Anely Nedelcheva



Anely Nedelcheva

Personal information

First name / Surname: Anely Nedelcheva

Address (work):
Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy,
University of Sofia “St Kliment Ohridski”,
1, James Bourchier blvd.,1164 Sofia,

Telephone: (+359 2) 81 61 499 (work)
Fax: (+359 2) 962 54 38 (work),

Author ID (SCOPUS): 16646893700 
Research ID (Web of Science)C-8537-2018 
ORCID ID0000-0002-1945-9546

 Professional experience

University of Sofia “St. Kl. Ohridski”
2018 – till now, Professor in Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
2012 – 2018, Associate Professor in Botany / Higher plants
2004 – 2012, Head Assistant Professor in Botany / Higher plants
1998 – 2004, Senior Assistant Professor in Botany / Higher plants
1997 – 1998, Assistant Professor in Botany / Higher plants
1997 – 1998, Assistant Professor in Botany / Higher plants
2013 – 2015, Assistant Professor at University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski”
1995 – 1996, Botanist, Botanical Gardens, University of Sofia

Main activities and responsibilities: • Lecturer in “Pharmacognosy” (since 2014) • Lecturer in “Pharmaceutical Botany” (since 2013) • Lecturer in “Technology in herb production” (since 2010) • Lecturer in “Ethnobotany” (since 2008) • Lecturer in “Medicinal plants” (since 2004) • Conductor of practical lectures and seminars in “Systematic of Higher Plants” (since 1998) • Conductor of summer field trainings in “Pharmaceutical Botany” and “Pharmacognosy”  (since 2013) Supervisor of Ms and Bs students • Biosystematic investigations of genus Achillea L., sect. Filipendulinae (DC.) Afan. (Asteraceae) in Bulgaria.


1993 – 1997, Graduated in 1998 as Philosophy Doctor (PhD) from University of Sofia “St. Kl. Ohridski”
Title of Thesis: Biosystematic investigations of genus Achillea L., sect. Filipendulinae (DC.) Afan. (Asteraceae) in Bulgaria.  Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Stefka Ivancheva, Assoc. Prof. Jordanka Koeva Principal subjects/occupational skills covered: • Taxonomy and chemotaxonomy in Compositae • Karyosystematic studies • Isolation, purification and characterisation of flavonoid compounds • Phylogenetical analysis

1984 – 1989, Graduated in 1989 as Master of Science from University of Sofia “St. Kl. Ohridski”. Master’s program: Botany (Medicinal plants)
Title of Diploma Thesis: Flavonoid content in herbal drug Stipites cerasorum. Supervisor: Prof. Dr.  Ivan  Assenov, D.Sc.

Scientific interests

Botany • Medicinal plants • Pharmacognosy • Herbal substances identification • Herbal Supplements Design • Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products • Ethnobotany • Traditional knowledge in Plants and People interactions • Microscopy methods

Personal skills and competences

Organisational skills and competences: • Member of General Assembly of Sofia University •  Member of the Faculty  of Biology Council  •  Member of Pharmacognosy Expert Group to National Pharmacopoeia Commission / Ministry of Health • Member of Balkan Ecology Center / University Botanical Gardens • Associated Editor of International Scientific Journal “EurAsian Journal of BioSciences” •  Secretary of Master Program  Botany (Higher plants)

Computer skills and competences: Word Processing, Graphics, Multi-media, Internet, Spreadsheets, Databases

Outdoor activities and hobbies: traveling • photography • plant based traditional handicrafts


