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Shadows of the colonial past--diverging plant use in Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador.

Bussmann RW, Sharon D - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2009)

Bottom Line: Most of the plants used (83%) were native to Peru and Ecuador.The most common applications included the ingestion of herb decoctions or the application of plant material as poultices.Although about 50% of the plants in use in the colonial period have disappeared from the popular pharmacopoeia, the overall number of plant species used medicinally has increased in Northern Peru, while Southern Ecuador shows a decline of plant knowledge since colonial times.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: William L, Brown Center, Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299, USA. rainer.bussmann@mobot.org

ABSTRACT
This paper examines the traditional use of medicinal plants in Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador, with special focus on the Departments of Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Cajamarca, and San Martin, and in Loja province, with special focus on the development since the early colonial period. Northern Peru represents the locus of the old Central Andean "Health Axis." The roots of traditional healing practices in this region go as far back as the Cupisnique culture early in the first millennium BC. Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador share the same cultural context and flora but show striking differences in plant use and traditional knowledge. Two hundred fifteen plant species used for medicinal purposes in Ecuador and 510 plant species used for medicinal purposes in Peru were collected, identified,. and their vernacular names, traditional uses, and applications recorded. This number of species indicates that the healers, market vendors, and members of the public interviewed in Peru still have a very high knowledge of plants in their surroundings, which can be seen as a reflection of the knowledge of the population in general. In Ecuador much of the original plant knowledge has already been lost. In Peru, 433 (85%) were Dicotyledons, 46 (9%) Monocotyledons, 21 (4%) Pteridophytes, and 5 (1%) Gymnosperms. Three species of Giartina (Algae) and one species of the Lichen genus Siphula were used. The families best represented were Asteraceae with 69 species, Fabaceae (35), Lamiaceae (25), and Solanaceae (21). Euphorbiaceae had 12 species, and Poaceae and Apiaceae each accounted for 11 species. In Ecuador the families best represented were Asteraceae (32 species), Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, and Solanaceae (11 species each), and Apiaceae, Fabaceae, Lycopodiaceae (9 species each). One hundred eighty-two (85%) of the species used were Dicotyledons, 20 Monocotyledons (9.3%), 12 ferns (5.5%), and one unidentified lichen was used. Most of the plants used (83%) were native to Peru and Ecuador. Fresh plants, often collected wild, were used in two thirds of all cases in Peru, but in almost 95% of the cases in Ecuador. The most common applications included the ingestion of herb decoctions or the application of plant material as poultices. Although about 50% of the plants in use in the colonial period have disappeared from the popular pharmacopoeia, the overall number of plant species used medicinally has increased in Northern Peru, while Southern Ecuador shows a decline of plant knowledge since colonial times.

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Change in plant portfolio from colonial times to 2008.
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Figure 13: Change in plant portfolio from colonial times to 2008.

Mentions: The differences in medicinal plant use between Southern Ecuador and Northern Peru are striking. Both regions share the same cultural background and have a very similar flora, with a comparable number of plant species that to a large extent overlap. However, the medicinal flora of Southern Ecuador includes only 40% of the species used in Northern Peru. The differences in traditional medicinal use can be explained by comparing the history of the pharmacopoeiae of both areas from the start of the colonial period until today. Colonial chroniclers often included detailed descriptions of useful plants in their reports. The most comprehensive early accounts of the economically interesting flora of Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador were provided by Monardes [12], Acosta [7], and Cobo [9,10]. Later treatments were included in Alcedo [8]. Martínez Compañon, Archbishop of Trujillo, had a complete inventory of his dioceses prepared [11]. Finally, Ruiz and Pavón provided the first real botanical inventory of the region [13]. The account of Martínez Compañon [11] provides the best baseline for a comparison of the colonial and modern medicinal flora of the region. The work includes detailed paintings for every species, which allows a close comparison with the modern medicinal flora, indicating that the vernacular names of useful plants have not changed significantly since colonial times (Fig. 11). It contains 526 useful plant species. A preliminary review of this work seems to indicate that the number of plants used has not changed significantly since the late 1700's, with over 500 plant species still found in modern Peruvian markets (Fig. 12). A closer comparison shows, however, that only 41% of the species mentioned by Martinez Compañon [11] are still sold nowadays in Peru. An additional 32% are still used in the Amazon basin, but do not reach the coastal markets anymore. Twenty-seven percent have completely disappeared from modern day use. This means that 58% of the species sold in Peruvian markets and 41% of the species used in Ecuador were added to the pharmacopoeia within the last 200 years (Fig. 13).


