Ethnopharmacy of Selected Medicinal Plants in a Group of Infants of Educated and Employed Mothers in Amman City


  • Safaa A. Al-Zeidaneen Department of Allied Medical Sciences, Al-Zarqa University College, Al-Balqa Applied University, Al-Salt, Jordan



Employed mothers, Ethnopharmacy, Infants, Medicinal plants.


Background: Employed mothers have little time for infant care and doctor visit. They resemble other women who prefer using medicinal plants to treat minor and self-limited medical problems.

Objective: To investigate the frequency of using selected medicinal plant among infants of educated and employed mothers and the indications of use for these medicinal plants in Jordan.

Methods: Observational study was conducted on employed mothers of 100 infants (50 males; 50 females) aged between 2-12 months in Jordan. Infants were divided according to gender into males and females and they were further subdivided into < 6 months and ≥6 months according to age. Infants' mothers were interviewed and asked about the usage and indications of the selected medicinal plants. The health and socio-demographic data were collected by the principal investigator through a valid and reliable questionnaire.

Results: Employed mothers frequently used medicinal plants to treat infantile colic, constipation, coughing or inability to sleep. The most frequently used medicinal plant among employed mothers was anise, Pimpinella anisum (44%) especially for infants aged <6 months which was negatively correlated with infantile colic and positively correlated with induce sleep indication. Thymus vulgaris wascommonly used to treat cough (40%) followed by both chamomile, Matricaria aurea and anise, Pimpinella anisum (30%) while, sage, Salvia triloba was the most frequently used medicinal plants to treat infantile colic (35.71%).

Conclusion: Employed and well-educated mothers frequently used medicinal plants among their infants. The safety of using medicinal plants among infants is questionable.


[1] Engle PL. Influences of mothers’ and fathers’ income on children’s nutritional status in Guatemala. Soc Sci Med 1993; 37: 1303-12.
[2] Nair M, Ariana P, Webster P. Impact of mothers’ employment on infant feeding and care: a qualitative study of the experiences of mothers employed through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee. Act BMJ Open 2014; 4: e004434.
[3] Sethuraman K, Lansdown R, Sullivan K. Women’s empowerment and domestic violence: the role of sociocultural determinants in maternal and child undernutrition in tribal and rural communities in South India. Food Nutr Bull 2006; 27: 128-43.
[4] Anderson P, Butcher K, Levine P. Maternal employment and overweight children. J Health Econ 2003; 22: 477-504.
[5] Abbi R, Christian P, Gujral S, Gopaldas T. The impact of maternal work status on the nutrition and health status of children. Food Nutr Bull 1991; 13(1): 20-5.
[6] Lamontagne JF, Engle PL, Zeitlin MF. Maternal employment, child care, and nutritional status of 12-18-month-old children in Managua, Nicaragua. Soc Sci Med 1998; 46: 403-14.
[7] Sim TF, Sherriff J, Hattingh HL, Parsons R, Tee LBG. The use of herbal medicines during breastfeeding: a population-based survey in Western Australia. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013; 13: 317.
[8] Nwaiwu O, Oyelade OB. Traditional herbal medicines used in neonates and infants less than six months old in Lagos Nigeria. Niger J Paed 2016; 43(1): 40 -45.
[9] Bove M. An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants. New Canaan, Conn: Keats Publishing Inc; 1996.
[10] Spigelblatt L, Laine-Ammara G. The use of alternative medicine by children. Pediatrics 1994; 94: 811-814.
[11] Kemper KJ, Lester MR. Alternative asthma therapies: An evidence-based review. Contemp Pediatr 1999; 16: 162-195.

