J Ethnopharmacol. 1993 Mar; 38(2-3): 181-8.
Saving the ethnopharmacological heritage of Samoa.
Department of Botany, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602.
Early European visitors to Samoa tended to denigrate the authenticity and efficacy of Samoan herbal medicine, yet bioassays indicate pharmacological activity in over 86% of Samoan medicinal plants. Novel anti-inflammatory compounds have been isolated from Alphitonia zyzyphoides and Erythrina variegata, and the anti-HIV compound prostratin has been isolated from Homalanthus nutans. Unfortunately, both Samoan ethnopharmacology and Samoan rain forests are threatened. In order to prevent logging, funds were raised to build a needed village school in exchange for a village covenant to protect the 30,000 acre Falealupo forest. Subsequently, four additional rainforest reserves have been established. Hopefully such conservation measures can save the ethnopharmacological knowledge of Samoa.