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Cultural significance of medicinal plant families and species among Quechua farmers in Apillapampa, Bolivia.

Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture and Ethnobotany, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.94). 02/2009; 122(1):60-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.11.021
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Medicinal plant use was investigated in Apillapampa, a community of subsistence farmers located in the semi-arid Bolivian Andes.
The main objectives were to identify the culturally most significant medicinal plant families and species in Apillapampa.
A total of 341 medicinal plant species was inventoried during guided fieldtrips and transect sampling. Data on medicinal uses were obtained from fifteen local Quechua participants, eight of them being traditional healers.
Contingency table and binomial analyses of medicinal plants used versus the total number of inventoried species per family showed that Solanaceae is significantly overused in traditional medicine, whereas Poaceae is underused. Also plants with a shrubby habitat are significantly overrepresented in the medicinal plant inventory, which most likely relates to their year-round availability to people as compared to most annual plants that disappear in the dry season. Our ranking of medicinal species according to cultural importance is based upon the Quality Use Agreement Value (QUAV) index we developed. This index takes into account (1) the average number of medicinal uses reported for each plant species by participants; (2) the perceived quality of those medicinal uses; and (3) participant consensus.
According to the results, the QUAV index provides an easily derived and valid appraisal of a medicinal plant's cultural significance.

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    Continuity and Change in Cultural Mountain Adaptations: From Prehistory to Contemporary Threats, Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation edited by Lozny L, 01/2013: chapter Medicinal plant use as an adaptive strategy in the Bolivian Andes: evidence from the Quechua community of Apillapampa: pages 275-302; Springer.