УНИВЕРЗИТЕТ У БАЊОЈ ЛУЦИ,
ИНСТИТУТ ЗА ГЕНЕТИЧКЕ РЕСУРСЕ

UNIVERSITY OF BANJA LUKA,
GENETIC RESOURCES INSTITUTE

Working group - Medicinal and aromatic plants

The aim of this working group is to inventory existing collections of genetic resources of medicinal and aromatic plants, and the development of measures for their conservation. This implies an inventory of the existing situation, identification of priority threatened plants and defining measures for their protection. Nature conservation through protected areas is a very important instrument for biodiversity conservation of medicinal and aromatic plants. Our primary goal is the preservation and expansion of the existing network of protected zones.
This includes the following activities:
- Inventory of genetic resources of medicinal and aromatic plants;
- Collecting of genetic resources of medicinal and aromatic plants;
- Preservation in  in situ and ex situ conditions;
- Description and evaluation of genetic resources of medicinal and aromatic plants;
- Capacity building for storage;
- Research of genetic resources of medicinal and aromatic plants;
- Development of appropriate legislation;
- Regulation of the use and exchange of genetic resources of medicinal and aromatic plants;
- Informing the public about the importance of conservation of genetic resources.

More than three-quarters of the world's population relies on local herbalists and traditional medicine for their primary health care. At least 160-170 medicinal and aromatic plant species are native to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), most of which are still collected.
Direct exploitation and poverty of the local population has become a major threat to sustainable use of genetic resources of medicinal plants, including habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, loss of genetic diversity and lack of knowledge. There will always be some people who do not consider herbal sector as a long-term deal, but rather as a way of short-term quick profit. Collectors with a longer tradition of collecting as well as more experience before going to collect herbal raw materials in a sustainable manner. However, the difficult economic situation of collectors or different influences of the environment can lead collectors in a position to pick in an unsustainable way.
       In order to preserve the genetic resources of medicinal and aromatic plants for future generations, it is necessary to implement appropriate measures. One possible solution in the future are efforts to cultivate certain species of medicinal and aromatic plants, including conservation, in situ and ex situ conservation, and increasing the government's efforts in this regard. In this context, the role of plant gene banks have an important role as a means of preserving genetic material, in which are stored and kept ecotypes and varieties of crops and their wild relatives that are the basis of our food sources. Long-term storage ensures their availability to producers, breeders and researchers .
 
For this reason, the field expeditions are organized aimed to collecting seeds of wild medicinal and aromatic plants, which then are transported to the gene bank for the preparation and processing  according to the standard procedure.
Plant Gene Bank of the Republic of Srpska protect the vital interests of our country in the field of genetic resources, but preserves the part of the world's diversity. The adoption of the Programme for conservation of plant genetic resources of the Republic of Srpska provided a legal framework for the activities on the conservation and sustainable use of PGR, which includes work on the inventory, collection, regeneration, ex situ, in situ / on farm preservation, documentation and dissemination of information, and thus strengthen public awareness of its importance.
 

Regular members of the working group are:

Dragana Pećanac, coordinator
University of Banja Luka
051 321 173
065 686 200
nir@unibl.rs

Marina Antić, deputy
Faculty of Agriculture, University of Banja Luka
051 312 216
065 639 006
marinabl14@yahoo.com

Ivana Đukić, member
Faculty of agriculture, University of Banja Luka
051 312 216
066 886 543
ivanansbl@gmail.com

Honorary members:

Dragoja Radanović
The Institute of Medicinal Plants Research "Dr Josif Pancic"+ 381 64 867 4750
dradanovic@mocbilja.rs

Nada Šumatić
Faculty of forestry, University of Banja Luka
051 460 550
sumatic2006@yahoo.com

 

Other members:

Goran Banjac
Forestry unit Oštrelj Drinić
065 429 506
banjac.goran@yahoo.com

Brankica Bošković
Association of women Podrinje 1
065 747 307
uzpodrinje1@gmail.com