J. Ethnobiol. Ethnomed. (2015) 11:26

Of the importance of a leaf: the ethnobotany of sarma in Turkey and the Balkans
Background: Sarma - cooked leaves rolled around a filling made from rice and/or minced meat, possiblyvegetables and seasoning plants – represents one of the most widespread feasting dishes of the Middle Easternand South-Eastern European cuisines. Although cabbage and grape vine sarma is well-known worldwide, the use ofalternative plant leaves remains largely unexplored. The aim of this research was to document all of the botanicaltaxa whose leaves are used for preparing sarma in the folk cuisines of Turkey and the Balkans. Methods: Field studies were conducted during broader ethnobotanical surveys, as well as during ad-hocinvestigations between the years 2011 and 2014 that included diverse rural communities in Croatia, Bosnia andHerzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey. Primary ethnobotanical andfolkloric literatures in each country were also considered. Results: Eighty-seven botanical taxa, mainly wild, belonging to 50 genera and 27 families, were found to representthe bio-cultural heritage of sarma in Turkey and the Balkans. The greatest plant biodiversity in sarma was found inTurkey and, to less extent, in Bulgaria and Romania. The most commonly used leaves for preparing sarma were those of cabbage (both fresh and lacto-fermented),grape vine, beet, dock, sorrel, horseradish, lime tree, bean, and spinach. In a few cases, the leaves of endemicspecies (Centaurea haradjianii, Rumex gracilescens, and R. olympicus in Turkey) were recorded.Other uncommon sarma preparations were based on lightly toxic taxa, such as potato leaves in NE Albania, leavesof Arum, Convolvulus, and Smilax species in Turkey, of Phytolacca americana in Macedonia, and of Tussilago farfarain diverse countries. Moreover, the use of leaves of the introduced species Reynoutria japonica in Romania, Colocasia esculenta in Turkey, and Phytolacca americana in Macedonia shows the dynamic nature of folk cuisines. Conclusion: The rich ethnobotanical diversity of sarma confirms the urgent need to record folk culinary plant knowledge. The results presented here can be implemented into initiatives aimed at re-evaluating folk cuisines andniche food markets based on local neglected ingredients, and possibly also to foster trajectories of the avant-gardecuisines inspired by ethnobotanical knowledge.

J. Ethnopharmacol. 170 (2015) 284–296

An ethnobotanical perspective on traditional fermented plant foods and beverages in Eastern Europе
Ethnopharmacological relevance: Fermented food and beverages represent an important part of the worldwide foodscape, medicinal food domain and domestic strategies of health care, yet relevant traditional knowledge in Europe is poorly documented. Methods: Review of primary ethnographic literature, archival sources and a few ad-hoc ethnobotanical field studies in seven selected Eastern European countries (Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, and Poland) were conducted. Results: Current or recently abandoned uses of 116 botanical taxa, belonging to 37 families in fermented food or medicinal food products were recorded. These findings demonstrate a rich bio-cultural diversity of use, and also a clear prevalence of the use of fruits of the tannin- and phenolic-rich Rosaceae species in alcoholic, lactic- and acetic acid fermented preparations. In the considered countries, fermentation still plays (or has played until recent years) a crucial role in folk cuisines and this heritage requires urgent and in-depth evaluation. Discussion: Future studies should be aimed at further documenting and also bio-evaluating the ingredients and processes involved in the preparation of homemade fermented products, as this can be used to support local, community-based development efforts to foster food security, food sovereignty, and small-scale local food-based economies.

Genet. Resour. Crop. Evol. 62 (2015) 605–620

Local knowledge of medicinal plants and wild food plants among Tatars and Romanians in Dobruja (South-East Romania)
Ethnobiological studies in South-Eastern Europe are gaining the interest of scholars and stakeholders, given that they are increasingly considered crucial for the evaluation and valorisation of local bio-cultural heritage. An ethnobotanical survey focusing on local wild food and wild and non-wild medicinal plant uses was conducted in six villages of Dobruja, Eastern Romania, among 44 elderly participants belonging to Tatar and Romanian communities. We recorded and identified 77 plant taxa, corresponding to 93 plant (use) reports. Only approximately half of the plants and one-third of the plant reports were common to both Tatars and Romanians. This demonstrates that the ethnobotanies of the two communities have remained somewhat different, despite the common history that these communities have shared over many centuries within the same social and environmental space. This finding can be explained by their different religious affiliations (Romanians are Orthodox, while Tatars are Muslims), which has limited intermarriages and relevant exchanges of knowledge, practices, and beliefs related to plants. In particular, nettle (Urtica dioica) is quite commonly used for food by Romanians, but is ignored by Tatars. Our study may be of interest to rural development programs aimed at fostering community-based management strategies of natural resources, as well as ecological and gastronomic tourism.

