Category Archives: Social Progress

Ethnobotany, Climate Change & Conservation Strategies in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada del Cocuy-Güicán


Ethnobotany of the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy-Güicán: climate change and conservation strategies in the Colombian Andes

Rodríguez MA, Angueyra A, Cleef AM, Van Andel T
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2018 May 5;14(1):34
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5935911

Ritacuba Blanco, Parque Natural Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, Chita o Guican
Ritacuba Blanco, Parque Natural Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, Chita o Guican [Photo: Martin Roca, Wikimedia Commons]
Investigators at Leiden University, Universidad de los Andes, University of Amsterdam, Wageningen University, and Naturalis Biodiversity Center conducted an ethnobotanical inventory among local farmer communities in the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy-Güicán in the Colombian Andes in an effort to determine the effects of vegetation change on the availability of useful plants in the face of expanding agriculture, deforestation, tourism, and climate change.

Writing in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, the authors note the importance of research to better understand the effect of climate change on human-vegetation dynamics:

“Climate change affects altitudinal plant distribution in high-elevation tropical mountains. Perceptions on climate change in mountain ecosystems indicate that local people can give relevant insights about climate change dynamics as they are narrowly acquainted with its surroundings. From an ethnobotanical approach, climate change affects human-vegetation dynamics, like altering the patterns of planting and harvesting in the Himalayas, disrupting traditional plant practices in British Columbia, and affecting the diversity of useful flora in alpine ecosystems, and therefore threatening the traditional knowledge associated with these plants. These studies stress the need to consider local people’s perspectives to reduce the impacts of climate warming. Changes in plant diversity as a consequence of climate processes show alarming effects on plant population over time. Predictions on the effects of climate warming in the Andean ecosystems include displacement, adaptations (physiological changes), and local extinction of plant communities. Ethnobotanical research in Andean mountain ecosystems have mostly focused on medicinal plant use by local communities. Research on non-medicinal plants of importance for the inhabitants of high altitude zones, or on local perceptions on the decline of useful plants related to climate change are lacking.”

The team worked with local farmer communities to record the ethnoflora of the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy-Güicán, which has been protected as a Colombian national natural park since 1977 because of its fragile páramo (high altitude tropical wetland) ecosystems, extraordinary biodiversity, high plant endemism, and function as water reservoir.

In interviews, they posed the following questions:

  • What are the plant species used by the campesinos?
  • At what altitudes do they collect useful plants?
  • What is the proportion of native versus introduced species?
  • Have the campesinos noticed a reduction in plant availability?
  • Could potentially declining plant resources be associated with climate change?

They also walked into the field and along existing mountain trails with staff from the national park and local farmers to collect useful plant specimens, documenting 174 useful plants, 68 percent native to the area and 32 percent introduced.

The farmers noted a reduction of native and especially medicinal plant resources accessible to them, with species like Niphogeton dissecta being more difficult to find, having shifted to higher altitudes, possibly due to climate change. (Temperatures have increased 2 °C in the national park in less than four decades.)

In their conclusion, the authors stress the vital importance of placing local people as key actors to help prevent or at least mollify the degradation of the páramos and their cultural plant legacy:

“This study confirms the concern among local farmers about the melting snow, so it is crucial to include people’s perceptions on climate change to design effective conservation policies. During our workshops, we noticed that local farmers worried about the preservation of their natural resources. Local concerns can be solved with the implementation of environmental policies and active participation that take into account the local population needs. Courses on environmental conservation for local farmers are highly relevant, especially for those who are directly involved in the tourist business. Employees from the NNP-Cocuy, specialists on plant resources management and local people should work together to develop conservational strategies towards sustainable tourism and practices and accomplish the policies that were implemented since the opening of the NNP-Cocuy, such as obligatory-guided heritage tours, limited number of tourists, and no garbage disposal in the environment.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

Send email to for information about submitting qualified published research for sponsored posts on this blog.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants Used by Saraguro Community Healers in Ecuador


Ethnobotany of Indigenous Saraguros: Medicinal Plants Used by Community Healers “Hampiyachakkuna” in the San Lucas Parish, Southern Ecuador

Andrade JM, Lucero Mosquera H, Armijos C
Biomed Res Int. Epub 2017 Jul 4
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5514338

Investigators at the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL) conducted an ethnobotanical survey of the use of medicinal plants by community healers known as Hampiyachakkuna by the indigenous Saraguro people living in San Lucas Parish, Loja Province, Ecuador.