Slobodanka Čomić

Planta bella
065 577 237
plantabella@gmail.com
 

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT Medicinal and Aromatic Plants:
Sumerians were 5,000 years ago recorded medical use of several herb species. 4,000 years ago the Chinese were using medicinal properties of more than 300 plants, while the Egyptians 3,000 years ago began to use herbs for culinary purposes, but also cosmetic. The Greeks were adorned  with plants the heads of his heroes.
Many plants have long been linked to the myths, folk tales and legends. Plants are part of many stories of superstition, and each plant can bind to a human emotion. All this makes the plant very interesting.
Did you know that:
... ginkgo is best known tool for improving concentration and memory because it improves blood flow to the brain and prevents damage to the blood vessels. Can also be used in case of minor problems with memory and is ideal for students during college deadlines.
... rosemary increases alertness, reduces anxiety and calms. It is necessary that the room in which you are doing or learning climb a few drops of essential oil of rosemary in a bowl over a candle.
... the essential oil of eucalyptus is one of the strongest natural antiseptics, but also an ideal tool for removing stains from grease and sweat from various types of fabric. Some oils are dropped onto a clean cloth and clean the stain from the edge to the middle. Then, immediately wash the cloth.
... verbena tea is believed to protect humans from vampires.
...the pipe were made of the young twigs from which the core is previously taken away.
... old proverb says "teucrium grass alive the dead and make them live " which indicates how valued this herb in the nation.
... medieval manuscripts of sage say "Sage wants to make man immortal," as an old English proverb says "if you want a long life eat sage in May."

Myths and legends of medicinal herbs

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) has a very romantic but unusual story that originates from Italy. According to tradition the queen was walking in the garden, weeping and sobbing as she could not have children. She stopped next to a beautiful rosemary bush full of young shoots and flowers, and wishes that she is so prolific. After a while she gave birth to a plant, rosemary, which is worried and cherished. Trying to spite her, her cousin, King of Spain, stole the rosemary and put it in his garden watering it by goat milk. One day while playing the flute,on  the rosemary bush appeared a beautiful girl and he falls in love. The girl appeared only when he played in the vicinity of the plant. But the king would be called to war, and not wanting to get his plant something happens ordered the gardener to regularly take care of the plant and that no one is allowed to play in its vicinity. The gardener was forgotten over time royal command and one eve blew near the plant from which immediately appeared girl. This was noticed  by the Kings sister and because of jealousy of the girls beauty she kicked and shamed the girl. The girl disappeared immediately, and the plant is almost wilted.
Frightened gardener, fearing for his life, fled away from his house in the woods where he found a dragon that he has discovered that he can revive the plant if it is watered by dragon's blood. Hearing this gardener killed the dragon and took his blood which he took up and watered the plants, then plant immediately recovered. When the king returned from the war he was delighted by gardener job seeing that his plantis  healthy and nourished. The king soon married a girl from a plant that is called Rosa Marina.

The story of ivy (Hedera helix L.) goes back to the distant past, in ancient times. According to the Greeks, god Bahko had a son Kisos who died while playing with his father. Bahko tried to revivehim doing whatever he knew but for his son was no salvation. Above father broken by pain over the loss of a son the goddess of the Earth Gaja showned mercy and turned his son in the ivy that even today in Greece is called "kisos".
Another legend about the ivy stems from Celtic story. According to this legend, a beautiful girl Iesolt has been promised to handsome and brave knight Tristan. After he died, Iesolt was dying of grief for a lost love. King, who was in love with Iesolt because of jealousy on the love between the beautiful maidens and knights ordered that their graves are to be separated one from another. From every grave has grown ivy and over time they merged and formed a knot, so prolonging their eternal love. This story was immortalized by Wagner in his opera "Tristan and Isolde".

Cypress story (Cupressus sempervirens L.) dates back to ancient Greece when lived a young man named Ciprus. He had a deer and he looking after him with so much love, but by accident, accidentally stabbed him with a spear and then the deer died. Ciprus begged Apollo to let him forever moaning of his deer, after which the young man became the cypress - a symbol of grief. Precisely because of this story today cypress are planted in cemeteries across Europe, which are not only a place of mourning, but also eternal life.