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      The importance of botellas and other plant mixtures in Dominican traditional medicine

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          Abstract

          Plant mixtures are understudied in ethnobotanical research. To investigate the importance of plant mixtures (remedies consisting of at least two plants) in Dominican traditional medicine. A Spanish language questionnaire was administered to 174 Dominicans living in New York City (NYC) and 145 Dominicans living in the Dominican Republic (DR), including lay persons (who self-medicate with plants) and specialists (traditional healers). Plants were identified through specimens purchased in NYC botánica shops and Latino grocery shops, and from voucher collections. The percentage of mixtures as compared to single plants in plant use reports varied between 32 and 41%, depending on the geographic location (NYC or DR) and participant status (lay person or specialist). Respiratory conditions, reproductive health and genitourinary conditions were the main categories for which Dominicans use plant mixtures. Lay persons reported significantly more mixtures prepared as teas, mainly used in NYC to treat respiratory conditions. Specialists mentioned significantly more botellas (bottled herbal mixtures), used most frequently in the DR to treat reproductive health and genitourinary conditions. Cluster analysis demonstrated that different plant species are used to treat respiratory conditions as compared to reproductive health and genitourinary conditions. Interview participants believed that combining plants in mixtures increases their potency and versatility as medicines. The present study demonstrates the importance and complexity of plant mixtures in Dominican traditional medicine and the variation in its practices influenced by migration from the DR to NYC, shedding new light on the foundations of a particular ethnomedical system. Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Journal of Ethnopharmacology
          Journal of Ethnopharmacology
          Elsevier BV
          03788741
          March 2010
          March 2010
          : 128
          : 1
          : 20-41
          Article
          10.1016/j.jep.2009.12.013
          2829983
          20006697
          © 2010

          https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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