TRAMIL Ethnopharmacological Survey: Knowledge Distribution of Medicinal Plant Use in the Southeast Region of Puerto Rico

José A. Alvarado-Guzmán, Jannette Gavillán-Suárez, Lionel Germosén-Robineau


Background: TRAMIL network aims to understand, validate and expand health practices based on the use of medicinal plants in the Caribbean, a “biodiversity hotspots” due to high species endemism, intense development pressure and habitat loss. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to document both the medicinal plants that are frequently used to treat health conditions that are prevalent in the southeastern region of the archipelago of Puerto Rico and the trends in medicinal plant use among the study population. Methods: An ethnopharmacological survey was conducted in the study region. The results were analyzed using univariate and multivariate statistical analyses. Results: Overall, 118 herbal remedies were recorded as being used to treat depression, nervousness, chronic sinusitis, gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, allergic rhinitis, rhinofaryngitis, asthma, arthritis and migraine. The plant species with significant use were Citrus aurantium L., Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle, Pluchea carolinensis (Jacq.) G. Don in Sweet, and Mentha piperita L. The use of medicinal plants is more frequent among single women with a high educational level a trend similar to the use of CAM in the US. Conclusion: Ethnopharmacological knowledge and the use of herbal remedies is decreasing in the study region due to an increase in the use of conventional medical care and to self-medication with over-the-counter pharmaceutical products. Four botanical species with significant uses that were not previously recorded in the Caribbean Herbal Pharmacopoeia have been identified. This report will be followed by the scientific validation and toxicity studies of these plant species and the TRADIF activities in the study region.


Puerto Rico, TRAMIL ethnopharmacological survey, urban use of medicinal plants

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