Shadows of the colonial past--diverging plant use in Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador.

Bussmann RW, Sharon D - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2009)

Change in plant portfolio from colonial times to 2008.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2655273&req=5

Figure 13: Change in plant portfolio from colonial times to 2008.
Mentions: The differences in medicinal plant use between Southern Ecuador and Northern Peru are striking. Both regions share the same cultural background and have a very similar flora, with a comparable number of plant species that to a large extent overlap. However, the medicinal flora of Southern Ecuador includes only 40% of the species used in Northern Peru. The differences in traditional medicinal use can be explained by comparing the history of the pharmacopoeiae of both areas from the start of the colonial period until today. Colonial chroniclers often included detailed descriptions of useful plants in their reports. The most comprehensive early accounts of the economically interesting flora of Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador were provided by Monardes [12], Acosta [7], and Cobo [9,10]. Later treatments were included in Alcedo [8]. Martínez Compañon, Archbishop of Trujillo, had a complete inventory of his dioceses prepared [11]. Finally, Ruiz and Pavón provided the first real botanical inventory of the region [13]. The account of Martínez Compañon [11] provides the best baseline for a comparison of the colonial and modern medicinal flora of the region. The work includes detailed paintings for every species, which allows a close comparison with the modern medicinal flora, indicating that the vernacular names of useful plants have not changed significantly since colonial times (Fig. 11). It contains 526 useful plant species. A preliminary review of this work seems to indicate that the number of plants used has not changed significantly since the late 1700's, with over 500 plant species still found in modern Peruvian markets (Fig. 12). A closer comparison shows, however, that only 41% of the species mentioned by Martinez Compañon [11] are still sold nowadays in Peru. An additional 32% are still used in the Amazon basin, but do not reach the coastal markets anymore. Twenty-seven percent have completely disappeared from modern day use. This means that 58% of the species sold in Peruvian markets and 41% of the species used in Ecuador were added to the pharmacopoeia within the last 200 years (Fig. 13).

Bottom Line: Most of the plants used (83%) were native to Peru and Ecuador.The most common applications included the ingestion of herb decoctions or the application of plant material as poultices.Although about 50% of the plants in use in the colonial period have disappeared from the popular pharmacopoeia, the overall number of plant species used medicinally has increased in Northern Peru, while Southern Ecuador shows a decline of plant knowledge since colonial times.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: William L, Brown Center, Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299, USA. rainer.bussmann@mobot.org

ABSTRACT
This paper examines the traditional use of medicinal plants in Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador, with special focus on the Departments of Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Cajamarca, and San Martin, and in Loja province, with special focus on the development since the early colonial period. Northern Peru represents the locus of the old Central Andean "Health Axis." The roots of traditional healing practices in this region go as far back as the Cupisnique culture early in the first millennium BC. Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador share the same cultural context and flora but show striking differences in plant use and traditional knowledge. Two hundred fifteen plant species used for medicinal purposes in Ecuador and 510 plant species used for medicinal purposes in Peru were collected, identified,. and their vernacular names, traditional uses, and applications recorded. This number of species indicates that the healers, market vendors, and members of the public interviewed in Peru still have a very high knowledge of plants in their surroundings, which can be seen as a reflection of the knowledge of the population in general. In Ecuador much of the original plant knowledge has already been lost. In Peru, 433 (85%) were Dicotyledons, 46 (9%) Monocotyledons, 21 (4%) Pteridophytes, and 5 (1%) Gymnosperms. Three species of Giartina (Algae) and one species of the Lichen genus Siphula were used. The families best represented were Asteraceae with 69 species, Fabaceae (35), Lamiaceae (25), and Solanaceae (21). Euphorbiaceae had 12 species, and Poaceae and Apiaceae each accounted for 11 species. In Ecuador the families best represented were Asteraceae (32 species), Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, and Solanaceae (11 species each), and Apiaceae, Fabaceae, Lycopodiaceae (9 species each). One hundred eighty-two (85%) of the species used were Dicotyledons, 20 Monocotyledons (9.3%), 12 ferns (5.5%), and one unidentified lichen was used. Most of the plants used (83%) were native to Peru and Ecuador. Fresh plants, often collected wild, were used in two thirds of all cases in Peru, but in almost 95% of the cases in Ecuador. The most common applications included the ingestion of herb decoctions or the application of plant material as poultices. Although about 50% of the plants in use in the colonial period have disappeared from the popular pharmacopoeia, the overall number of plant species used medicinally has increased in Northern Peru, while Southern Ecuador shows a decline of plant knowledge since colonial times.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus