Ethnobotany and ethnomycology study

Ethnobotany is the study of the uses of plants. Specifically, how they have been used in traditional society and ethnomicology is the same, but related to fungi. Globally, and as a result of globalization and different acculturation processes, many of the traditional uses and empirical knowledge accumulated over hundreds of years have disappeared, or rapidly will soon disappear.

The methodology of these studies usually follows the semi-structured interview with people who have lived in traditional societies as well as the elaboration of a herbarium of plant species.

At the same time, a study has been launched in which some of this traditional knowledge has been applied in obtaining products for biotechnology research. The general objective is to evaluate various plant species for the production of cosmetic products. This study was initiated during 2013 and 2014 through a grant from the Department of Higher Education and Research of the Government of Andorra in the framework of the CTP grants (ACTP016 els-AND / 2012). The objectives of the project were to detect some of the species with high antioxidant potential and to study the feasibility of using their extracts as protective agents of lipid oxidation.

In 2015, after analyzing all the plants internally and by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), it was found that boxwood (Arctostaphilos uva-ursi) was the plant with the highest antioxidant potential and the candidate for further studies.

At the same time, a study was developed  to obtain Andorran products with wild plants with a high antioxidant capacity. For this reason, the Health and Welfare Cluster was initially coordinated by ACTUA (Government of Andorra).


[1] Niell, M. i Agelet, A. (2011). Remeis i plantes d'us tradicional del Pirineu. Recull etnobotànic de les valls d'Andorra. Monografies del Cenma.

[2] Niell, M. “Los hongos y los espíritus elementales.” Revista Catalana de Micologia, 38: 59-70. 2017.

[3] M. Niell, J. Girbal, L. Ribas, “L'ús dels esclerocis de Claviceps purpurea dins la medicina popular andorrana.” Revista Catalana de Micologia, 32: 37-42. 2010.

[4] M. Niell, J. Girbal, "Els noms populars dels bolets a Andorra". Revista Catalana de Micologia, 28: 209-216. 2006.