[12] Kemper KJ. Complementary and alternative medicine for children: does it work? Arch Dis Child 2001; 84: 6-9.
[13] Sawyer MG, Gannoni AF, Toogood IR, Antoniou G, Rice M. The use of alternative therapy by children with cancer. Med J Aust 1994; 160: 320-322.
[14] Harnack LJ, Rydell SA, Stang J. Prevalence of use of herbal products by adults in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn, metropolitan area. Mayo Clin Proc 2001; 76: 688-694.
[15] Saad B, Azaizeh H, Said O. Tradition and perspectives of Arab herbal medicine: a review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2005; 2: 475-9.
[16] Rai LK, Prasad P, Sharma E. Conservation threats to some important medicinal plants of the Sikkim Himalaya. Biol Control 2000; 93: 27-33.
[17] Lev E, Amar Z. Ethnopharmacological survey of traditional drugs sold in the Kingdom of Jordan. J Ethnopharmacol 2002; 82: 121-45.
[18] Afifi FU, Abu-Irmaileh B. Herbal medicine in Jordan with special emphasis on less commonly used medicinal herbs. J Ethnopharmacol 2000; 72: 101-10.
[19] Atta AH, Alkofahi A. Anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of some Jordanian medicinal plant extracts. J Ethnopharmacol 1998; 60: 117-24.
[20] https: // sector pdf, 2016.
[21] Albuquerque UP, Medeiros PM. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis applied to ethnobiological research. Ethnobiology and Conservation 2012; 1: 6-8.
[22] Ong HG, Kim Y-D. Quantitative ethnobotanical study of the medicinal plants used by the Ati Negrito indigenous group in Guimaras Island, Philippines. J Ethnopharmacol 2014; 157: 228-242.
[23] Kidane B, van Andel T, van der Maesen LJG,. Asfaw Z. Use and management of traditional medicinal plants byMaale and Ari ethnic communities in southern Ethiopia. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2014; 10: 46.
[24] De Albuquerque UP, Soldati GT, Sieber SS, Ramos MA, De S’a JC, De Souza LC. The use of plants in the medical system of the Fulni-ˆo people (NE Brazil): a perspective on age and gender. J Ethnopharmacol 2011; 133(2): 866-873.
[25] Hanazaki N, Tamashiro JY, Leit˜ao-Filho HF, Begossi A. Diversity of plant uses in two Caicara communities from the Atlantic Forest coast, Brazil. Biodiversity and Conservation 2000; 9(5): 597-615.
[26] Stagegaard J, Sorensen M, Kvist LP. Estimations of the importance of plant resources extracted by inhabitants of the Peruvian Amazon flood plains. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2002; 5(2): 103-122.
[27] de Almeida Ced F, Ramos MA, de Amorim EL, de Albuquerque UP. A comparison of knowledge about medicinal plants for three rural communities in the semi-arid region of northeast of Brazil. J Ethnopharmacol 2010; 127(3): 674-684.
[28] Torres-Avilez W, deMedeirosand PM, Albuquerque UP. Effect of Gender on the Knowledge of Medicinal Plants: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016; 1-13.
[29] Abu-Irmaileh BE, Afifi FU. Herbal medicine in Jordan with special emphasis on commonly used herbs. J Ethnopharmacol 2003; 89: 193-197.
[30] Aburjai T, Hudaib M, Tayyema R, Yousef M, Qishawi M. Ethnopharmacological survey of medicinal herbs in Jordan, the Ajloun Heights region. J Ethnopharmacol 2007; 110: 294-304.
[31] Abdelhalim A, Aburjai T, Hanrahan J, Abdel-Halim H. Medicinal plants used by traditional healers in Jordan, the Tafila region. Phcog Mag 2017; 13: 95-101.
[32] Ghorbani A, Esmaeilizadeh M, Pharmacological properties of Salvia officinalis and its components. JTCM 2017; xxx-xxx.
[33] Mills S, Bone K. The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. St Louis, Missouri: Elsevier 2005; 558-559.
[34] Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal, A World Health Organization resource. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants 2007 Vol. 3. Fructus Anisi 59-70.
[35] Guzman CC De, Siemonsma JS. Plant resources of South-east Asia, No. 13. Spices. Bogor, PROSEA, 1999.
[36] Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal medicines. A guide for health-care professionals. London, The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.
[37] Baydoun S, Lamisb C, Helenaa D, Nellya A. Ethnopharmacological survey of medicinal plants used in traditional medicine by the communities of Mount Hermon, Lebanon Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2015; 173: 139-156.
[38] Haj Said AA, Derfoufi S, Sbai I. A Benmoussa Ethnopharmacological survey of traditional medicinal plants used for the treatment of infantile colic in Morocco. J Chem Pharm Res 2015; 7(7): 664-671.
[39] Chopra RN, Nayer SC, Chopra IC. Phytochemistry.2003; 62 Glossary of Indian Medical Plants. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research: New Delhi 1956.
[40] Koch J, Schrauder A, Alpers K, Werber D, Frank C, Prager R, Rabsch W, Broll S, Feil F, Roggentin P, Bockemuhl J, Tschape H, Ammon A, Stark K. Salmonella agona outbreak from contaminated aniseed, Germany. Emerg Infect Dis 2005; 11: 1124-7.
[41] Tuckler V, Peck C, Nesbit C, Coleman M, Weimer S, Martinez J, Ryan M, Arnold T. Seizure in an infant from aniseed oil toxicity. J Toxicol Clin Toxico 2002; 40(5): 689.
[42] Hansel R, Keller K, Rimpler H, Schneider G. Hagers handbook of pharmaceutical practice. Vol. 6, Drugs P-Z, 5th ed. Berlin, Springer, 1992.
[43] Gorelick NJ. Genotoxicity of trans-anethole in vitro. Mutation Research 1995; 326: 199-209.






General Articles