Writing in Biomed Research International, the authors note that this ethnobotanical knowledge is endangered by cultural changes:

“The community of healers locally known as ‘Hampiyachakkuna’ maintains the ancient medical treatments of the Saraguros. The ‘Yachak’ or ‘Hampi yachakkuna’ is the person who knows the curative properties of plants, animals, and/or minerals. Under the Andean cosmovision of the Saraguros ethnical group, the diseases they treat are thought to be produced by either cold or heat. As such, their natural medicines are classified as hot and fresh; and depending on the nature of the patient’s condition, different plants are selected for the treatment in accordance with this classification. However, although the knowledge regarding the usage of plants for medicinal practices has been transmitted orally from generation to generation, the Saraguros are experimenting cultural changes that threaten the preservation of their ancestral knowledge. These cultural changes lead to negative consequences such as the loss of traditional knowledge, a decline in the use of natural resources, and changes in the patterns of food intake, medical treatment, and, furthermore, their cosmovision. For these reasons, there is an urgent need to document and preserve their invaluable knowledge.”

Working with four healers from the Saraguro community – a Wachakhampiyachak (midwife), a Yurakhampiyachak (herbalist), a Kakuyhampiyachak (bone-healer), and a Rikuyhampiyachak (visionary) – the team documented 183 plant species used in 75 different curative therapies. Uses included mythological treatments, nervous system treatments, cold treatments, infection treatments, general malaise treatments, and inflammatory treatments of the liver and kidneys.

Siphocampylus scandens
Siphocampylus scandens [Photo: Dick Culbert, Wikimedia Commons]
Endemic medicinal species identified included Achyrocline hallii, Ageratina dendroides, Bejaria subsessilis, Brachyotum scandens, Dendrophthora fastigiata, Diplostephium juniperinum, Diplostephium oblanceolatum, Fuchsia hypoleuca, Huperzia austroecuadorica, Lepechinia paniculata, Phoradendron parietarioides, Siphocampylus scandens, and Salvia leucocephala. Most of the endemic plants in the group were determined to be in danger, threatened, or vulnerable.

The study was conducted under a technical and scientific collaborative effort of the UTPL, the Dirección Provincial de Salud de Loja, and the Consejo de Sanadores de Saraguro “with the objective of recognizing and recovering the traditional knowledge of herbal medicinal resources used by the Saraguro community”:

“Because of the increasing recognition of the importance of the different medicinal species used by the Saraguros and in an effort to preserve their knowledge, in this work we seek to contribute to the conservation strategy on the sustainable uses of the Ecuadorian medicinal biodiversity. The latter is considered a fundamental step in order to raise awareness of its cultural value and the importance of its preservation. By doing that, we intended to safeguard the popular knowledge concerning natural medicinal plants and to provide a baseline for future actions regarding scientific research programs, environmental education, social awareness, and sustainable natural resources exploitation…. The results of this research also aim at becoming a starting point to attract the attention of national and international tourists, in order to promote a self-sustaining development of the Saraguro community.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

Send email to for information about submitting qualified published research for sponsored posts on this blog.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants Used by Balti People in Pakistan’s Shigar Valley


Medicinal plants used by inhabitants of the Shigar Valley, Baltistan region of Karakorum range-Pakistan

Abbas Z, Khan SM, Alam J, Khan SW, Abbasi AM
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2017 Sep 25;13(1):53
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5613401

Skardu, Shigar Valley, Pakistan
Skardu, Shigar Valley, Pakistan [Photo: Rizwan Saeed, Wikimedia Commons]
Investigators at Hazara University, Quaid-i-Azam University, Karakoram International University, and COMSATS conducted an ethnobotanical study to document medicinal uses of plant species by the inhabitants of the Shigar Valley in the Karakorum Range of Northern Pakistan. This is the first such study in the region, which is home to ethnic Balti people of Tibetan descent:

“Baltistan is an archetypal mountainous region of the Northern Pakistan with average altitude of 3555 m above sea level. Historically, it has often been referred as “Western Tibet” or ‘Little Tibet’. The territories of the Baltistan region lie sparsely at acclivities and in deep mountains of Karakorum and Himalaya with unique landscape, climate, flora and fauna. However, remoteness, difficult access and inadequate funding may be the major handicaps to conduct field survey in these areas. Only few workers have conducted ethnobotanical survey in some parts of Northern Pakistan. Therefore, very limited ethno-botanical literature is available in the region. Shigar valley is located in the Karakorum Ranges, and is the home of various peaks (including K2), glaciers and hot springs, which have always been the most preferred tracking places for visitors across the country and abroad. Ethno-botany is a recently introduced and rapidly flourishing field in this region, and is gaining adequate attention by researchers. Although, various ethnobotanical surveys have be conducted in different parts of Pakistan. However, Northern parts of country are still poorly explored. Therefore, present survey aimed to provide the first inventory on ethno-pharmacological application of medicinal plant species used by the inhabitants of Balti community of Shigar valley, Karakorum Mountains-Pakistan.”

Allium carolinianum
Allium carolinianum [Photo: Sherpaworld, Wikimedia Commons]
Working with local respondents, the team identified 84 medicinal plant species used primarily to treat abdominal, respiratory, and skin ailments. Commonly used plants included Allium carolinianum, Hippophe rhamnoides, Tanacetum falconeri, and Thymus linearis. Roughly a quarter of the species were identified for medicinal uses for the first time and included Aconitum violoceum, Arnebia guttata, Biebersteinia odora, Clematis alpina, Corydalis adiantifolia, Hedysarum falconeri, and Saussurea simpsoniana.

The authors found the results to be significant for scientific purposes, as well as for conservation and cultural/economic development:

“Present study illustrated diverse medicinal flora in the territories of Gilgit-Baltistan mountains. The exclusive alliance of medicinal plants, mountain restricted distribution and high level disagreement in traditional uses corroborate the significance of this study. Being the first inventory on medicinal flora of Shigar valley, present study offers baseline data for researchers, particularly interested in high mountains phyto-diversity and related traditional knowledge. The sub-alpine species in environs are practicable for conservation and cultivation. The abundance of medicinal plant species in the study area could enhance the economic status of local communities by marketing and sustainable utilization. Local inhabitants can make their home gardens or micro park system of medicinally important species on their own land.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

Send email to for information about submitting qualified published research for sponsored posts on this blog.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Wild Plants Used for Food and Healing in a Small Village in Belarus


Multi-functionality of the few: current and past uses of wild plants for food and healing in Liubań region, Belarus

Sõukand R, Hrynevich Y, Vasilyeva I, Prakofjewa J, Vnukovich Y, Paciupa J, Hlushko A, Knureva Y, Litvinava Y, Vyskvarka S, Silivonchyk H, Paulava A, Kõiva M, Kalle R
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2017 Feb 8;13(1):10
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5299745

Investigators from the Estonian Literary Museum; the Center for Belarusian Culture, Language and Literature Research; Liubań District Culture Center; and the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts conducted an ethnobotanical survey to document current and past uses of wild plants in the Liubań region of Belarus for food and medication.

Writing in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, the authors examine the use of wild plants for food, human medicinal, and veterinary purposes in a small territory limited to one village council.

“Liubań district is located in the southeast of the Minsk Region. The town of Liubań is the centre of the district which includes the township of Urečča and 125 rural settlements. The northern part of the district is located on the Central Biarezina plain, while the southern part is within the Prypiać Paliessie. In the central part of the district the Aresa River (a left-bank tributary of the Prypiać) flows from north to south. Most areas of the Paliessie region have been drained. About 33% of the area is covered by forests (coniferous and mixed deciduous forest, as well as birch, oak and alder that also grow there). The area is mostly agricultural and specializes in meat and milk cattle breeding, pig breeding and potato cultivation.”

