(L.) Desf.AsteraceaeKokarot, Andız otu, Kefen otuRootsDecoctionTo treat asthma and breathlesness[81, 56]
54.Lactuca serriola L.AsteraceaeAcı marul, Sütlü marulRootsDecoctionDecoction[81, 56]
55.Onopordum tauricumWildAsteraceaeGöğündürmeRootsRaw, freshTo treat kidney stones.[72]
56.Scolymus hispanicusL.AsteraceaeAltın dikeni
Sarıca diken
Raw, fresh
Treatment of kidney stones and hemorrhoids, diabetes, cholesterol and kidney failure.[34, 81, 97]
57.Scorzonera latifolia(Fisch & C.A. Mey) DC.AsteraceaeAlabent, Alman sakızıRootsRaw, fresh
It is used as raw latex, chewed roots are used antihelmetically.[100]
58.Scorzonera tomentosaL.AsteraceaeAlabent
Alman sakızı
Yer sakızı
RootsRaw, fresh
As food, chewed.[67, 79]
59.Taraxacum sintenisiiDahlst.AsteraceaeKarahindibaRootsInfusionTo treat kidney diseases and stomach burn.[98]
60.Taraxacum officinale(L) Weber ex F.H. WiggAsteraceaeKarahindiba, GihoşirikRootsInfusionConsumed as tea. to treat diabetes, cleans the blood, diuretic problems and hepatitis, gives strength to exhausted people. It’s salad is made by the local people.[99]
61.Tragopogon dubiusScop.Asteraceae,YemlikRoots LeavesRaw, freshConsumed as food and as a vegetable.[95]
62.Tragopogon buphthalmoides(Dc.) Boiss.Asteraceae,YemlikRootsTo treat wound healing and intestinal inflammation.[100]
63.Xanthium strumarium L. subsp. strumariumAsteraceaePıtrak,
Sıraca otu
RootsDecoctionFor the treatment of breathlessness and asthma[81, 56]
64.Xanthium spinosumL.AsteraceaePıtrak dikeniRootsTo treat kidney and abdominal pains.[81]
65.Berberis crataeginaDC.BerberidaceaeKaramuk
Infusion, dye, tea
It is used in fabric dyeing. Its roots is used internally to treatment diabetes and hemorrhoid. Diuretic. Its extract is taken in cold ailments such as bronchitis. Anti-diabetic Infused in boiling water and 2–3 cups are taken to treat eyes.[34, 67, 72, 103, 104, 105]
66.Berberis vulgarisL.BerberidaceaeKızambuk, HanımtuzluğuRootsDecoction
Wool dyeing to treat asthma and breathlessness.[7, 69, 95, 97]
67.Alkanna froediniiRech. f.BoraginaceaeMıjmıjokRootsDecoctionIt is taken as tea, against stomach pains[74]
68.Alkanna orientalis(L.) BoissBoraginaceaeMıjmıjokRootsDecoctionIt is taken as tea against, stomach pains.[74]
69.Alkanna orientalis(L.) Boiss var. orientalis(L) Boiss.BoraginaceaeSarı-HavacıvaRootsDecoctionIt is taken as tea against abdominal diseases[97]
70.Alkanna tinctoria(L.)BoraginaceaeHavacıvaotuRootsDecoction,
maceration, dye
To treat boils and wounds. Dyeing fabrics[79]
71.Alkanna tinctoria(L.) Tausch subsp. glandulosaHub.-MorBoraginaceaeHavacıvaotuRootsDecoction;To treat hemorrhoids.[83, 84]
72.Alkanna tinctoria(L) Tausch subsp. tinctoriaBoraginaceaeHavacıva otu; Tüylü Boya, HavajoRootsDecoction; dyeDyeing of fabrics and threads. Applied externally to treat hand cracks and wounds in a short time.[106, 107]
73.Alkanna trichophilaHub.-Mor. var. mardinensisHub.-Mor.BoraginaceaeGorız, hevacevaRootsDecoction, maceration, creamIn the treatment of wounds and burns.[91]
74.Alkanna tubulosaBoissBoraginaceaeKök boyaRootsDyeDyeing wool and woolen threads fabrics and threads[72]
75.Anchusa azureaMill. var. azureaBoraginaceaeBallık otuRootsTea,Red dye for dyeing fabrics and threads is obtained from the roots.[64]
