Diversity of plants, traditional knowledge, and practices in local cosmetics: A case study from Alexandria, Egypt

Hosam O. Elansary, Eman A. Mahmoud, Shadi Shokralla, Kowiyou Yessoufou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we explored the diversity of traditional knowledge and plants that have cosmetic values in Alexandria, Egypt. Ethnobotanical data were collected from 396 local Alexandria women using semistructured interviews. Data were analyzed using informant consensus factor (FIC) and fidelity level (FL) metrics. In total, 27 plant species, belonging to 27 genera and 17 families, were identified as local cosmetic resources. Overall, 63% of these plants (17 species) are used in the form of oils, while the most frequently used organ is plant leaves (41% of all species). Rosmarinus officinalis L. and Cinnamomum verum L. have the largest number of cosmetic uses (8 uses for each). The highest FIC value was 0.98 for the hair treatment category followed by eyes (0.96), female hormones (0.96), skin (0.93), and face treatment (0.93). Plants with the highest citations in this study for hair treatment were Olea europea L. (54% of all citations) and Lawsonia inermis L. (48%of citations). The most important species according to their fidelity level were Lawsonia inermis L. (FL = 87%) and Eruca sativa L. (FL = 84%) in hair treatments, Linum usitatissimum L. (FL = 83%) as a source of female hormones, Avena sativa L. (FL = 63%) for beautification of women's faces, and Jasminum grandiflorum L. (FL = 46%) for skin treatments. Demographic factors such as education and age play a significant role in the use of herbal remedies. The study reveals the importance of plants in the local cosmetic industry. The high fidelity score and informant consensus factor suggests that traditional knowledge could potentially guide the search for modern cosmetic products.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA005
Pages (from-to)114-126
Number of pages13
JournalEconomic Botany
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmetics
  • Ethnobotany
  • Ethnomedicinal plants
  • Fidelity level
  • Informant consensus factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


Dive into the research topics of 'Diversity of plants, traditional knowledge, and practices in local cosmetics: A case study from Alexandria, Egypt'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this