The ethnopharmacology of plants used as both food and medicine in a Totonac community of Mexico

Cristina Alicia Ugarte, Florida International University

Abstract

Most ethnopharmacological studies overlook food plants, yet many edible plants, also have medicinal value. I documented plants that are used as both food and medicine by the Totonac of Zapotitlan de Mendez, Mexico and recorded the presence of selected secondary compounds, and physical characteristics in these plants. Photoactivity, antimicrobial, and antifungal assays also were performed. The presence of these properties were compared among food/medicine plants, food, medicinal, and randomly selected plants. I predicted that a higher percentage of medicinal plants would contain the secondary compounds, physical characteristics, and bioactivity compared to the other groups. Phenolics and cyanogenic glycosides in the medicinal group were significantly greater than in the food/medicine group. The food plants did not differ greatly from the medicinal plants. This research indicates that including food plants in ethnomedical studies could provide a more complete knowledge of peoples therapeutic resources and practices. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Botany|Anthropology, Cultural|Health Sciences, Pharmacology

Recommended Citation

Cristina Alicia Ugarte, "The ethnopharmacology of plants used as both food and medicine in a Totonac community of Mexico" (January 1, 1997). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI1384258.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI1384258

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