76.Anchusa officinalisL.BoraginaceaeSığır DiliRootsTea, dyeDyeing fabrics and threads[108]
77.Arnebia densiflora(Nordm) LebedBoraginaceaeBoya otuRootsDyeIts roots are boiled in water and its juice is used in yarn dyeing (orange color).[70]
78.Echium angustifoliumMillerBoraginaceaeKızılcık dikeni, kızılcık otuRootsOinmentIts roots are used for wound healing. It is used as an ointment with butter for trating wounds.[109]
79.Heliotropium europaeumL.BoraginaceaeKırcinnik otu; Siğil otuRootsRaw, fresh, oinmentUsed against scorpion bites.[97]
80.Onosma alboroseaFisch. & C.A.Mey. subsp. alboroseavar. alboroseaBoraginaceaeMijmijokRootsRaw, fresh, ointmentUsed to treat wound healing, to facilitate the delivery by pregnant women during childbirth.[91]
81.Raphanus sativusL.BrassicaceaeKaraturpRoots,Raw, freshUsed to treat asthma, breathlessness and cough.[110]
82.Raphanus raphanistrumL.BrassicaceaeYabani turpRoots, leavesRaw,Roots and leaves are appetizing.[64]
83.Sinapis arvensisL.BrassicaceaeHardal otu, sarıhardalRootsRaw, freshAbdomimal pains.[61]
84.Sinapis arvensisL.BrassicaceaeHardal otu, sarıhardalRootsRaw, freshTo relieve headache.[70]
85.Campanula lyrataLam. Subsp. lyrataCampanulaceaeİnek memesiRootsRaw, freshIt is eaten as food. It is consumed by peeling off roots.[111]
86.Campanula involucrataAucher ex A.DC.CampanulaceaeÇan çiçeğiRootsRaw, freshEaten fresh after peeling.[112]
87.Campanula glomerataL.CampanulaceaeÇan çiçeğiRootsRaw, freshIt is consumed as a vegetable.[111]
88Campanula rapunculusL.CampanulaceaeÇıngırak otu, Çan çiçeğiRoots, leavesRaw, freshAs human milk enhancer. To treat in wound healing and constipation. To treat kidney, bladder stones and stomach disorders.[111]
89.Campanula tracheliumL.CampanulaceaeÇan çiçeğiRootsFreshIt is consumed as a vegetable.[111]
90.Capparis spinosaL. var. spinosaCapparaceaeGebre otu, kapariRootsDecoction
Treatment of eczema.[81]
91.Capparis ovataDesf. var. herbacea(Willd.) Zoh.CapparaceaeKeber, kebereRootsİnfusion,
To treat diuretic problems.[97]
92.Dipsacus laciniatusL.CaprifoliaceaeFesçitarağıRootsTo diuretic problems and treat eczema.[8, 67]
93.Sambucus ebulusL.CaprifoliaceaeBizga,
karabubu, mürver,
RootsDecoctionAntirheumatic. Treatment of ear pain.[61, 78, 113]
94.Sambucus nigraL.CaprifoliaceaeAğaç mülveri, mürverRootsDecoction, oinmentAntirheumatic, analgesic, hemorrhoids[61]
95.Dianthus elegansd’Urv. var. elegansCaryophyllaceaeKaranfilRootsDecoctionThe roots are boiled and taken as tea.[72]
96.Gypsophila pallidaStapfCaryophyllaceaeÇövenRootsRaw, DecoctionThe roots of this plant are boiled in water. The extract is added to molasses to prepare a dessert called helva.[114]
97.Silene caryophylloides(Poir.) Otth subsp. echinus(Boiss.& Heldr.) Coode & CullenCaryophyllaceaeGevenRootsRaw, fodderRoots were crushed and used as fodder. Animals are fed with this fodder during winter.[34]
98.Cistus laurifoliusL.CıstaceaeTavşanak, TavşancılRootsDecoctionIts decoction prepared from fresh or dried roots is used to alleviate diabetes. Dried herbs and roots are used as fuel.[81]
99.Convolvulus arvensisL.ConvolvulaceaeTarla sarmaşığıRoots, latexRoots extractRoots extract is used as a laxative; Its roots are also used to treat constipation.[8, 60]
100.Bryonia albaL.CucurbitaceaeYer kabağıRootsDecoctionRoots were used to treat menstrual problems.[109]
101.Bryonia asperaStev ex LedebCucurbitaceaeKındrokRootsRaw, decoction, oinmentTo treat Intestinal ailments and wound healing.[74]
102.Bryonia multifloraBoiss. & Heldr.CucurbitaceaeÜlüngürRootsRaw, teaTo lower blood sugar.[91]
103.Ecbalium elaterium(L) A. Rich.CucurbitaceaeAcı dülek,
Acı kavun,
Acı hışır,
Deli hışır
Roots, leaves, fruitsFreshTo treat hemorrhoids, eczema, itching, headache, sinusitis (Drop Nostril DN). To rheumatism and abdominal pain.[60, 82, 89, 93]
104.Cyperus rotundusL.CyperaceaeTopalak otuRootsRawEaten[69]
105.Cyperus rotundusL.CyperaceaeTopalak otuRootsRaw, teaTaken as tea.[81]
106.Dioscorea communis(L.) Caddick & WilkinDioscoreaceaeDolanbaçRootsRawBody pains.[115]
107.Tamus communisL.DioscoreaceaeAcı Filiz, yadırgan,RootsRoots, extractUsed as a pain reliever and treat rheumatism.[89]
108.Tamus communisL. subsp. communisDioscoreaceaeSarmaşıkRootsRaw, latexSliced roots used to treat rheumatism, eczema, wound.[82]
109.Scabiosa argentaL.DipsacaceaeUyuz otuRootsDecoction, ointmentTo treat Its roots are used as urinary problems, diuretic wound healing.[96]
110.Euphorbia apiosL.EuphorbiaceaeSürgen otuRootsRaw, fresh, creamCauses diarrhea when the roots is eaten[89]
111.Euphorbia rigidaBieb.EuphorbiaceaeSütleğen,RootsDecoctionTo treat eczema, decoction is prepared from fresh roots is used.[81]
112.Astragalus angustifoliusLam. subsp. pungens(Willd.)HayekFabaceaeİnce gevenRootsRaw, decoctionIts roots is used in cosmetics and glue production. Its roots are collected and sold as second quality Gypsophila.[8, 38, 67]
113.Astragalus brachycalyxPhil.GevenRootsDecoction,Decoction, drink 1 tea glass before meals.[116]
114.Astragalus microcephalusWildFabaceaeGevenRoots, latexRaw, fodderExternally, fractures of the hand used to treat wart. The roots are crushed and used as animal fooder.[100]
115.Astragalus microcephalusWild subsp. microcephalusFabaceaeGeven, kevenRoots, latexDecoctionThe liquid coming out of its roots is used as glue. If the roots is boiled and taken in the morning, it dissolves kidney stones.[105]
116.Astragalus latexmiferLab.FabaceaGevenRoots, latexRaw, freshUsed in glue making; The liquid leaking from the roots when it is cut, is applied to the legs for joint pain.[79, 100]
117.Glycyrrhiza glabraL.FabaceaeMeyanRootsDecoction, macerationTo treat digestive, abdominal pains, diabetes, cancer. Respiratory and endocrine system disorders, skin problems.[94, 95, 116]
118.Glycyrrhiza glabraL. var. glabraFabaceaeMeyanRootsDecoction
To treat wounds, cold and flu, abdominal pains.[74]
119.Glycyrrhiza glabraL. var. glabraFabaceaeMeyanRootsDecoctionDigestive aid.[117]
120.Glycyrrhiza glabraL. var. glandulifera(Waldst et Kit), Boiss.Fabaceae,MeyanRootsDecoctionIt is used as a breast softener, expectorant, reducing the harmful effect of nicotine, diuretic, blood pressure, kidney stone reducer, dry cough remover. It is used to treat of cold, flu. To treat stomach ulcers and bronchitis.[81, 107]
121.Ononis spinosaL. ssp.
leiosperma(Boiss.) Širj.
FabaceaeKaplıca, Kimya otu, KuşkonmazRootsInfusion, creamIt is used treatment of skin disorders, and urinary ailment, diuretic.[61]
122.Quercus cerrisL. var. cerrisFagaceaeÇalı meşesiRootsDecoctionTo treat wound-burn treatment, a clean bandage dipped in decoction prepared from its roots is wrapped on the wound-burn.[81]
123.Quercus cocciferaL.FagaceaePiynarRootsDecoctionTo treat burns, the liquid obtained by boiling the roots is good when applied to burns. Charcoal is made from the roots and stems.[81, 105]
124.Gentiana luteaL.GentianaceaeCentiyanRootsRaw, fresh maserationIt is used as a carminative, antiperiodic expectorant and blood purifer.
Treatment of chronic torpid liver dyspepsia, gout and enlarged spleen.
[126, 127, 128]
125.Geranium macrostylumBoiss.GeraniaceaeDeve potuğuRootsRaw, freshUsed a food[34]
126.Hypericum atomariumBoissHypericaceaeKantaron, mide otuRootsDecoctionRoots used to treat abdominal, stomach diseaseas and intestinal disorders.[34]
127.Hypericum perforatumL.HypericaceaeKantaronRootsDecoctionTo treat stomach and intestinal ailments.[34, 95]
128.İris germanicaL.İridaceaeMavruz Urfaa, SüsenRootsRaw, freshIt’s roots are also known as violet roots; It is dried and powdered, diluted and applied to the teeth like toothpaste.[81]
129.Ajuga chamaepity(L) SchreberLamiaceaeBozca otuRootsUsed in animals, for strengthening.[110]
130.Mentha arvensisL.LamiaceaeNaneRootsThe common cold; abdominal pains; cough[110]
131Asphodelus aestivusBrot.LiliaceaeÇiriş Otu.
Çirişlik otu, Deve soğanı
Kiriş otu,
Roots tuberRaw, fresh, decoctionUsed as shoe glue. to treat wound, abdominal pains and stomach wounds.[80, 81, 89]
132.Asphodelus ayardiiJahand. & Maire.LiliaceaeCiriş, ciriş otuRootsRaw, freshTo treat wound and treatment of eczema.[92]
133.Asphodeline baytopiaeTuzlaciLiliaceaeİnce ciriş,RootsRaw, freshTo treat wound and treatment of eczema.[92]
134.Eremurus spectabilisM. BiebLiliaceaeGullık, çirişRootsDecoction,
Raw, fresh, oinment
To treat rheumatism, headache, Ointment prepared from its roots is used in the treatment of scabies and syphilis.[8, 67, 74]
135.Ruscus aculeatusL. var. aculeatusLiliaceaeDeve çalısı, enir,
tavşan elması,
RootsRaw, infusion, decoctionIts roots are used to treat kidney stone, nephritis.[55, 61, 102]
136.Ruscus aculeatusL.LiliaceaeTavşanmemesiRootsDyeBlack dye[108]
137.Alcea calvertii(Boiss.) Boiss.MalvaceaeHıra çiçeğiRootsInfusion, ornamentalIt provides a beautiful view by culturing in the gardens.