in - Ethnobotany and Biocultural Diversities in the Balkans, 2014, pp. 45–65

Bulgarian medicinal ethnobotany: the power of plants in pragmatic and poetic frames
Medical folk botany is a unique manifestation of folk knowledge, the basis of which is the natural human instinct for survival. This traditional knowledge is maintained and developed in support of the ancient right of every person for just existence without pain and suffering. These processes arise and develop within the spatio-cultural and historical scope of society. Medical ethnobotany is a dynamic system, developing in different directions and at a different pace, but always revolving around man’s knowledge of their own body and the surrounding nature. Plants are the closest and most natural environment for the existence of man and an essential part of his/her way of life. They are a main element of the beliefs, methods and institutions for diagnosis and treatment of diseases and their prevention. Because of this, folk botanical knowledge has an important role in every ethnomedicine. Bulgarian medical ethnobotany is a result of the development of archaic thinking and people’s consciousness. It precedes contemporary medicine and continues to exist alongside it as a separate area in traditional knowledge and culture. This peculiar symbiosis is part of the image of Bulgarian people and a natural source of self-knowledge and perfection in the pursuit of healthy and respecting nature lifestyle. It is also at the basis of contemporary Bulgarian complementary and alternative medicine. It is a duty, honour and pleasure for this generation to work toward revealing the uniqueness of this phenomenon through scientific methods and techniques based on critical analysis of the famous old manuscripts, documentary sources and artifacts together with fieldwork (collecting information from the population) in regions with preserved traditions in using plants as a curative method.

Eurasia. J. Biosci. 7 (2013) 77–94

An ethnobotanical study of wild edible plants in Bulgaria
Background: This study focuses on the wild vascular plants traditionally used for human consumption in Bulgaria and its aim is to present data about the richness and diversity of plants used as a nutrition source, about folk botanical knowledge and to give an impression about their contemporary state and development in relation to natural plant resources and traditional food culture. The study covers the period from the end of 19th to the middle of the 20th century. Material and Methods: The study gathered data from more than 30 ethnobotanical and ethnographical sources which provide information for the end of 19th to the middle of the 20th century, in addition to field data collected through semi-structured interviews. Results: A total of 88 wild plant species, 25 families and 52 genera were identified as edible plants. Prevailing are representatives of Rosaceae, Amaranthaceae, Amaryllidaceae, Brassicaceae, Compositae and Polygonaceae. The largest numbers of species are from Allium, Rumex and Chenopodium. Similar in number are the species which are used as leaves (43) and fruits (38), followed by young shoots (9), seeds (7), roots (4), bulbs (4) and inflorescences (2). The largest group is from plants whose aboveground parts are gathered mainly during the spring and used as vegetables. Important species are Urtica dioica, Rumex acetosa, Rumex patientia, Chenopodium album, Atriplex prostrata and Amaranthus retroflexus. The fruits are mostly gathered from Rosaceae, Adoxaceae, Ericaceae and Vitaceae shrubs and trees. The study determined eight major food groups: fresh greens and fruits, stuffed pies, stewed and boiled greens, boiled cereals, sweets (boiled fruit products), dried fruits, snacks and lacto-fermented products. The predominant taste is salty-sour-spicy. Some of wild foods are also used for medicinal purposes and included in preventing or healing diets. Conclusions: Today’s traditional diet is very different from the past. Bulgaria provides a good opportunity for ethnobotanical research into wild edible plants as there is much ethnographic data available, including food culture and botanical observations, as well as the possibility of field study in rural areas where wild food plants are traditionally used on a daily basis.