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Markets, Healers, Vendors, Collectors: The Sustainability of Medicinal Plant Use in Northern Peru

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      The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital

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        An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants commercialized in the markets of La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia.

        An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants marketed in La Paz and El Alto cities in the Bolivian Andes, reported medicinal information for about 129 species, belonging to 55 vascular plant families and one uncertain lichen family. The most important family was Asteraceae with 22 species, followed by Fabaceae s.l. with 11, and Solanaceae with eight. More than 90 general medicinal indications were recorded to treat a wide range of illnesses and ailments. The highest number of species and applications were reported for digestive system disorders (stomach ailments and liver problems), musculoskeletal body system (rheumatism and the complex of contusions, luxations, sprains, and swellings), kidney and other urological problems, and gynecological disorders. Some medicinal species had magic connotations, e.g. for cleaning and protection against ailments, to bring good luck, or for Andean offerings to Pachamama, 'Mother Nature'. In some indications, the separation between medicinal and magic plants was very narrow. Most remedies were prepared from a single species, however some applications were always prepared with a mixture of plants, e.g. for abortion, and the complex of luxations and swellings. The part of the plant most frequently used was the aerial part (29.3%) and the leaves (20.7%). The remedies were mainly prepared as a decoction (47.5%) and an infusion (28.6%). Most of species were native from Bolivia, but an important 36.4% of them were introduced from different origins. There exists a high informant consensus for species and their medicinal indications. The present urban phytotherapy represents a medicinal alternative to treat main health problems and remains closer to the cultural and social context of this society.
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          Valuation of consumption and sale of forest goods from a Central American rain forest

          Researchers recognize that society needs accurate and comprehensive estimates of the economic value of rain forests to assess conservation and management options. Valuation of forests can help us to decide whether to implement policies that reconcile the value different groups attach to forests. Here we have measured the value of the rain forest to local populations by monitoring the foods, construction and craft materials, and medicines consumed or sold from the forest by 32 Indian households in two villages in Honduras over 2.5 years. We have directly measured the detailed, comprehensive consumption patterns of rain forest products by an indigenous population and the value of that consumption in local markets. The combined value of consumption and sale of forest goods ranged from US$17.79 to US$23.72 per hectare per year, at the lower end of previous estimates (between US$49 and US$1,089 (mean US$347) per hectare per year). Although outsiders value the rain forest for its high-use and non-use values, local people receive a small share of the total value. Unless rural people are paid for the non-local values of rain forests, they may be easily persuaded to deforest.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Mountain Research and Development
            Mountain Research and Development
            International Mountain Society (IMS) and United Nations University
            0276-4741
            1994-7151
            May 2009
            May 2009
            : 29
            : 2
            : 128-134
            10.1659/mrd.1083
            © 2009

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