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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: 3). 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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    • "The high number of medicinal plants obtained from the Asteraceae family may be either due to the wide range of biologically active compounds present in that family, or because it is one of the largest families in the plant kingdom (Heinrich et al., 1998; Thomas et al., 2009). It could also be attributed to the similarities of traditional knowledge on pregnancy complaints treatment with medicinal plants by people living in the study area (Telefo et al., 2011) or to the assumed efficacy of medicinal plants as reported by the informants. "
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    ABSTRACT: In Cameroon, most women use traditional medicine for the treatment of pregnancy and childbirth complaints. In order to identify some of the medicinal plants locally used to alleviate these complaints, an ethnobotanical survey was undertaken in five villages of Menoua Division (West-Cameroon). Interviews were conducted through structured questionnaires among 24 traditional healers and 179 women living either in the town of Dschang or in 4 neighboring villages. After having recorded the interviewee personal information on issues related to medicinal plants utilization, a literature investigation on their therapeutic or pharmacological effects and phytochemical composition was conducted. A total of 88 medicinal plants species used to treat 24 conditions occurring during or after pregnancy and belonging to 70 genera or 34 families were recorded. Maximum medicinal uses of plants are reported for the treatment of the following ailments: swelling of legs and ankles (23%), facilitation of delivery (22%), cleaning of the baby (12%). Most herbal remedies are prepared with the leaves (30%), leaves+stems (28%) and whole plant (23%) as maceration (76%). The majority of women who used medicinal plants were very satisfied (75 %) and it is reported that most of these plants are used in the treatment of women health conditions. Many herbal remedies used for the treatment of pregnant women׳s health conditions in Menoua division-West Cameroon have been revealed. It would therefore be judicious for our government and research institution to evaluate the therapeutic and toxicological potentials of these plants in order to valorize their use. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
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    • "Additionally, it is also likely that this outcome is related to the high number of species of the Fabaceae and Asteraceae families. According to Caballero et al. (1998) and more recently to Thomas et al. (2009), the useful species of these two families are probably more numerous than in any other botanical family. "
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    ABSTRACT: Tropical rainforests have been a valuable source of resources for human kind. However, this ecosystem is disappearing at an alarming rate, with only isolated fragments remaining in inaccessible zones and showing high probability of disappearing. The aim of this study was to identify tropical rainforest plant species with potential for human use in the central region of Veracruz, Mexico. A floristic inventory was compiled of rainforest fragments and secondary vegetation using the plotting method. The total area sampled was 5600 m2. Using the equation Clench model, the proportion of species inventoried was assessed. This was 85% (tq = 0.85) for the rainforest and 90% (tq = 0.9) for the secondary vegetation. A total of 338 species, 210 genera and 89 families were recorded. Using semistructured interviews with locals, a list of useful plants was drawn up and it was found that people recognized and used 47% of the species inventoried. Additionally, contingency tables and the Spearman correlation test were performed to determine the differences in knowledge and use of the vegetation among villages, as well as in the gender and age group of the respondents. Nevertheless, we found no significant differences (P >0.05). The use value (UV) was calculated to analyze the use of flora. in order to assess the relationship between the UV and their ecological importance, the index of adjusted ecological importance value (AEIV) was obtained. We detected that the most used species are not necessarily those of greater ecological importance. The potentially useful flora was defined based on a literature research, in situ interviews, as well as on their visual and morphological characteristics. According to the data, more than 50% of the inventoried species are potentially useful, mainly as ornamental and medicinal ones, and they provide new economic alternatives for the local people with a minimum impact on the rainforest.
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    • "where n r is the total number of citations registered for species s and n a is the number of illness categories that are treated with this species . This values ranges between zero ( when the number of illness categories equals the number of citations) and one ( where by all the participants agree upon the exclusive use of the species for the particular illness) ( Thomas et al., 2009 ) . 2 . 4 . "
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