Indigenous medicinal plants in Mexico: the example of the Nahua (Sierra de Zongolica)

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Publication details

Weimann, C & Heinrich, M 1997, 'Indigenous medicinal plants in Mexico: the example of the Nahua (Sierra de Zongolica)', Botanica Acta, vol. 110, no. 1, pp. 62-72.

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As in most peasant cultures medicinal plants are a very important resource for the Nahua of the Sierra de Zongolica (Mexico). Documentation of the current indigenous medicinal uses of 203 plants in this region was conducted during 18 months of fieldwork. The 816 individual reports documented were divided into nine groups of indigenous uses. The frequency of usage of the individual plants reported was employed in the analysis of the ethnobotanical importance of the respective plants. Plants cited more frequently in a group of indigenous uses are regarded as of greater ethnobotanical importance than those cited only by a few informants. Data on phytochemistry, pharmacology and ethnobotany from the scientific literature were used to evaluate possible biological or pharmacological and toxicological effects of some particularly important plants. For most plants detailed studies on these actions are still lacking, which would allow a conclusive evaluation. This ethnobotanical evaluation forms the basis for such studies which have been started on some plants, and for better understanding their potential as minor economic products of the region. These uses may also give incentives to the conservation of the local biodiversity.

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