Survey of medical ethnobotanicals for dental and oral medicine conditions and pathologies

J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Aug 11;107(1):134-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2006.04.005. Epub 2006 Apr 18.


Ethnomedical questionnaires were distributed in Chicago, Costa Rica, and Colombia to identify the most common over-the-counter (OTC) plant or plant-based products advocated for treating oral pain, ulcerative conditions, and cancer within these locations. Over 100 plants or plant-based herbal preparations and commercial products, purchased from local botanical markets and pharmacies, were advocated for the treatment of oral medicine conditions. Locally familiar and common language names were attributed to the plant products at the time of purchase. Plant products or plant-based commercial products containing plant-based essential oils, anesthetic constituents, and or chemical compounds recommended as OTC oral medicine preparations were systematized, tabulated, and correlated with the published phytotherapeutic literature. Though pharmacognostic research is available for some of the species collected, further ethnographic research is needed to correlate common names with the accurate taxonomic identification for each plant species. Furthermore, epidemiological research is needed to verify the use and standardized dosage for OTC ethnomedicine preparations for oral medicine conditions. Pharmacognostic research and clinical trails which can verify taxonomy, dose, safety, active principles, and efficacy of these OTC oral medicine products must be enhanced in order to verify the claimed validity in contemporary, global, oral medicine practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Species Specificity
  • Stomatognathic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Stomatognathic Diseases / pathology