Plant use in the medicinal practices known as "strict diets" in Chazuta valley (Peruvian Amazon).


AIM OF THE STUDY Strict diets are traditional medicinal practices where plant remedies are consumed with nearly fasting and with some sort of social seclusion. The aim of this work was to describe these practices of Chazuta and the use of plants within, as well as to analyse the possible functions of the last. MATERIAL AND METHODS The information was obtained through interviews to the 6.3% of the district rural adult population (140 individuals, 75% of which was considered Quechua). RESULTS In total, 122 strict diets were recorded and 106 different plant species were reported to be used. Strict diets present a characteristic structure and plant use. The main effects reported in strict diets were antinflammatory, antiinfective, brain function alteration and depuration. CONCLUSIONS Strict diets are well structured traditional medicinal practices, also with a symbolic significance in the life cycle of chazutian men. Plants used in strict diets can contribute to the main effects through antinflammation, antiinfective actions, psychoactivity and depurative related activities. The correlation between literature evidence of activity of most used plants and effects reported for the correspondent diet (i.e. in which the plant was used) are 36% for antinflammatory activity, 29% for antimicrobial activity, 18% for psychoactivity and 5% for depurative related activities. The percentages go to 77%, 64%, 73% and 32%, respectively, when literature evidences on related taxa are also considered.


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