J Ethnopharmacol. 1992 Jun; 36(3): 193-206.
Headache treatments by native peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon: a preliminary cross-disciplinary assessment.
Department of Neurology, Western Montana Clinic, Missoula 59807.
Headache, specifically migraine, is an extremely frequent and debilitating syndrome with worldwide prevalence, including indigenous cultures of Amazonia. This paper considers headache as perceived within the medical philosophy of 5 Indian tribes of the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin. Their ethnobotanical treatments for headache are examined, along with the limited available biochemical assay data. This information is analyzed by means of an Ethnopharmacology Rating Scale. Suggestions are offered as to methods of biochemical analysis that may be fruitful in assessment of potential clinical headache remedies. Key among these is the screening of ethnobotanical samples for serotonin receptor activity. The potential may exist for the discovery of more effective, less toxic headache drugs, as well as for the development of a new industry for the local economy that could promote conservation of an endangered ecosystem.