Vol. 5, Issue 4, Part A (2017)
Ethno-botanical study of medicinal plants used by the Yucatec maya in the Northern District of Belize
Author(s): Lilian Blanco and Thippi Thiagarajan
Abstract: The knowledge of plants used in traditional medicine by the indigenous communities is fast disappearing due to various reasons. This study made an effort to document the herbal knowledge that exists in the family circles of the Yucatec Maya communities of Northern Belize. Research was carried out in four villages in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts during 12 weeks of fieldwork. A total of 59 plant species, grouped within 57 genera and 35 families that are used in traditional medical practices were identified and studied. Plants belonging to Rutaceae, Lamiaceae and Euphorbiaceae were the most commonly used species. The growth habits of plants reported include herbs (37%), trees (25%), shrubs (15%), trees/shrubs (plants having characteristics of both trees and shrubs) (14%), and vines (9%). The most common plant part used was leaves (66%), followed by bark, whole plant and flower (each with 7%). Of the total number of medicinal plants, 20 species were used to treat infections, 16 for digestive system disorders, 9 for skin/subcutaneous cellular tissue disorders, 7 for respiratory system disorders, 6 for endocrine system disorders, 6 for culture-bound syndromes, 5 for genitourinary system disorders, 4 for musculoskeletal system disorders, 4 for circulatory system disorders, 2 for injuries and 1 for sensory system disorders. Species cited more frequently by the most herbalists are regarded to be of greater ethnobotanical importance than those cited only by a few herbalists.
How to cite this article:
Lilian Blanco and Thippi Thiagarajan. Ethno-botanical study of medicinal plants used by the Yucatec maya in the Northern District of Belize. International Journal of Herbal Medicine. 2017; 5(4): 33-42.