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Bosnians Working the Fields

Overlooking the town of Novi Travnik, Bosnia, this couple works hard on the land. The Woman is known for her butter and milk. Many of the townspeople go to her for their fresh diary products.

Bosnian Plant Survey

Blood & Honey Icons: Bisemiotics book is filled with bioculinary wisdom from South Slavic women war crimes and war survivors.

Categorized in these topics: Bioculinary Hunger Women in Collaboration


“War took a big place for using the plants, because we almost couldn’t reach a doctor at all. Plants and just the plants kept me alive.”

“I’m glad you asked us these questions because we’re really educated about healing plants. Believe me, every family in Bosnia uses them.”

“I would always accept doctor’s advice, but I wouldn’t always take the medicines they prescribe me.”

“I couldn’t pick any herbs during the war because I was afraid of mines.”

“When people were using plants in healing, they were healthier.”

“It’s important to be persistent and patient and the results after natural healing are better than in modern medicine, because in my opinion, even modern technology uses plants.”

“I’ve had the knowledge about plants for so long that I can’t remember since when. I’ve learned about it from my mother. She has learned about it from her mother, and that’s the way our knowledge was transmitted.”

“There was no thought about plants, to heal such simple things. It was just important to stay alive or not.”

“I was forced to use herbs during the war, because all medicines which we got as a humanitarian aid were too old.”

“I would like to know more about herbs from your country. I would like to have a book or something about it.”

“Since a long time ago, our mothers and grandmothers have used herbs and I’ve learned from them.”

“I learned about herbs from my mother by walking through the forests and meadows.”

“I have children but I didn’t teach them about plants so much. They’re not so interested because they are young; they don’t have much time and they’re interested in something else.”

“I would not wait for the winter without plants. I dry them and I use them as a tea.”

“Mother taught us some things about plants. She prepared teas and explained to us some of their qualities.”



Out of 22 surveys, 21 were returned completed.

Average number of plants cited by women: 7.14

Largest number of plants cited: 21

Smallest number of plants cited: 2



Herbs most frequently used and times cited:



mint
Mentha sp.
Lamiaceae
18

chamomile
Anthemis sp.
Asteraceae
13

thyme
Thymus sp.
Lamiaceae
11

savory
Satureja sp.
Lamiaceae
8

plantain
Plantago sp.
Plantaginaceae
7

sage
Artemesia sp.
Asteraceae
7

elder
Sambucus sp.
Caprifoliaceae
6

marigold

Asteraceae
6

mallow
Malva sp.
Malvaceae
5

Klamath weed
Hypericum perforatum
Hypericaceae
4

stinging nettle
Urtica sp.
Urticaceae
3

horsetail
Equisetum sp.
Equisetaceae
3

coltsfoot
Petasites sp.
Asteraceae
2

beetroot

Chenopodiaceae
2

Hawthorn berry
Crataegus sp.
Rosaceae
2

garlic
Allium sp.
Liliaceae
2

celery


2

carrot
Daucus sp.
Apiaceae
2

juniper berry
Juniperus sp.
Cupressaceae
2

gentian
Gentiana sp.
Gentianaceae
2

dogrose berries


2

‘verem’


1

apple vinegar


1

honey


1

rosemary


1

olive leaves


1

chestnut


1

walnut leaves


1

pine needles
Pinus sp.
Pinaceae
1

white mallow
Malva sp.
Malvaceae
1

birch tree
Betula sp.
Betulaceae
1

Hawthorn flower
Crataegus sp.
Rosaceae
1

absinthe
Artemesia sp.
Asteraceae
1

rue


1

‘macis’


1

parsley

Apiaceae
1

anise


1

grape hyacinth


1

linden


1

honey


1

hibiscus

Asteraceae
1

blackthorn
Prunus spinosa
Rosaceae
1

quince’s leaves


1




Question #3. If you are familiar with the plants, how did you learn about them?



Mothers and grandmothers
16

Books
4

Parents
3

Friends
2

More experienced persons
1

School
1

Mountaineering
1

Elder women
1

Self taught
1




Question #5. In your opinion, how familiar are the men in your family with the plants?



Very little
7

Less than women
6

Rather good
2

A few
1

Not many are interested
1

Men are not given the knowledge
1

I taught them some things
1

They learned from watching me
1

Husband knows a lot, we grow herbs and food together
1

Around 30%
1

They don’t know anything
1

They rely on modern medicine
1

Enough
1

Better than me
1

There are some men who know a lot
1




Question #9. If you have children, how much of your plant knowledge have you shared with them?



I teach them a lot
9

I teach them a little
8

No children
1

They know as much as I do
1

I taught them a lot but they teach me too
1

Too young
1

About 30%
1




Question #10. What is your children’s interest level with learning about the plants?



Not interested
9

Good
4

Very interested
4

They learned when they were young
1

I keep them motivated
1

They trust in modern medicine
1

They feel healthy and think it’s not necessary
1




Question #11. In your opinion, do herbal remedies or modern science produce better results?



Natural
8

Plants are healthier/slower but safer
2

Depends on illness
3

Modern medicine
3

When people used plants they were healthier
3

Both can work
2

Modern medicine helps immediately but has side effects
2

I appreciate modern technology but still rely on plants
1

When combined they work best
1

Herbs don’t heal but can prevent diseases
1

Modern technology surpasses plants
1

Patience and persistence help plants efficacy
1

Modern technology is derived from plants
1

I accept doctor’s advice but do not always take medicine
1

Recommend using plants as much as possible
1

Herbs helped me a lot with female problems
1

I could not live without plants
1




Question #12. How did the war affect your use of plants?



A lot
8

A lot because we didn’t have medicine/doctors
3

Increased the need for healing and eating
1

Used more often because of war
1

Changed eating habits
1

Because of the plants we survived the war
1

No thought about plants; staying alive more important
1

Not at all
1

Used herbs the same
1

Couldn’t pick herbs because of landmines
1

War restricted use of plants
1

Not so much
1





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