Available online 4 February 2015
Medicinal plants of the Achuar (Jivaro) of Amazonian Ecuador: Ethnobotanical survey and comparison with other Amazonian pharmacopoeias
Aim of the Study and Ethnopharmacological relevance
This paper presents the first ethnobotanical survey conducted among the Achuar (Jivaro), indigenous people living in Amazonian Ecuador and Peru. The aims of this study are: (a) to present and discuss Achuar medicinal plant knowledge in the context of the epidemiology of this population (b) to compare the use of Achuar medicinal plants with the uses reported among the Shuar Jivaro and other Amazonian peoples.
Materials and methods
The author conducted field research in 9 indigenous villages in the region of Morona Santiago and Pastaza in Ecuador. Semi-structured interviews on local illnesses and herbal remedies were carried out with 82 informants and plant specimens were collected and later identified in Quito. A literature research was conducted on the medicinal species reported by Achuar people during this study.
The most reported medicinal plants are species used by the Achuar to treat diarrhoea, parasites infection, fractures, wounds, and snakebites. Informants reported the use of 134 medicinal species for a total of 733 recorded use-reports. Of these 134 species, 44 are reported at least 3 times for one or more specific disease condition for a total of 56 uses. These species are considered a core kit of medicinal plants of the Achuar of Ecuador. Most of these medicinal species are widely used in the Amazon rainforest and in many other parts of Latin America.
The author documented a core kit of 44 medicinal plants used among the Achuar of Ecuador and found that this core set of medicinal plants reflects local epidemiological concerns and the pharmacopoeias of the Shuar and other Amazonian groups. These findings suggest that inter-group diffusion of medicinal plant knowledge had a prominent role in the acquisition of current Achuar knowledge of medicinal plants.
- Traditional medicine;
- Medicinal plant knowledge;
- Medicinal plants;
- Medicinal plants Ecuador
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