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Economic Botany

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 73–81 | Cite as

Zapotec and Mixe use of Tropical Habitats for securing medicinal plants in MéXico

  • B. Frei
  • O. Sticher
  • M. Heinrich
Article

Abstract

Medicinal plants are essential in the medical systems of the Mixe and Zapotec. In this study ethno-ecological strategies, employed by the two neighboring Indian groups in Mexico, for obtaining medicinal plants are analyzed. The indigenous classification of the environment is notably different from the Western one and distinguishes six dissimilar principal “zones” or land use types. Most ethnomedically important species are cultivated in the “house garden” or gathered in the community or its immediate surroundings. The house garden, for example, contributes 31.8% and 26.2% of all medical taxa for the Mixe and Zapotec, respectively. These ethnobotanical data on the indigenous uses indicate that anthropogenic types of vegetation yield the largest percentage of medicinal taxa.

Key Words

Mixe Zapotec Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Oaxaca, Mexico) medical ethnobotany traditional medicine anthropogenic vegetation land use types house gardens 

Die Nutzung Tropischer Habitate Durch Zapoteken Und Mixe (Mexiko) Zur Sicherstellung Der Versorgung Mit Arzneipflanzen.

El Uso De Ecosistemas Tropicales Por Los Zapotecos Y Mixe (MéXico) Para Asegurar El Aprovechamiento De Plantas MéDicinales.

Résumé

Plantas médicinales son una parte esencial de los sistemas médicos de los Mixe y Zapotecos. En este estudio se analizan las estrategias etnoecológicas empleadas por los dos grupos indigenas vecinos para obtener plantas medicinales. La clasificación indigena del ambiente es notablemente diferente de la clasificación occidental y distingue seis zonas principales disimilares (o tipos de uso de la tierra). La mayoria de las especies de importancia etnomédica se cultiva en los solares o se recolecta en la comunidad o en la zona alrededor de la comunidad. El solar, por ejemplo, contribuye 31.8% y 26.2% de todas las plantas mediciniales de los Mixe y Zapotecos, respectivamente. Estos datos etnobotánicos sobre el uso indigena de la tierra indican que los tipos de vegetacián antropogénica son muy importantes para la obtencián de la gran mayoria de las plantas médicinales.

Résumé

Arzneipflanzen sind ein wesentlicher Bestandteil des Medizinsystems der Mixe und Zapoteken. In dieser Untersuchung werden die ethnoökologischen Strategien, die von den beiden Indianergruppen zur Sicherstellung einer ausreichenden Versorgung mit Arzneipflanzen eingesetzt werden, untersucht. Die indigene Klassifizierung der Umwelt unterscheidet sich deutlich von der westlichen und differenziert sechs verschiedene Landnutzungszonen. Die meisten arzneilich wichtigen Taxa werden auf den Höfen angebaut oder direkt im Ort oder seiner direkten Umgebung gesammelt. Der Hof liefert beispielsweise 31.8% bzw. 26.2% aller Arzneipflanzen der Mixe bzw. der Zapoteken. Diese ethnobotanischen Informationen über die indigenen Verwendungsstrategien zeigen, dass anthropogene Landnutzungsformen den grössten Anteil an arzneilich genutzten Taxa liefern.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, NY 10458-5126 U.S.A 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Frei
    • 1
  • O. Sticher
    • 2
  • M. Heinrich
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, The School of PharmacyUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of PharmacySwiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Pharmaceutical BiologyAlbert-Ludwigs-UniversityFreiburgGermany

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