Plantago major
Plantago major [Photo: WAH]
Working with local residents, the team identified 74 plant species used for human medicinal purposes, including respiratory diseases, dermatological diseases, gastrointestinal ailments, and for general health. The most commonly cited medicinal plant species included Betula spp., Rubus idaeus, Vaccinium myrtillus, Chelidonium majus, Plantago major, Hypericum spp., Potentilla erecta, Tilia cordata, Arctium tomentosum, and Quercus robur.

Some people remarked that radiation had taken away all of the good qualities of wild plants in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

Send email to for information about submitting qualified published research for sponsored posts on this blog.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Review of Traditional Medicinal Plants Used to Treat Malaria in Ethiopia


Systematic review on traditional medicinal plants used for the treatment of malaria in Ethiopia: trends and perspectives

Alebie G, Urga B, Worku A
Malar J. 2017 Aug 1;16(1):307
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5540187

Investigators at Jigjiga University conducted a systematic web search analysis and review of research literature pertaining to medicinal plants used for traditional malaria treatment in Ethiopia.

Writing in Malaria Journal, the authors note that antimalarial ethnomedicinal research in Ethiopia remains limited:

“Despite the remarkable historic success of traditional medicinal practices and abundance of indigenous medicinal plant resources, anti-malarial ethno-pharmacological research in Ethiopia remains at primitive stage, with scope limited to evaluating crude extracts from various anti-malarial plants against Plasmodium berghei. A prominent gap is evident with regard to research geared towards identifying plant bioactive entities, and establishing the efficacy and safety of medical plants through in vitro assays using human Plasmodium parasites, in vivo assay involving higher animal models and randomized clinical trials. Absence of favourable medicinal plant research and development impedes optimum exploitation of potential economic benefits. Thus, despite holding one of the richest (diversity and quantity) resources in the continent, large-scale production and export of medicinal plants has remained limited in Ethiopia. Prevailing scenarios underscore a pressing need for enhancing pre-clinical and clinical research aimed at developing safe, effective and affordable alternative anti-malarial agents from indigenous plant resources. This requires collaborative engagement involving government bodies, researchers, traditional healers, and prospective business investors.”

Tamarindus indica
Tamarindus indica [Photo: WAH]
Collecting data from 82 studies identifying a total 200 different plant species used in traditional malaria treatments throughout Ethiopia, the team highlighted a rich diversity of indigenous medicinal plants commonly used for traditional treatment of malaria in Ethiopia. The most frequently cited species included Allium sativum, Carica papaya, Vernonia amygdalina, Croton macrostachyus, Lepidium sativum, Justicia schimperiana, Phytolacca dodecandra, Dodonaea angustifolia, Melia azedarach, Clerodendrum myricoides, Aloe sp., Azadirachta indica, Brucea antidysenteric, Calpurnia aurea, Eucalyptus globulus, Ajuga integrifolia, Carissa spinarum, Artemisia afra, Moringa stenopetala, Ruta chalepensis, Salvadora persica, and Tamarindus indica.

Decoction, concoction, eating/chewing, infusion, and pounding represented the most common methods of preparation. Some of the medicinal products were prepared from mixtures of two or more different plant species and various other additives were also used in some of the treatments:

“Additives were mostly used to moderate the power and/or improve the taste and enhance the efficacy and healing conditions of the remedy. This could possibly be attributed to synergistic effects of the mixtures that might contain a range of pharmacologically active compounds potentially augmenting the chance of the drug interacting with numerous, varied biological targets. Their interaction might influence selectivity, availability, absorption and displacement (distribution) of the remedy, and bioactivity, including enzyme activities. Thus, such traditional practices could provide the opportunity to understand drug interaction and mechanisms of actions, and pave the way to discovering lead structures for the development of novel anti-malarial drugs.”

Many of the species identified in the study have previously demonstrated promising antimalarial potential in preclinical and clinical investigations, among them Artemisia annua, Ajuga remota, Azadirachta indica, Argemone mexicana, Vernonia amygdalina, Asparagus africanus, Uvaria leptocladon, and Gossypium spp. In addition, promising candidate antimalarial compounds have been identified from some of the plants.

