Economic Botany

, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 604–614

Plants Used for Reproductive Health by Nahua Women in Northern Veracruz, Mexico


DOI: 10.1007/s12231-008-9026-7

Cite this article as:
Smith-Oka, V. Econ Bot (2008) 62: 604. doi:10.1007/s12231-008-9026-7


Plants Used for Reproductive Health by Nahua Women in Northern Veracruz, Mexico. This paper reports the use of medicinal plants by Nahua women in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. It documents the women’s plant knowledge for reproductive purposes, which includes uses such as conception, pregnancy, birth, contraception, menstruation, post-partum, and general reproductive health. The concept of equilibrium is very important in regaining health among the Nahua; consequently, many of the medicinal plants have this as their primary purpose. The introduction of biomedical clinics and hospitals in the region has had a significant effect on the loss of knowledge about medicinal plants. Additionally, the midwives are not taking any new apprentices and laywomen are not passing on their knowledge to future generations. This generational gap contributes to the loss of knowledge about medicinal plants. This research contributes to the study of indigenous ethnobotany by (a) creating a record of the plant knowledge possessed by indigenous women, (b) giving voice to some of their health concerns, (c) indicating how the introduction of biomedicine has affected their plant use, and (d) providing a framework for understanding how marginal peoples around the world respond to the impact that globalization and change has on their health needs and local ethnobotanical knowledge.

Key Words

Ethnobotany indigenous women reproduction plant knowledge Nahua Mexico 

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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