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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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Matrix correlation of modern medicinal floras to colonial records and botanical inventories.
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Figure 14: Matrix correlation of modern medicinal floras to colonial records and botanical inventories.

Mentions: A cluster analysis of the colonial and modern plant inventories (Fig. 14) provides a striking explanation for the use differences between Ecuador and Peru, and helps to explain why the plant inventories changed so significantly in the eighteenth century: The dendrogram (Fig. 14) indicates that the current pharmacopoeia of useful flora in Ecuador is most similar to the early colonial flora mentioned in Monardes [12], Acosta [7], Cobo [9,10] and Alcedo [8]. This suggests that the Ecuadorian medicinal flora did not develop much between early and late colonial times. In contrast, the modern Peruvian healing flora is much more similar to later collections. An explanation for this lies in the different treatment of traditional practices in Ecuador and Peru; in Ecuador, traditional medicinal practitioners were immediately persecuted once the colonial administration took hold, while the Peruvian administration was much more tolerant. This also reflects in the establishment of a National Institute for Traditional Medicine in Peru in the 1980s, while traditional medicine was illegal in Ecuador, until a constitutional change in 1998 [66,67,69,70,77]. This meant that Ecuadorian healers had no opportunity to experiment with new species to cure diseases introduced by Europeans, while Peruvian healers were able to explore the rich flora of the region in order to find new remedies. This experimentation also extended to "magical" disease concepts like Mal Aire, Mal Ojo, Susto, and Envidia that were introduced from Spain during the colonial regime. Peruvian healers developed a vast array of medicinals to treat these conditions, which, to a large extent explains the shift in the medicinal flora between the late 1700s and modern times. Experimentation in Ecuador remained restricted to the treatment of common diseases, while spiritual treatments were outlawed until a constitutional revision in 1998 recognized the right of the population to use traditional medicinal practices.


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

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

Matrix correlation of modern medicinal floras to colonial records and botanical inventories.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 14: Matrix correlation of modern medicinal floras to colonial records and botanical inventories.
Mentions: A cluster analysis of the colonial and modern plant inventories (Fig. 14) provides a striking explanation for the use differences between Ecuador and Peru, and helps to explain why the plant inventories changed so significantly in the eighteenth century: The dendrogram (Fig. 14) indicates that the current pharmacopoeia of useful flora in Ecuador is most similar to the early colonial flora mentioned in Monardes [12], Acosta [7], Cobo [9,10] and Alcedo [8]. This suggests that the Ecuadorian medicinal flora did not develop much between early and late colonial times. In contrast, the modern Peruvian healing flora is much more similar to later collections. An explanation for this lies in the different treatment of traditional practices in Ecuador and Peru; in Ecuador, traditional medicinal practitioners were immediately persecuted once the colonial administration took hold, while the Peruvian administration was much more tolerant. This also reflects in the establishment of a National Institute for Traditional Medicine in Peru in the 1980s, while traditional medicine was illegal in Ecuador, until a constitutional change in 1998 [66,67,69,70,77]. This meant that Ecuadorian healers had no opportunity to experiment with new species to cure diseases introduced by Europeans, while Peruvian healers were able to explore the rich flora of the region in order to find new remedies. This experimentation also extended to "magical" disease concepts like Mal Aire, Mal Ojo, Susto, and Envidia that were introduced from Spain during the colonial regime. Peruvian healers developed a vast array of medicinals to treat these conditions, which, to a large extent explains the shift in the medicinal flora between the late 1700s and modern times. Experimentation in Ecuador remained restricted to the treatment of common diseases, while spiritual treatments were outlawed until a constitutional revision in 1998 recognized the right of the population to use traditional medicinal practices.

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