Ethnopharmacology of liakra: traditional weedy vegetables of the Arbereshe of the Vulture area in southern Italy
Pieronia, A, Nebela, S, Quaveb, C, Munz, H & Heinrich, M 2002, 'Ethnopharmacology of liakra: traditional weedy vegetables of the Arbereshe of the Vulture area in southern Italy', Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 81, no. 2, pp. 165-185.
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An ethnobiological field study on food plants and medicinal foods traditionally consumed in three Arbï¿½resh (ethnic Albanian) communities in northern Lucania (southern Italy) document approximately 120 botanical taxa used for these purposes. Non-domesticated food vegetables (liakra), mostly gathered during the spring season, play a central role as traditional functional food. Quantitative ethnobotanical, ethnotaxonomical, ethnoecological, ethnogastronomical, and ethnopharmacological aspects related to gathering, processing, cooking and consumption of liakra are discussed. Unusual food species, such as Lycium europeaum, Centaurea calcitrapa, and a few spontaneous weedy Asteraceae and Brassicaceae species are locally used in the kitchen. Most of these are very poorly known phytochemically and phytopharmacologically. Moreover, an analysis of taste perception of the most commonly used botanical foods was conducted in the village of Ginestra. Arbï¿½resh taste classification and indigenous criteria related to the perception of bitter taste in considering non-cultivated plants as food or medicine are discussed as well.