To reduce kidney stones and used as ornamental plant.
[38, 67]
138.Malva neglectaWallr.MalvaceaeEbegümeci Ebemgümeci
RootsDecoctionTo relieve sore throat and tonsillitis. Abdominal pains and swelling on abdomen. To treat gynecological diseases and infertility treatment. It is used to give vigor to the body and to protect against cancer.[64, 70, 74]
139.Malva sylvestrisL.MalvaceaeEbemgümeci,
DecoctionUsed externally, for the treatment of hemorrhoids, acne. To treat small or bovine animals suffering from mastitis.[69, 81]
140.Morus albaL.MoraceaeDutLeavesrootsInfusionInfusion it is used making molasse[62]
141.Morus nigraL.MoraceaeKara DutRoots leavesDecoctionThe roots or roots bark is used as a purgative and tapeworm reducer.[8, 67]
142.Peganum harmalaL.NitrariceaeNazar otu, üzerlikRoots, stems leavesDisinfection[84]
143.Orchis adenocheilaCzerniak.OrchidaceaeSalepRootsRawGround roots (with milk); It is used to treat digestive system disorders.[94]
144.Orchis sp.OrchidaceaeSalepRootsOintment decoction, tea,It gives strength to the body. Used to treat wounds, boils, inflammation. It strengthens the heart and is good to treat mental fatigue.[79]
145.Apropyron repens(L) P. Beauv.PoaceaeAyrık otuRootsTea, ointmentThe liquid obtained by boiling the roots is used against arthrosis and rheumatism diseases.[95]
146.Elytrigia repens(L.) Desv. ex NevskiPoaceaeAyrık otuRootsTea, ointmentIt is said to be used in prostate and kidney related disorders. It is also used as fuel.[59]
147.Plantago lanceolataL.PlantaginaceaeDemra otu, SinirotuRootsTea, DecoctionTo treat abdominal swelling.[105]
148.Plantago majorL. ssp. intermedia(Gilib.) LangePlantaginaceaeDamar otu, sinirli otRootsDecoctionTuberculosis[61]
149.Platanus orientalisL.PlatanaceaeÇınarRootsDecoction, dye, teaIf it is boiled, a red dyeing fabrics and threads.[89]
150.Platanus orientalisL.PlatanaceaeAnadolu çınarRootsTea, dyeRoots are used against snake bites.[8, 60]
151.Polypodium vulgareL.PolypodiaceaeKarabaldır otu, Altın otu,RootsDecoctionDecoction, if taken warm, relieves abdominal swelling and pain[89]
152.Rheum ribesL.PolygonaceaeIşğın, uşgun
Roots Aerial partsRaw fresh, infusion
To treat asthma, diabetes, kidney stones, heart diseases, blood pressure and stomach upset. Constipating and used as an antihelmentic. Hemorrhoids traetments.[8, 67, 95, 97, 100, 116, 118]
153.Rumex alpinusL.Polygonaceae,Kuzukulağı, Efelek, LabadaRootsInfusionUsed as laxative effect. To treat boils. Diuretic and antipyretic treatments.[8, 67]
154.Rumex crispusL.Polygonaceae,İlabada, kuzu kulağı
RootsDecoctionto treat abdominal pain and colds. Diabetes, digestive, inflamation and Itching.[61, 81, 100]
155.Primula verisL.PrimulaceaeÇuha çiçeğiRootsUsed as expectorants.[113, 119]
156.Plumbago europaeaL.PlumbaginaceaeArtoğaRootsConceiving pregnancy in women.[98]
157.Ranunculus marginatus
d’Urv. var. marginatus
158.Ranunculus ficariaL.RanunculaceaeBasur otu, düğün çiçeğiDecoction, ointment, teaTreatment of hemorrhoids.[59]
159.Reseda luteaL. var. lutea,ResedaceaeMuhabbet çiçeği
Şamdan otu
RootsDecoction, dyeUsed in dyeing wool. Used to relieve abdominal pain.[70, 107, 121]
