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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
Author, Analytic
Mitchell, S.; Ahmad, M.H.
Author Role
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Author Affiliation
Biotechnology Centre
Paper/Section Title
Protecting our medicinal plant heritage: The making of a new national treasure
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Connective Phrase
In
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Place of Publication
Kingston, Jamaica
Publisher Name
Institute of Jamaica
Date of Publication
2006
Date of Copyright
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Volume ID
29
Location in Work
28-33
Extent of Work
80
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Abstract
The aim of this article is to introduce some of the Jamaican medicinal plants presently in the medicinal plant garden of the University of the West Indies, and some of the recipes we have gathered on our field trips across Jamaica. The plants in this article are well known, and so many of the recipes. This should not be surprising, as we have discovered that between 80 and 1000 per cent of Jamaicans use some combination of medicinal plants to heal and enhance their health, both externally and internally. We have discovered several instances where the scientific names were confused, and several incidences where our local name was not the name of the plant in commerce. Examples of this are the Jamaican peppermint (Satureja viminea), which is not the plant used to prepare peppermint oil, which is instead the Mentha piperita. Jamaican rosemary (Croton linearis) is also not the rosemary of commerce, which is the Rosmarinus officinalis. It is therefore important to have visual record of our medicinal plants along with the correct scientific names that correspond to the herbarium record of each plant. In this article, we wish to record thirty of the more common medicinal plants from our collection, which we hope will eventually include at least the 366 presently recorded medicinal plants of Jamaica (the list includes plants identified as medicinal by Asprey and Thorton,1 by other scientists at the University of the West Indies, and by fieldwork). The accuracy of the scientific names of these plants was verified by making a search for them in the herbariums of the Department of Botany at the University of the West Indies and the Institute of Jamaica. While there is often more than one local name for each plant, only the most common local name is given in this article. Recipes listed are those found during our fieldwork, but space does not allow full details and they will require verification. Other local recipes can be found in Common Medicinal Plants of Portland, Jamaica.2 Scientific investigations is increasingly verifying Jamaican folk uses - with one or more phytochemicals being attributed to each use. Phytochemicals present in Jamaican medicinal plants can be found in Jamaican Folk Medicine: A source of Healing.3 Medicinal plants and their associated recipes can be added to this collection by any Jamaican, as this gene bank now represents a treasure of Jamaica accessible to all jamaicans. The collection gives us a chance to get reacquainted with our folk botanical heritage.....
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