J Community Health. 1995 Oct; 20(5): 403-21.
Herbal knowledge on Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast: consensus within diversity.
Eau Claire Family Medicine Residency Program, WI 54701-3832, USA.
This article examines knowledge of medicinal plants, both among the people of Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast and among the scientific community. Data collected during an 809-household, five-community survey in 1990 and a ten-community botanical collection in 1991 are used to estimate the distribution of medicinal plant knowledge among the region's six ethnic groups. The list of 162 plants identified during this project is compared with other research results to provide the reader with a framework for understanding the distribution of medicinal plant knowledge. While a few plants are widely thought to have medicinal properties, the majority of identifications come from only one or two informants, demonstrating a pattern of consensus within diversity. Discussion focuses on the impact of methodology on the gathering of data, on the distribution and durability of medicinal plant knowledge, and on the proprietary nature of such knowledge.