In their conclusion, the authors recommend coordinated multidisciplinary research to further develop the therapeutic potential of anti-malarial compounds from plant species used for the treatment of malaria in Ethiopia:

“Ethno-medicinal research on distribution and usage pattern of anti-malarial plants shows substantial variability across a spectrum of geographic and social strata in the country. Baseline information gaps are evident in key geographic settings, such as the Beshangul Gumuz and Gambella regions. Divergent preparation and use patterns of anti-malarial herbal remedies, as well as associated toxicity risks and countermeasures, generally demand deeper, exhaustive investigations. Experimental research and advanced chemical analysis are required to identify and validate the therapeutic potential of anti-malarial chemical compounds from promising plant species, with due consideration to efficacy and safety issues. Sustainable development and exploitation of indigenous medicinal plant resources entails coordinated multidisciplinary research programmes that give due credit to traditional practitioners and engage with commercial investors.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

The Medicinal Plants of Bhutan’s Lower Kheng Region


Pharmacological, ethnopharmacological, and botanical evaluation of subtropical medicinal plants of Lower Kheng region in Bhutan

Wangchuk P, Yeshi K, Jamphel K
Integr Med Res. 2017 Dec; 6(4): 372–387
PubMed Central: PMC5741394
Zhemgang Dzongkhag (District), Bhutan
Zhemgang District, Bhutan

Investigators at James Cook University, Wangbama Central School, and the Bhutan Ministry of Health conducted an ethnobotanical study to identify subtropical medicinal plants from the Lower Kheng region in the Zhemgang District of Bhutan, where Bhutanese Sowa Rigpa medicine has been practiced for centuries:

“In Bhutan, while some traditional physicians argue that Sowa Rigpa originated in the 8th century CE with the advent of Mahayana Buddhism, many scholars believe that it was only in 1616 that Lama Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal laid written foundation to this medical system. The Bhutanese Sowa Rigpa medicine (BSM) belong to the larger corpus of the Tibetan scholarly medical (TSM) system, which was derived from Chinese Traditional Medicine, Indian Ayurvedic Medicine, Greco-Roman medicine, and the Persian medicine (Galenos). However, the country’s culture, tradition, local medical practices, geography, and vegetation influenced the way BSM evolved independently over many centuries, making it specific to Bhutan.”

The authors note that theirs is the first ethnobotanical study to be conducted in the Lower Kheng region:

“The criteria and reasons for choosing these areas as our ethnobotanical study areas were: (1) there was unsubstantiated/anecdotal claim about the lush growth of LAMP in the region; (2) no ethnobotanical study has been conducted in this region to date; and (3) Lower Kheng people are poor and their engagement in the medicinal plants collection, cultivation, and marketing programs could help them generate cash income.”

Aquilaria malaccensis
Aquilaria malaccensis [Source: W. Saunders – Illustrations of the botany and other branches of the natural history of the Himalayan Mountains. Volume 2 (Public Domain)]
The research team identified 61 medicinal plants, 30 of which were found in abundance, including Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica, and Phyllanthus emblica, together known as “King of Medicine” (Mengi-Pawo) or “Three Powerful Medicines.” Another species, Aquilaria malaccensis, which is considered rare in other parts of the world, was found to be abundantly cultivated in household and community gardens throughout the region. More than 20 species were found in all the villages surveyed. These included Bombax ceiba, Canarium strictum, Cassia tora, Cautleya spicata, Choerospondias axillaris, Cinnamomum impressinervium, Erythrina arborescens, Justicia adhatoda, Knema tenuinervia, Mucuna imbricata, Otochilus lancilabius, Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis, Piper mullesua, Rhus chinensis, Stephania glabra, Symplocos sumuntia, and Tinospora cordifolia.