160.Agrimonia eupatoriaL.RosaceaeFıtık otuRootsIt is used in the treatment of prostate and edema[120]
161.Crataegus aronia(L) Bosc. Ex DC. var. aroniaRosaceaeAlıçRootsDecoctionTo treat asthma and breatlessness[70]
162.Crataegus monogynaJacq. subsp. monogynaRosaceaeAlıçRootsDecoctionTo treat arteriosclerosis lowering high blood pressure. It relieves stomach ailments, asthma and shortness of breath.[70, 103]
163.Crataegus orientalisPalas ex M. Bieb.RosaceaeKırmızı alıçRootsDecoctionThe leaf+flower or roots are boiled and taken, good to treat diabetes, heart palpitations, fatigue, insomnia[79]
164.Crataegus orientalisPalas ex M. Bieb. var. orientalisRosaceaeBilan -
Kırmızı alıç
RootsDecoctionTo treat rheumatic pains and against to swelling. Abdominal pains, hert diseases.[70, 74]
165.Crataegus tanacetifolia(Lam.) Pers.RosaceaeSarı alıçRootsDecoctionGood to treat diabetes, heart palpitations, fatigue, insomnia.[79]
166.Geum urbanumL.RosaceaeKurfilRootsDecoction,To treat constipation.[65, 120]
167.Potentilla speciosaWilldRosaceaeRoots teaRootsInfusionInfusion[62]
168.Potentilla rectaL.RosaceaeBeş parmak otu, Acı hayıtDecoction,To treat heartburn and relieve toothache.[64]
169.Purunus spinosaL. ssp. dasyphylla(Schur) Domin.RosaceaeGüvem, Güvem tikeniRootsTeaLiver diseases[61]
170.Pyracantha coccineaRoemerRosaceaeAteş dikeni, Tavşan elması,RootsDecoction, teaTo treat kidney stone[110]
171.Rosa caninaL.RosaceaeKuşburnu Yaban gülü
Roots fruitsInfusion decoction,It is used in the treatment of hemorrhoids, shortness of breath, bronchitis, cough, cold and constipation, blood pressure regulation, diabetes, dierrhea and urinary tract diseases.[34, 56, 59, 74, 78, 100, 117, 122, 123]
172.Rosa gallicaL.RosaceaeKuşburnuRootsDecoction, teaAs herbal tea[29]
173.Rubus sp.RosaceaeBöğürtlenRootsInfusion, teaBy brewing, endocrine system disease[94]
174.Rubus caesiusL.RosaceaeBöğürtlen
RootsDecoction, infusionBlackberry roots is boiled and taken for 2 meals; To increase male potency and abdominal pains.[74, 79]
175.Rubus canescensDC.RosaceaeBöğürtlenRoots leavesDecoction, infusionInfusion; bronchitis, asthma, diabetes mellitus, sedative. If the roots is boiled and taken, it is used in the treatment of infertility and stomach ailments.[116, 120]
176.Rubus canescensDC. var. canescensRosaceaeÇobankösteği BöğürtlenFresh, shoots rootsDecoction, infusionBoiled and used twice a day as a strengthener, diuretic, and protector against diabetes. The decoction is taken to pour out kidney and bladder sand. It is used to treat diabetes, hemorrhoids and diuretic.[99, 123]
177.Rubus canescensDC. var. glabratus(Godron) Davis et MeikleRosaceaeBöğürtlenRootsDecoction, teaIt is appetizing. Effective against Pneumonia. Increase male potency[79, 89]
178.Rubus discolorWeihe & NeesRosaceaeBöğürtlenFruits, roots,
Infusion, decoction, teaTo treat diabetes. ıt is diuretic. To treat pneumonia, abdominal pains. Dyeing of fabrics and threads. The dye is obtained by boiling the roots.[105, 107, 113, 118, 120]
179.Rubus hirtusWaldst. & KitRosaceaeBöğürtlenRootsDecoction, teaTreatment of nephritis and prostate and abdominal pains.[113, 120]
180.Rubus idaeusL.RosaceaeAhududuFruits rootsDecoction, teaThe roots is boiled and taken against inflammation.[97]
