Plants, food and treatments used by BaKongo tribes in Uíge (northern Angola) to affect the quality and quantity of human breast milk

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Abstract

Background: Angola has one of the highest annual under-five mortality rates in in the world and malnutrition poses a severe problem in the country. This study is the first to focus on the traditional knowledge of plants, foods, and treatments used by the local population in the province of Uíge to affect the quality and quantity of human breast milk, since decades of independence and civil war impeded ethnobotanical studies in this area. Methods: This study was conducted in eight municipalities in the province of Uíge, Northern Angola in February and March 2018. In 265 semi-structured interviews, 360 informants in 40 rural villages were asked about plants, food, and treatments used to affect the quality and quantity of human breast milk. Additionally, information on child mortality and the duration of breastfeeding were collected. Whenever possible, plant specimens were collected for later identification. To determine the local importance of the collected plants, food, and treatments, the Relative Frequency of Citations was calculated. Results: Most women reported to have no problems with their breast milk production. The duration of breastfeeding meets the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). Across all use categories, 69 plants from 36 plant families, and 21 other foods and treatments could be identified. Conclusions: The study shows an overview of a variety of plants, foods, and treatments used by mothers as galactagogues, to “clean” or to reduce their breast milk and those which they avoided to use during the lactation period. There is great potential for further research into this traditional knowledge. Also, further analysis of some of the plants could be of interest.

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APA

Jendras, G., Monizi, M., Neinhuis, C., & Lautenschläger, T. (2020). Plants, food and treatments used by BaKongo tribes in Uíge (northern Angola) to affect the quality and quantity of human breast milk. International Breastfeeding Journal, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13006-020-00329-1

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