Applied Sciences (Oct 2021)
Home Gardens as a Source of Medicinal, Herbal and Food Preparations: Modern and Historical Approaches in Lithuania
The culture of home gardens in Lithuania comes from the deep traditions of agriculture. The purpose of this study was to collect and evaluate the ethnobotanical knowledge of medicinal plants grown in Tauragė District home gardens and to compare it with archival sources. A field survey was conducted from July 2019 to October 2020 in the Tauragė District, and the target group consisted of 27 respondents. The data obtained during the research were compared with the unpublished work of E. Šimkūnaitė, dated 1948. During the research, 100 cultivated plant species were recorded and assigned to 36 plant families (76 plant species and 38 plant families in the archival source, respectively). Many of the species grown earlier/at present in home gardens were used without EMA approved medical indications and were based solely on folk knowledge and experience in medicine. Despite the wide network of pharmacies and well-available primary health care in Lithuania, the residents of Tauragė District still grow medicinal plants in their home gardens for various purposes—from homemade medicines to food–herbal preparations. This food–medicine connection is as tight as it was in the archival study of 1948, which shows the surviving Lithuanian tradition of growing both food and medicine in home gardens. Those cultivated plants most suitable for Lithuanian climatic conditions and with ethnic heritage-based medical applications can be a source of ideas for further research.