181.Rubus sanctusSchreberRosaceaeBöğürtlen
Orman üzümü
Karamama, Dırık, Tiri, Garaltı
Roots; flower, leaves, fruitsInfusion, decoctio, ointmentIn the treatment of kidney stones, prostate and cancer, breast cancer, abdominal ailments, hemorrhoids, and as a diuretic and cough suppressant, hemorrhoids and diabetes. Skin diseases. It is diuretic, cancer and asthma and breathlessness effective against pneumonia if it is boiled and taken with nettle roots.[34, 56, 60, 62, 71, 81, 89, 91, 93, 96, 101, 113, 116, 120]
182.Rubus saxatilisL.RosaceaeBöğürtlenRootsDecoction, teaBlackberry roots is boiled and taken for 2 meals; provides sperm formation[79]
183.Rubus terericaulisP. J. Müll.,RosaceaeBöğürtlen dikeniRootsDecoction, teaThe roots are boiled and the boiled water is used to treat abdominal pains.[113]
184.Rubia tinctoriumL.RubiaceaeBostan boyası,
Boya pürçü
Dil kanatanotu
RootsRaw, fresh, dye, teaRed dye is obtained from the roots. Dyeing cotton, silk and wool treating rheumatism pains, eczema.[29, 89, 93, 100, 123, 124]
185.Salix capreaL.SalicaceaeSöğüt ağacıRootsDecoctionTreatment of asthma and breathlessness.[60]
186.Verbascum kotschyiBoiss. & Hohen.ScrophulariaceaeMeçelikRootsDecoction, teaTo treat cracks and wounds.[106]
187.Verbascum thapsusL.ScrophulariaceaeSığır kuyruğuRootsDecoctionTo treat migraine, headache and toothache.[79]
188.Mandrago officinarumL.SolanaceaeAdamotuRootsRaw, ointment, teaPain reliever, to treat skin diseases such as eczema, to treat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and increase male potency.[59]
189.Tilia argenteaDesf. Ex DC.TiliaceaeIhlamurRootsInfusionTo treat cold[61, 129, 130]
190.Ulmus minörMiller subsp. minorUlmaceaeKaraağaçRootsRaw, DecoctionAnaelgesic, muscle relaxants, correction of wrong, union bones and treat menstrual period diseases.[109]
191.Ulmus minörMiller subsp. canescens(Meliville) Browicz & ZelinskiUlmaceaeBuzi
RootsDecoction, ointmentTo treat rheumatic disaases and hemorrhoids.[70, 74]
192.Ulmus glabraHudsUlmaceaeKaraağaçRootsDecoction, ointmentTreat woundsi inflamation and cancer.[93, 100]
193.Urtica dioicaL.UrticaceaeIsırgan otu
Yandırgan, Dalagan,
Roots and LeavesDecoction,infusion, tea, raw, foodIn cancer treatment, as a tumor minimizer and cancer prevention. to treat eczema. Urinary tract inflammation; To relieve lowback pain and to eliminate vascular occlusion, conceiving pregnancy in women. It is a blood cleanser, diuretic, appetizer, analgesic and muscle relaxant. It is used to treat rheumatism pain. Treatment of nephritis, abdominal ailments and baldness, prostatitis.[8, 56, 60, 61, 67, 72, 81, 82, 89, 102, 109, 110, 129]
194.Urtica urensL.UrticaceaeCılağan ısırganRoots leavesDecoctionBlood cleanser, diuretic and appetizer and treatment of cancer.[8, 67, 82]
195.Valeriana officinalisL.ValerianaceaeKedi oturoots and leavesDecoction infusion, teaTo treat depression, nervous disease, beneficial against insomnia, without addiction. It is used as a sedative in nervous system disorder.[59, 94, 96]
196.Tribulus terrestrisL.ZygophyllaceaeÇoban çökertenRootsDecoctionTo treat kidney sand, hemorrhoids[83]

Table 2.

