Author(s): Maca MJ, Garca E, Vidaurre PJ
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Abstract 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.
This article was published in J Ethnopharmacol
and referenced in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants