Ethnomedicinal practices and medicinal plant knowledge of the Yuracar??s and Trinitarios from Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro-S??cure, Bolivian Amazon

  • Thomas E
  • Semo L
  • Morales M
 et al. 
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Abstract

Aim of the study: We investigated the ethnomedical practices and knowledge of medicinal plant and fungus species of contemporary Yuracar?? and Trinitario ethnic groups from Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro-S??cure (TIPNIS), located in the Bolivian Amazon region. Our aim was to identify the culturally most significant medicinal plant families, growth forms and species, as well as to assess the current state of knowledge regarding the bioactivity of the most important species, based on available literature data. Materials and methods: Medicinal plant and fungus species were inventoried during homegarden and swidden sampling, walk-in-the-woods and transect sampling. Data on medicinal uses were obtained from 12 Yuracar?? and 14 Trinitario participants. Results: We commence by providing a brief overview of Yuracar?? and Trinitario ethnomedical systems, highlighting the important shamanistic component of particularly Trinitario traditional medicine. The rest of the paper is dedicated to an analysis and discussion based on the 349 inventoried medicinal plant and fungus species. Contingency table and binomial analyses of medicinal plants used versus the total number of inventoried species per family showed that several plant families are significantly over (Piperaceae, Araceae, Solanaceae, Asteraceae and Siparunaceae) and underused (Chrysobalanaceae, Sapotaceae, Lauraceae, Celastraceae and Annonaceae) in traditional medicine in TIPNIS. Also herbaceous plants are significantly overrepresented in the medicinal plant inventory, which is in line with relevant literature. Our ranking of medicinal species according to cultural significance is based on the Quality Use Agreement Value (QUAV) index we developed and presented in a previous paper. Results indicate that the QUAV index's property to mainly select species that combine multiple ethnomedical uses with high informant consensus, justifies its use as a measure of cultural significance of medicinal plants in TIPNIS. Results of a literature search suggest, on the other hand, that the QUAV s score of a species could also be indicative of its bioactivity. Conclusions: In addition to the QUAV index's value as a tool for assessing the cultural significance of medicinal species, it might also be useful to identify species with a higher likeliness of being bioactive. ?? 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cultural importance indices
  • Emic perception of efficacy
  • Informant consensus
  • Quantitative ethnobotany
  • Traditional medicine
  • Use quality

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