Medicinal plants of the Popoluca, Mexico: organoleptic properties as indigenous selection criteria
Leonti, M, Sticher, O & Heinrich, M 2002, 'Medicinal plants of the Popoluca, Mexico: organoleptic properties as indigenous selection criteria.', Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 81, no. 3, pp. 307-315.
Published version available from:
The taste and smell of the environment are important to humans in everyday life and are of particular relevance for the selection of medicinal versus non-medicinal plant species. In a 16-months study with the Popoluca of southern Veracruz (Mexico), we focused on the indigenous selection criteria for medicinal plants. We provide evidence for a highly significant association between organoleptic properties of plants and the use of these species as medicine. Additionally, the doctrine of signature is an essential mnemonic aid, which facilitates remembering the use assigned to the plant. From the Popoluca point of view, it is essential to find substitutes or alternative treatments when a certain species is not at hand. We show that organoleptic properties and the doctrine of signature are excellent guides for selecting or memorising such medicinals.