Ethnophysiology and herbal treatments of intestinal worms in Dominica, West Indies.

Authors:
Justin M Nolan, PhD
Justin M Nolan, PhD
University of Arkansas
Associate Professor
Anthropology
Fayetteville, AR | United States
Dr. Justin Nolan, PhD
Dr. Justin Nolan, PhD
University of Arkansas
Department Chair
Anthropology
Fayetteville, AR | United States

J Ethnopharmacol 2002 Apr;80(1):75-83

Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri-Columbia, 107 Swallow Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.

In rural Dominican ethnophysiology worms reside in a human organ called the 'worm bag'. Unchecked, worms can cause illness by growing in size and number, spreading out of the worm bag and into other organs. In this study of 'bush medicine', we use a measure of cognitive salience in free-listing tasks, which reveals five plants commonly used to treat intestinal worms. These were Ambrosia hispida (Asteraceae), Aristolochia trilobata (Aristlochiaceae), Chenopodium ambrosioides (Chenopodiaceae), Portulaca oleracea (Portulacaceae), and Artemisia absinthium (Asteraceae). Bioactive compounds appear to be present in all of these plants. The cognitive salience of these plant remedies coupled with evidence of biochemical properties suggest that they provide efficacious treatments for controlling intestinal parasite loads.

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April 2002
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