Vol. 6, Issue 4, Part A (2018)
A comparative analysis of ethnobotanical use of medicinal plants by Q'eqchi' Maya of Sothern Belize and the Yucatec Maya of Northern Belize
Author(s): Pedro Choco, Lilian Blanco and Thippi Thiagarajan
Abstract: A study was conducted among the indigenous people of Belize to understand the similarities and differences of the medicinal use of plants. The research focused on the medicinal use of plants by Q’eqchi’ Maya of Toledo district and the Yucatec Maya of Orange walk and Corozal districts of Belize. The southern Belize is mostly tropical rain forest and the northern districts are mostly swamps and lowland savannah. The study revealed that majority of the herbalists of the Q’eqchi’ Maya were males whereas majority of the Yucatec Maya herbalists were females. Majority of the plant species used by the Yucatec Maya were herbs whereas most of the plants used by Q’eqchi’ Maya were shrubs. Both groups mostly used leaves as the main source of medicine and most of the times leaves were boiled in water and taken orally to cure many ailments. In both culture groups, the herbalists were providing mostly free service to their respective communities as a social service. The Yucatec Mayas used even resin, sap and thorns of plant species in medicinal preparations while the Q’eqchi’ Maya used many epiphytes in their medicinal preparations. Both ethnic groups believed in culture bound syndromes and the Q’eqchi’ Mayas even treated mental disorders. Infections or infectious diseases were the common ailment treated by both groups. Both groups passed on their herbal knowledge through their family hierarchy. Both ethnic groups expressed that deforestation and other human activities are causing some of the important medicinal plants to disappear or make it harder to find. Both cultures treated snake bite. Some plants were used to treat more than one ailment and some diseases were treated with a combination of plants combined together.
How to cite this article:
Pedro Choco, Lilian Blanco, Thippi Thiagarajan. A comparative analysis of ethnobotanical use of medicinal plants by Q'eqchi' Maya of Sothern Belize and the Yucatec Maya of Northern Belize. Int J Herb Med 2018;6(4):01-08.