Shamanism or science? (1/227)

The interconnection of the three organismic levels, metabolism, morphology, and biogeography, can now be amplified into a multipart architecture, introducing plant bioactivity through ethnobotany-oriented descriptions. Only via such an integrative model, the diverse organismic levels can be connected within a more holistic, realistic scheme. Construction of qualitative and quantitative models via evolutionarily conceived implantation into dahlgrenograms and Sporne indices, allows ethnobotany to acquire predictive validity. The coherence of such systems was demonstrated by comparison of the vast ethnobotanical Brazilian database by Pio Correa with relatively very minute databases referring to three Amazonian Indian societies.  (+info)

Use of medicinal plants and pharmaceuticals by indigenous communities in the Bolivian Andes and Amazon. (2/227)

OBJECTIVE: To investigate, by means of household surveys, the use of medicinal plants and pharmaceuticals in Apillapampa, a large Andean community of Quechua peasants, and in six small communities of Yuracare-Trinitario "slash-and-burn" cultivators of the National Park Isiboro-Secure (the NPIS) in the Bolivian Amazon. METHODS: A total of 12% of households in Apillapampa and nearly all households in the NPIS were interviewed about their use of medicinal plants and pharmaceuticals for treating illnesses. Informants were also asked to name any medicinal plants they knew. FINDINGS: In spite of the presence of a primary health care service (PHC) with medical doctor in Apillapampa, an equal number of informants used medicinal plants and pharmaceuticals. In the NPIS, the prevalent use of medicinal plants or pharmaceuticals in any community depended on the distance of the community from the nearest village and from a PHC with medical doctor (r = 0.85 and r = -0.96; both P = 0.05. The NPIS communities' knowledge of plants expressed as the average number of medicinal plants mentioned correlated positively and negatively with distance from the nearest village and use of pharmaceuticals, respectively (r= 0.95, P < 0.005 and r = -0.90, P < 0.05, respectively). CONCLUSION: The cultural importance of traditional medicine and the physical isolation of communities, both in general and from PHCs, are factors that influence the use of and knowledge about medicinal plants.  (+info)

The ethnobotanical study of local Mediterranean food plants as medicinal resources in Southern Spain. (3/227)

We studied medicinal and food plant species, recording an extraordinary number of species and uses in Castilla-La Mancha, Murcia and Valencia in Spain. Focusing on two demographically distinct regions - Castilla-La Mancha and Lower Segura Valley. A high proportion of the flora (20 to 30 %) is known for its medicinal properties, and, interestingly, a high number of medicinal-food plants (5 to 7 %) is recorded. The concept of "Local Food" involves the whole repertory of species that characterises the local diet (incl. local cultivars and non-cultivated gathered food plants). The number of food plant species varies between 15 and 25 % of the vascular flora, and for the gathered food plants (GFP) this decreases to a 3 to 8 %. Those GFP that are also used for medicinal purposes are only 2 to 4 % of the total vascular flora. The relevant plant families are very similar in relative numbers along the different areas: Compositae, Rosaceae and Umbelliferae, followed of Boraginaceae, Liliaceae, Cruciferae, and Caryophyllaceae. Chenopodiaceae, Polygonaceae and Gramineae are less uniformly represented or in lesser numbers. The high species diversity does not imply a general dietary relevance of this particular plant family. For instance Caryophyllaceae with a relatively low number of species comprises the "collejas" (Silene vulgaris) that have shown to be the more widely consumed species. Information regarding 145 species has been recorded. Among the Gathered Food Plant Species 81 are used in medicine, in double proportion than the cultivated food plants. 61 are orally administered, in the same form as food.  (+info)

Traditional herbal remedies used in the management of sexual impotence and erectile dysfunction in western Uganda. (4/227)

BACKGROUND: The utilisation of ethnobotanical indigenous knowledge is vital in male sexual reproductive health care delivery in western Uganda. Reproductive health care is the second most prevalent health care problem in Africa. However, this concept of reproductive health care has been focusing mainly on women disregarding men. Thus, some diseases such as sexual impotence and erectile dysfunction that deserve mention are regarded as petty though important in economic productivity, family stability and sexually transmitted diseases control including HIV/AIDS. OBJECTIVE: This study was carried out mainly to document medicinal plants used in the treatment of sexual impotence and erectile dysfunction disorders in western Uganda. METHODS: The medical ethnobotanical indigenous knowledge were collected by visiting traditional healers and documenting the medicinal plants used and other socio-cultural aspects allied with sexual impotence and erectile dysfunction. The methods used to collect the relevant information regarding the medicinal plants used included informal and formal discussions, field visits and focused semi-structured interviews. RESULTS: Thirty-three medicinal plants used in the management of sexual impotence and erectile dysfunction were documented and Citropsis articulata and Cola acuminata were among the highly utilized medicinal plants. CONCLUSION: From the researchers' point of view, the usage of herbal remedies in managing male sexual disorders is useful because of long cultural history of utilisation and the current renewed interest in natural products to sustain health globally. As a way recognising the values and roles of traditional medical knowledge in health care provision, further research into the efficacy and safety of herbal remedies in male sexual disorders is precious in Uganda and beyond. More so, the establishment of rapport between relevant government department in Ministry of Health, modern health workers through collaborative and networking ventures with traditional healers under close supervision and monitoring of herbal treatments is noble.  (+info)

Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by the Jah Hut peoples in Malaysia. (5/227)

CONTEXT: An ethnobotanical study was carried out among the Jah Hut people who live in the central part of peninsular Malaysia. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The information on the medicinal plants was obtained from interview with a traditional medicinal man. The traditional uses and remedies were documented. The literature searches were carried out for the evaluation on the current status of investigations on these plants. RESULTS: In this study, we present 16 species of plants, which are commonly used among the Jah Hut people to cure some common diseases. DISCUSSION: This study is important to preserve the knowledge of medicinal plants used by Jah Hut people. The surveys of phytopharmacological literatures of these plants have great pharmacological and ethnobotanical significance.  (+info)

An exploratory ethnobotanical study of the practice of herbal medicine by the Akan peoples of Ghana. (6/227)

This exploratory ethnobotanical study took place in Kumasi, the capital city of the Asante, one of the Akan tribes. Data was collected using the multi-method approach of descriptive review, semi-structured interviews with traditional medical practitioners, and brief scientific review. Traditional Akan medicine is holistic and does not separate the physical world from the supernatural world. It is deeply rooted in traditional religion, with illness seen as a departure from the natural equilibrium. Traditional healers are either spiritually based or non-spiritually based. This study found the traditional knowledge of healing and use of medicinal plants is disseminated through generations by family members. However, the acquisition of academic qualifications is now a priority, and formal training is taking place in the workplace and a university. Techniques used in diagnosis and treatment consist of a fusion of traditional and biomedical methods. Treatment of hypertension was used as an example, with all practitioners recognizing hypertension's clinical signs and symptoms. Medicinal plants are predominantly wildcrafted and dispensed mainly by decoction, although prepared formulas are given. To prevent self-medication, patients are seen frequently. Scientific evidence validates the pharmacological actions of the medicinal plants. Public health care in Ghana is accessed by a cash and carry system that is only available to those who can afford it. Approximately 75 percent of the population depends on traditional medicine for primary health care. A national health insurance scheme was introduced in 2004, and it has been proposed that traditional medicine will be integrated into this new system.  (+info)

Herbs as a food and medicine source in Palestine. (7/227)

This article describes the broad ethno-botany and folk medicine in Palestine. It presents examples of different edible plants and their use by Palestinians in a host of manners, fresh, cooked and dried, both as foodstuffs and treatment of diseases and medical disorders. Their potential application as cancer chemopreventive agents needs to be a focus of research attention.  (+info)

Agricultural, domestic and handicraft folk uses of plants in the Tyrrhenian sector of Basilicata (Italy). (8/227)

BACKGROUND: Research was carried out into agricultural and domestic-handicraft uses in folk traditions in the Tyrrhenian sector of the Basilicata region (southern Italy), as it is typically representative of ethnobotanical applications in the Mediterranean area. From the point of view of furnishing a botanical support for the study of local "material culture" data was collected through field interviews of 49 informants, most of whom were farmers. RESULTS: The taxa cited are 60, belonging to 32 botanical families, of which 18 are employed for agricultural uses and 51 for domestic-handicraft folk uses. Data show a diffuse use of plants for many purposes, both in agricultural (present uses 14%; past uses 1%) and for domestic-handicraft use (present uses 40%; past uses 45%); most of the latter are now in decline. CONCLUSION: 60 data look uncommon or typical of the places studied. Some domestic-handicraft folk uses are typical of southern Italy (e.g. the use of Ampelodesmos mauritanicus for making ties, ropes, torches, baskets or that of Acer neapolitanum for several uses). Other uses (e.g. that of Inula viscosa and Calamintha nepeta for peculiar brooms, and of Origanum heracleoticum for dyeing wool red) are previously unpublished.  (+info)