In their conclusion, the authors recommend further work toward sustainable development and commercialization of the region’s medicinal plants:

“Many plant species have commercial and economic values. While MSP is currently viewed as the sole domestic market for these medicinal plants, many species have international significance (especially applicable to countries that practice Tibetan Sowa Rigpa medicine and Indian Ayurvedic medicine including India, Nepal, Mongolia, Tibet, Europe, and Northern America). The communities would largely benefit by domesticating or cultivating them in the household gardens or as cash crops in their family orchards. This medicinal plants program has the potential to alleviate poverty in these three Gewog communities and could enhance the happiness, wellbeing and development in Bhutan. Since the communities consume 28 medicinal plants as food grains, spices, herbs, and fruits, it can be assumed that the local people are also deriving health benefits.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Uses, Knowledge & Conservation Status of Plants in Two Quilombolas Communities in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil


Local ecological knowledge and its relationship with biodiversity conservation among two Quilombola groups living in the Atlantic Rainforest, Brazil

Conde BE, Ticktin T, Fonseca AS, Macedo AL, Orsi TO, Chedier LM, Rodrigues E, Pimenta DS1
PLoS One. 2017 Nov 28;12(11):e0187599
PubMed Central: PMC5705149

Minas Gerais in Brazil
The state of Minas Gerais in Brazil [Source: TUBS, Wikimedia Commons]
Investigators at the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Centro de Ensino Superior de Juiz de Fora, Universidade Federal Fluminense, and Universidade Federal de São Paulo conducted an ethnobotanical and ecological survey to evaluate the uses, knowledge, and conservation status of plants in two Quilombolas (descendants of slaves of African origin) communities in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil: São Sebastião da Boa Vista and São Bento Abade in the state of Minas Gerais.

Writing in PLoS One, the team describes Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest as one of the world’s most biodiverse and most threatened biomes:

“Brazil is one of the world’s megadiverse countries, and the Atlantic rainforest, which stretches from the northeastern to the southern regions of the country, is the most biodiverse biome of Brazil, with up to 476 plant species found in one hectare. Unfortunately, the Atlantic rainforest is also one of the most threatened forest types in the world, with nearly 90% of its original area devastated. As is the case with the majority of Brazilian protected areas, the Atlantic Rainforest is also home to many traditional communities–those that have lived in one location for a long period of time, such as the Quilombolas. According to the Living Report of World Wide Fund for Nature, 90% of tropical forests worldwide are not under formal protection and millions of people living both inside and outside of reserves rely on their resources.”

Through interviews with local Quilombolas experts, the team documented 212 ethnobotanically significant species in São Sebastião da Boa Vista (including 105 native species) and 221 in São Bento Abade (96 native species).

Medicinal and technological uses were the most important uses in both communities. Some of the most culturally important medicinal species were also among the most vulnerable, among them Dalbergia hortensis and Sparattosperma leucanthum.

In their conclusion, the authors strongly recommend “development of a sustainable management plan that considers local knowledge about management and use of plants”:

“These data illustrate the rich ethnobotanical knowledge and heritage of the communities. However, our results also suggest that more than 50% of local useful species in both communities (those ranked in Category 1 for conservation priority) may be at risk if there are no plans for the management and replanting of them. Of these plants, Dalbergia hortensis is a special conservation priority because of its great cultural significance. Other species such Sparattosperma leucanthum, Lygodium volubile in SSBV, Cecropia glaziovii in SB, and Croton urucurana in both communities rank high for cultural significance and conservation priority. Based on our results, the development of a sustainable management plan that considers local knowledge about management and use of plants is essential. Developing programs to increase populations of those species at risk, including agroforestry programs can help meet the needs of producing culturally important species and of biological conservation. It is urgent that the government demarcate Quilombolas land for cultural maintenance, quality of life and preservation of nature.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

To Migrate Is Human (Why I Believe in Open Borders)


A tourist family called me over as I was walking my dog in Riverside Park today.

“Excuse me, could you tell us, is that New Jersey?”

“Yes it is. That’s the Hudson River, and on the other side is New Jersey.”

Therein lies a tale.

