Ethnobotanical Survey of Medicinal Plants Used in the Zacatecas State, Mexico
Eduardo Alberto Lara Reimers1, Eduardo Antonio Lara Rodriguez2, Juan Manuel Zepeda del Valle3, Eloy Fernández Cusimamani1, Zbynek Polesny1, Lukas Pawera1
1Czech University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, Czech Republic
The medicinal plants used by communities across all of people in Mexico have an important role in the local health care system. The use of wide plant diversity contributes to the socio-ecological resilience and cultural diversity of each community but there are still regions without documented plant use. The aim of this study was to record, analyze and identify the medicinal plant knowledge of the local people in the state of Zacatecas, Mexico. A total of 132 semi-structured interviews were conducted. The informants were aged between 20-86 years and the gender proportion was 44% male and 56% female. Medicinal plants were identified taxonomically, and data were analyzed and compared using Relative Frequency of Citation (RFC), Family Importance Value (FIV), Cultural Importance Index (CI), and Informant Consensus Factor (ICF). Results show that 96% of respondents actively use plants. A total of 168 medicinal species belonging to 151 genera and 69 botanical families were documented. The family Asteraceae (20 species; FIV=15.15) represented the highest number of species. The majority of herbal remedies are used orally and predominantly in the form of infusion (52%). The most culturally important species was Matricaria chamomilla L., followed by Arnica montana L. and Artemisia ludoviciana Nutt. Diseases of the reproductive system reached the highest consensus ratio (ICF=0.81). The highest number of Uses Report (N=389; 25% of all UR) as well as plant species (68) were determined for diseases of the digestive and gastrointestinal system. This is the first explorative and analytic study conducted dealing with the relative importance of medicinal plants based on quantitative tools in the semi-arid region of Zacatecas, México. The results revealed a high diversity of medicinal plant species and their uses in local traditional medicine. The new generation in the sample studied maintains ancestral knowledge of the use of medicinal plants. The practice of traditional herbal medicine is also applied as a complementary treatment for common and chronic diseases. This practice is co-evolving with the modern health system due to lack of accessibility and perceived low effectiveness of conventional medicine.
Keywords: Arnica montana, ethnomedicine, human health disorders, Matricaria chamonilla, medicinal plants, traditional medicine
Contact Address: Eduardo Alberto Lara Reimers, Czech University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, Kolej Efg Kamycka1281 Praha 6, 16521 Suchdol, Czech Republic, e-mail: agroforestal33gmail.com