Phytomedicinal Knowledge and “Official” Sources in Tatev (Armenia)

  • Roman Hovsepyan Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Yerevan,
  • Nina Stepanyan-Gandilyan Institute of Botany, Yerevan,
  • Christian Stollberg Hochschule Wismar–University of Applied Sciences, Technology, Business and Design, Malchow/ Insel Poel,
Keywords: Folk medicine, Books, Rraditions, Epistemology, Herbal market


Ethnographic investigations in the villages of the Tatev community in southern Armenia reveal the positive attitude of the local community toward “official” sources (e.g., printed books, administrative officials, and people of higher education) on herbal medicine and the belittling of their own traditional ethnobotanical knowledge. Although this may be a global phenomenon, we observe and discuss particular reasons specific to the post-Soviet context as conditioned by politics and propaganda. Nowadays, the local population gather and use a minimum of forty wild plants (ethnotaxa) mostly for nutritional, medicinal, and aromatic (tea and flavoring) purposes. Biological species of the traditionally used medicinal plants of the Tatev community were identified, and preparation methods and purposes of the herbal remedies were recorded. The most frequently and traditionally used medicinal plants of the Tatev community belong to these genera: Mentha, Thymus, Ziziphora, Hypericum, Knautia, Arctium, Plantago, Tanacetum, Rosa, and Sambucus.

Author Biographies

Roman Hovsepyan, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Yerevan,

Dr. Roman Hovsepyan is an ethnobotanist and archaeobotanist and a senior research fellow at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Yerevan. His current research interests are the ethnobotany of Armenians, Yezidis, and Kurds, and the prehistory of plant cultivation and use in the South Caucasus and South-Eastern Europe.

Nina Stepanyan-Gandilyan, Institute of Botany, Yerevan,

Dr. Nina Stepanyan-Gandilyan is an ethnobiologist and botanist. She is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences. Her main research interests include the ethnobotany of the Armenian Highland, the role of the pomegranate in Armenian culture, and floristic studies (Lamiaceae and Asteraceae family plants).

Christian Stollberg, Hochschule Wismar–University of Applied Sciences, Technology, Business and Design, Malchow/ Insel Poel,
Dr. Christian Stollberg is heading a research group at the Wismar University of Sciences, Malchow/ Island of Poel, Germany. As a chemical engineer, he is dedicating his work to the processing of plant materials for medical, cosmetic and nutraceutical applications. In the context of medicinal plants, he plays an active role in an international network enhancing the sustainable land use and small-scale organic farming.


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How to Cite
Hovsepyan, R., Stepanyan-Gandilyan, N., & Stollberg, C. (2019). Phytomedicinal Knowledge and “Official” Sources in Tatev (Armenia). Ethnobiology Letters, 10(1), 23-34.
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