My twelfth great-grandfather on my father’s side was also the grandfather of Henry Hudson, the Englishman who explored the river four hundred years ago. My immigrant ancestors followed in the 1680s, first entering this country through the Virginia Colony, traveling southwest through North Carolina, and eventually settling in Tennessee’s Sequatchie Valley in the 1800s, where they mostly stayed put until after the Second World War.

My father and mother moved to Georgia a couple of years before I was born. I moved to New York City, and at the beginning of the new century took up residence with my new family just a hundred yards or so from the river explored by my long-distant kinsman.

My life story has taught me that migration is a natural and essential element of the human condition. One might even say it is what makes us human. Moreover, any efforts to stifle this profound driver of humanity are doomed to failure — although, tragically, not before they cause awful human suffering, as we are witnessing today.

To be continued.

Sequatchie Valley News – September 24, 1903



Written for the News.
The Sequatchie Valley is beautiful provided one had wings to view it by, but you positively cannot see the county for the dreadful roads.

A go-cart, a carriage, a wagon or an automobile are out of the question. Only a mule and a man who has lost all sense of feeling, physical, moral, political and religious, can travel such roads, I was going to say, but I will change it and say only a man who has infinite patience, unending endurance, and who has vowed never to break the second commandment should risk his life or his reputation upon them.

Nature gave to the valley beautiful scenery, a fertile yielding soil, and such environments should produce progressive, public-spirited men. Every man in the county who opposes any measure whatsoever that assures us good roads should be buried alive to the tune of Tom Hood’s

“Rattle his bones over the stones,
Only a poor pauper whom nobody

When Rome of old conquered the then known world, she hewed her way into every country by the building of the famous Roman roads, and civilization followed fast in the way of every Roman road.

There is nothing else under the sun so civilizing as well kept roads wherever you find them tor you can count on good schools, thritty [sic] churches, and prosperous people. The man who hauls his produce to market over a fine road holds his head more erect, carries himself more proudly than the man who has all the style thumped out of him jolting over the stones and in to the ruts. Progress and prosperity go hand in hand with good roads. Let us all join bands and girdle the county with a system of fine roads.


Read the entire newspaper at the Library of Congress.

Sequachee Valley News – August 19, 1920


Ninety per cent. of the woman colored voters of California vote while the white woman vote is only 20 per cent. Two points are involved. California went democratic and gave us a peace president, and the colored woman voter appreciates a good thing.

Why American Women Want the Ballot


New Zealand, First Country to Grant Suffrage to Women, Has Lowest Infant Mortality Rate in the World—Women Use Ballot to Further Legislation for Home and State.

In days gone by dire accusations were brought against women who dared nurse an ambition to have voice in the government of their country. Every unlovely epithet in the English dictionary—and there are several-was bestowed upon them. They were home-wreckers, child-haters, family destroyers. But year by year woman suffrage was tried out, country by country, state by state, and lo! it was discovered that woman was using her vote, not to wreck the home, to protect it; not to the hurt of children, to their great good; not to destroy the family, to strengthen and secure it. So widespread has been the discovery that opponents of woman suffrage no longer dare make these charges save in backwoods places or places that they consider backwoodsy. In view of the facts, It is to flout the intelligence of a community to tell it that to give a woman the right to protect her home and her children by a vote is to make her hate home and children. Every time and everywhere that woman gets a chance to vote she proceeds to use that vote for the benefit of home and children. Consider the record:

  • Over 300,000 babies die every year in the United States before they are one year old. The National Conservation Commission estimates that an individual is worth $2,900 to society. At this rate the 300,000 babies represent a yearly loss of $870,000,000 to the United States.
  • Five countries have a lower infant death rate than the United States. They are New Zealand, with an infant death rate of 50 per 1,000 births; Norway, 68 per 1,000; Australia, 72 per 1,000; Sweden, 72 per 1,000, and France, 78 per 1,000. The women In all five countries leading the list now have full or municipal suffrage. Women have had the vote in New Zealand for twenty years and New Zealand has the lowest Infant death rate in the world.
  • In the United States, California, a full suffrage state, is the banner Baby State. It has the highest birth rate in the Union, and a very low death rate. One of the lowest infant death rates In the United States, 47.7, is in Berkeley, California.
  • In Portland, Oregon, the infant death rate is 55.1 per 1,000 births; In Spokane, Washington, 57.7. Kansas has reduced its rate from 120 to 70 since it adopted a Public Nursing Association In 1913. Washington gave women the vote in 1910, California in 1911, Kansas and Oregon in 1912.

