Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 506077
Title Patterns in medicinal plant knowledge and use in a Maroon village in Suriname
Author(s) Klooster, Charlotte van 't; Andel, Tinde van; Reis, Ria
Source Journal of Ethnopharmacology 189 (2016). - ISSN 0378-8741 - p. 319 - 330.
Department(s) Biosystematics
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Maroons - Medicinal plants - Saramaccan - Suriname - Traditional knowledge - Traditional medicines

Ethnopharmacological relevance Traditional medicine plays an important role in the primary health care practices of Maroons living in the interior of Suriname. Large numbers of medicinal plants are employed to maintain general health and cure illnesses. Little is known, however, on how knowledge of herbal medicine varies within the community and whether plant use remains important when modern health care becomes available. Aim of the study To document the diversity in medicinal plant knowledge and use in a remote Saramaccan Maroon community and to assess the importance of medicinal plants vis a vis locally available modern healthcare. We hypothesized that ailments which could be treated by the village health center would be less salient in herbal medicine reports. Methods During three months fieldwork in the Saramaccan village of Pikin Slee, ethnobotanical data were collected by means of participant observations, voucher collections and 27 semi-structured interviews and informal discussions with 20 respondents. To test whether knowledge of medicinal plant species was kept within families, we performed a Detrended Correspondence Analysis. Results In total, 110 medicinal plant species were recorded, with 302 health use reports and 72 uses, mostly related to general health concerns (42%), diseases of the digestive system (10%), musculoskeletal system and fever (each 7%). Bathing was the most important mode of application. Most health use reports related to cure (58%) and health promotion (39%), while disease prevention played a minor role. Traditional medicine not only treated cultural illnesses, but also health concerns that could be treated with locally available modern medicines. Knowledge of medicinal plant species is not strictly kept within families, but also shared with friends. Certain recipes and applications, however, may be specific family knowledge. Conclusion Medicinal plants play a very important role in the daily lives of the Pikin Slee villagers. Plant use reflects actual health concerns, but as modern medicines are available for most of these concerns, the use of herbal medicines seems to be a deep rooted cultural preference, especially when concerned with cultural illnesses and health promotion. Locally provided healthcare could be enriched if traditional knowledge, illness concepts, and medicinal plant uses could fit into a larger, community-oriented framework.

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