Ethnobotanical uses of roots of some medicinal plants species in Turkey.

Prof. Dr. Turhan Baytop (1920–2002) has significant work on Turkey’s medicinal plants and flora of Turkey. He collected many plant samples with his research trips in the Anatolian mountains between 1949 and 1999 and brought them to Istanbul University Faculty of Pharmacy Herbarium in his book “With medicinal Plants in Turkey.” He has described medicinal plants used in traditional folk medicine in Anatolia in his book. In his work titled “50 years in the Anatolian mountains”, he has described significant contributors who to the Anatolian (Turkish) flora as follows. The first plant collectors coming to Anatolia were P. Belon (1517–1567), L. Rauwolff (1535–1596), J.P. Tournefort (1656–1708). Apart from these; G. A. Olivier (1756–1814), P.M.R Aucher-Eloy (1793–1838), K.H.E. Koch (1809–1879), E. Boiser (1810–1885), G.T. Kotschy (1813–1866), E. Bourgeau (1813–1877), P. Tchihatcheff (1818–1890), B. Balansa (1825–1891), L. Charrel (1839–1924), P. Sintenis (1847–1907)), W. Siehe (1859–1928), JFN Bornmüller (1862–1948), K. Krause (1883–1963), P.M. Zhukovsky (1888–1975), O. Schwarz (1900–1983), A. Huber-Morath (1901–1990), and Peter Handland Davis (1918–1983), [19].

5.4 Recent trends and common practices

Continuing to many researchers ethnobotanical studies in recent years intend to describe Turkey’s flora, patterns thir use, information about the chemical contents and their distribution areas [8, 13, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34], in Turkey in traditional folk medicine in usage patterns and ethnobotany based studies [24, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130].

Also ethnobotanical studies have been done to describe medicinal plants sold to the public for therapeutic purposes in regional herbalists shops and involving the identification of the drugs belonging to commonly used plant species [22, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58].

Developing of medicinal, chemical and pharmaceutical sciences and technologies, are continuously contributing to the development and understanding of many new medicinal characteristics of locally grown plant species.

The plant taxa or their products are used for several oral and topical treatments against described diseases and malfunctions and energy boosters. Some of these plants are also used in other industries like food, paint, cosmetics, animal feed, bio diesel production or directly as fuel.


6. Conclusion

It is important to document traditional knowledge and its utilization in local health systems. This study has reviewed and evaluated traditional strategies of plants belonging to 54 families, 113 genera and 196 taxa (species, subspecies, varieties) that serve as base to understand local use of these plants in Turkey. This review can provide an excellent source of knowledge to recognise and compare existing and emerging treatment methods. The study has great significance for creating awareness among people in Turkey, where the rate of migration from rural to urban areas is very fast.

Some plant species and their applications as listed in Table 2 could be highly poisonous. Their described applications are traditional usage forms. They must be taken very carefully after consulting an expert medical doctor.


Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest. All authors contributed equally in the preparation of manuscript.

© 2021 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Mehmet Uğur Yıldırım, Ercüment Osman Sarıhan and Khalid Mahmood Khawar (May 10th 2021). Ethnobotanical Uses of Roots of Various Plant Species in Turkey, Plant Roots, Ertan Yildirim, Metin Turan and Melek Ekinci, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.97418. Available from:

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