When, of all the civilized world, the country that has had woman suffrage the longest has the lowest death rate, and the countries with the next lowest rate all have woman suffrage, can there be a doubt that woman suffrage helps to bring about healthier living conditions for all the people?

Isn’t it evident that when mothers are represented in government and their opinions and interests are consulted, babies have a better chance? Isn’t it proved that women with the ballot do not neglect their homes and babies?

Giving the ballot to women not only helps them to do their own work more effectively, but actually increases the wealth of the nation, both in man power and in dollars and cents.

  • The lowest death rate recorded in the 1920 World Almanac figures was in equal suffrage Seattle, Wash., where In 1917 it was 6.9 per 1,000 population. The nest lowest was 7.0 per 1,000 in Boise, Idaho, in 1018, and the next was 7.3 In Berkeley, Cal., in 1917.
  • Full suffrage Colorado pays $1.43 per capita for charities, hospitals and corrections as against Florida’s $1.61.
  • Colorado has 610 prisoners per 100,000 population committed in 1910 as against Florida’s 1,307 per 100,000 population—less than half as many.
  • According to the United States census for 1910, the number of paupers in almshouses in full suffrage Kansas was 735 as against Connecticut’s 2,244.
  • According to the same census, Connecticut has the second largest number of paupers of any state in the Union, 201.3 per 100,000, the largest number being In New Hampshire, 230.2 per 100,000. Both of these are male suffrage states. Kansas has 43.5 paupers per 100,000 population. Oklahoma, another full suffrage state, has the lowest record of all, 2.9 per 100,000.

A little injustice has been done A. F. Shockley, the principal of the colored school in this district. He was teaching for $80, but asked for $10 more per month, so as to equalize his salary with that of other colored teachers of the county who have less scholars in attendance. He was denied this raise, which is equivolent [sic] to only $3.33 buying capacity, and disgusted, resigned his school. He is a teacher of ability and the difference should be paid him.


Chas. Webb, driving a Ford car at a rapid rate at Jasper last Thursday, struck the eight year-old daughter of Mrs. D. A. Lawson, the child running into the street before the automobile. She was badly bruised and a leg broken. A touching incident in connection with the affair is that the child on recovering from the anesthetic given her in setting the broken leg, asked for her father, who has been dead about a year, saying, “Where’s pappy?”


Special to the News.

  • Rain seems to be the order of the day.
  • Red Campbell was seen going down the road this morning.
  • Myrtle Pittman is going to school every day.
  • School at Marionville is progressing very fast. Have about twenty in roll now.
  • Mr. Hoback and Pete Tate went to Sequatchie to day.
  • Faster Hrice still enjoys going to the Valley on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Bill Foster and Foster Price returned to Marionville Sunday night about nine o’clock in their Ford.
  • Mr. Bill Lee went to South Pittsburg Saturday night.
  • Miss Myrtle Barker had a rainy day for coming back to Marionville Sunday.
  • Mr. Bill Tate was seen in Whitwell Friday afternoon.
  • Hugh Lewis still calls to see Miss Myrtle Pittman.
  • Wonder why Miss Maud Holoway looked so sad Sunday afternoon.
  • Mr. Norwood Dykes and Bud Hooper were out riding Friday afternoon.
  • Wonder why Arther Campbell enjoys coming to the store every afternoon. He visited the school at Marionville Monday.
  • Mr. Gilliam Barker was out here Friday.
  • Foster Bryant went to Jasper Monday.
  • Mrs. Hoback is liking the mountain fine.
  • John and Dave Barker called on the girls Saturday night.
  • They are planning to have a Box Supper at Hicks Chapel Saturday night.
  • School started at New Hope last Monday.
  • Mr. Raymond Barber called on Miss Mabel Barker.


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