Vol. 4, Issue 3, Part A (2016)
Medicinal plants used by the Rastafarian community in Belize
Author(s): Yakini Arzu, Thippi Thiagarajan
Abstract: There is an increased focus on the use of medicinal plant products globally due to empirical research carried out on ethnic usage of plants. However some locally used products that are not fully investigated and documented. Documenting local use of medicinal plants by minority socio-ethnic groups is an important first step in advancing the usage of herbal medicine. Rastafarians are a unique cultural group which has strong belief in medicinal herbal usage. Interviews were conducted among several locally known “herbal healers” in the Rastafarian community of Belize. Rastafarians in Belize are a unique community that comprises of members from other ethnic groups including the Garinagu and Creole. Following the interviews, data was collected on the plants they use, for which ailments and what procedures are undertaken for preparation and application. These plants are used to treat a range of diseases from neurological disorders such as epileptic seizures to urinary tract infections and others being used mainly as aphrodisiacs or soothing menstrual cramps in women. Thirty four (34) plants were identified taxonomically fitting into 25 different families and the data was organized with each plant’s locally renowned healing ability and procedures. With many of the small and remote villages in Belize not having complete and unrestricted access to medical facilities, most ailments are tended to by these local “herbal healers” irrespective of religion, ethnicity or creed. A survey conducted among the herbal healers indicated that there is need to educate and protect the important medicinal plants as there is gradual depletion of certain important medicinal plant species.
How to cite this article:
Yakini Arzu, Thippi Thiagarajan. Medicinal plants used by the Rastafarian community in Belize. International Journal of Herbal Medicine. 2016; 4(3): 15-20.