A scientific study confirms the medical benefits of several wild plants in the UAE

A recent scientific study conducted in the United Arab Emirates on several wild plants revealed the medical and nutritional benefits provided by these species, making them a natural treasure that can be utilized in the pharmaceutical and medical industry. The report emphasized their role in promoting sustainability in the desert ecosystem.

The study, prepared by researchers at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture in Dubai, focused on a specific group of wild plants used in traditional medicine and folk remedies, which also provide food and shelter for many living organisms.

A source of vitamins

The study showed the presence of good levels of essential fatty acids such as “oleic acid,” “alpha-linolenic acid,” and “linoleic acid” in plants like Wild Heliotrope and saltbush. These plants also contained high levels of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fibre. The studies revealed the prevalent vitamins in these plants, such as vitamin B complex and vitamin C.

The study also revealed that the “Bromeliad” plant is a source of vitamin B complex and antioxidants. It also contains high levels of phosphorus and zinc. On the other hand, the “Safrawi” plant is rich in nitrogen, calcium, and potassium.

Study goals

The study aims to uncover the rich nutritional composition of several wild plants and their potential use as alternative sources of nutrients and dietary supplements.

The nutritional composition information of these plant species helps enhance the utilization of a wider range of biologically diverse foods and fodder for healthy diets and pharmaceutical products in the UAE and other places.

The study highlighted the possibility that some of the plant species studied could be excellent substitutes for other vegetables commonly consumed due to their superior nutritional content, provided their toxic properties are studied and tested.

Focus on plants

The United Arab Emirates is home to around 755 species of local plants belonging to 81 botanical families.

Despite the numerous challenges facing the propagation and conservation of wild and local plants to prevent their extinction, the relevant authorities have shown a keen interest in these plants.

 They are working on their revitalization, reliance on them, and their reuse through experiments to regenerate seedlings, extract environment-friendly seeds, store them, and establish specialized scientific centres for seed propagation.

The protection of local biodiversity is a priority for the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, which operates through an integrated system that includes the establishment of legislation to protect this diversity. They also launch programs and initiatives to enhance this protection and achieve sustainability of this biodiversity.

The ministry is working on protecting existing local plant species and expanding the cultivation area of many of them through various initiatives. For instance, the “Drone-enabled local planting project” involves the aerial dispersal of seeds of Acacia Tortilis and Ghaf trees using drone technologies in selected areas across the country.

Another initiative involves the production, care, and cultivation of Avicennia seedlings to rehabilitate damaged habitats. Additionally, new areas of the Avicennia tree environment are being established in other coastal regions. The ministry also collaborates with various local government entities concerned with the environmental sector in tree planting initiatives.

The ministry has completed the UAE Smart Map of Natural Capital, which aims to identify and evaluate the existing natural systems in the country, determine their ecological services and economic value, and provide comprehensive information and data in the form of a clear and smart map. This map enhances the decision-making capacity of policymakers, business operators, and financiers, encouraging them to consider biodiversity protection in the local environment.

Al Jundi

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