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, 75 (1), 19-23

The Importance of Weeds in Ethnopharmacology


The Importance of Weeds in Ethnopharmacology

J R Stepp et al. J Ethnopharmacol.


Tropical primary forest is often considered to be the most important habitat for traditional peoples to gather medicinal plants. However, the role of weeds, commonly found in disturbed areas, in traditional medicinal floras has been overlooked. Data are presented showing the significant representation of weeds in the medicinal floras of the Highland Maya in Chiapas, Mexico and in the medicinal flora of Native North Americans as a whole. The frequency with which weeds appear in these pharmacopoeias is significantly larger (P<0.0001) than what would be predicted by the frequency of weed species in general. Explanations based on human ecology and biochemical ecology are presented.

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