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Ethnobotanic investigation of medicinal plants in Apillapampa (Bolivia) as a selection method for the pharmacological evaluation of their biologically active components

Evert THOMAS student laureate
evert_thomas@hotmail.com

°1978 Belgium
Bio-engineer in environmental technology, Universiteit Gent, Belgium, 2002

Etnobotanisch onderzoek van medicinale planten in Apillapampa (Bolivië) als selectiemethode voor de famacologische evaluatie van hun biologische actieve bestanddelen

The context of this study is the promotion by traditional healers from the Apillapampa district of the value of medicinal plants used for the treatment of various conditions such as digestive disorders, lung ailments, aches and pains, rheumatism and so on. Such studies have been greatly valued in recent years. Among other things, plants are a major source of inspiration in the search for original active products. Of equal importance is the possibility that, alongside their traditional use, active and non-toxic medicinal plants can, after standardisation, be marketed and made available to even the poorest sections of the population.
Ethnobotanic research is the first stage in this process of valorisation. The method used in this work for establishing an inventory of 108 plant species and 422 ethnomedical applications is a thorough, scientifically sound one. Considerable attention has been paid to convergence or the use of the same plant by different healers for a similar condition. A literature study in connection with the collected plant species produced data concerning constituents, effects and, in some cases, toxicity. By combining these data with field information, this work makes a significant contribution to understanding and, where necessary, adapting the traditional use of these plants.
In the interests of public health, the knowledge acquired will be passed on to the local population in the form of a practical guide.

report compiled by Prof. J. Totté, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium