Ethnobiology & Health

Andrew Flachs
Proposal Type: 
Live 75 minute session - which includes 6 speakers/discussant timeslots.
Session Date and Time: 
Friday, 14 May, 2021 - 14:45 to 16:00
Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Olubunmi - Lagos State University.

This study was conducted at Apa town, a suburban area in Badagry Local Government area of Lagos State, Nigeria. The aim was to identify plants used for medicinal purposes in the study area and recommend strategies for their conservation. Six plots were randomly selected in the study area and transect method was used. A total of 103 plant species belonging to 52 families were identified. They include trees, shrubs, climbers and herbs and are used for treatment of different diseases and ailments. Some are also used as insectides, pesticides and as anti-inflammatory agent. Effective conservation strategies include proper training of locals on collection techniques, allocation of communal lands for medicinal plants farms and creating awareness by Government and relevant agencies on the need to conserve these medicinal plants.





Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Giulia - Ca' Foscari University of Venice
, Olga - Ca' Foscari University of Venice
, Raivo - University of Gastronomic Sciences
, Valeria - Ca' Foscari University of Venice
, Natalia - Ca' Foscari University of Venice
, Julia - Ca' Foscari University of Venice
, Nataliya - Ca' Foscari University of Venice
, Andrea - University of Gastronomic Sciences
, Gabriele - University of Gastronomic Sciences
, Renata - Ca' Foscari University of Venice

In many societies, livestock significantly contributes to people’s food security. In the rural contexts of Eastern Europe, the health care of a family used to extend until recently also to that of their livestock. We investigated current and past ethnoveterinary practices in nine rural borderland areas of Eastern Europe and discussed what factors may have contributed to the persistence/erosion of ethnoveterinary knowledge in those contexts. Over 500 interviews conducted in eight countries revealed the use of over 90 plants for ethnoveterinary purposes, although, in most contexts, ethnoveterinary knowledge is quickly eroding mainly due to the decline in family farming following major socio-political changes and centralization/intensification of livestock husbandry. In contrast, in the Carpathian region, ethnoveterinary practices persist likely due to its geographical isolation. We conclude that such vanishing knowledge and practices can serve as a key as they have the potential to improve animal welfare while providing healthier animal products.

Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Andrew - Purdue University
, Joseph - Universitat Pompeu Fabra-CSIC

Fermented foods are produced from microbial reactions that depend on local environmental conditions, fermentation practices, and the manner in which foods are prepared and consumed. These interactions are of special interest to ethnobiologists because they link investigations of how people shape and know the world around them. In this presentation, we report on data collected at a fermentation revivalist workshop in Tennessee. To ask how fermentation traditions are learned and influence macro and micro ecologies, we conducted interviews and participated in a four-day craft fermentation workshop, and then collected both fermented food products and stool samples from workshop participants eating those fermented foods. We identify 25 genera as having likely crossed between foods and guts, report that broad categories of foods have similar microbiological ecologies with variation within them, and connect these genetic results to subtle variations in preparation, flavor, and culturally defined taste.

Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Amy - Wenatchee Valley College

Research was conducted to understand ethnoveterinary medicine used for poultry in a protected mangrove ecosystem located on the Southern Pacific coast of Guatemala. Here, poultry rearing is an important livelihood for women, but access to veterinary services is limited. There is a need to understand local animal healthcare beliefs and practices to improve poultry health. A combination of ethnographic interviews (n=35) and freelist interviews (n=24) were conducted in two communities. Ethnographic research indicated that 40% of households use home remedies for poultry treatment, 57% exclusively use human pharmaceuticals or veterinary medicines, and 3% rely on other methods. Interviews indicate that people are incorporating human antibiotics into their ethnoveterinary practices, which may be replacing knowledge of plant remedies. The antibiotics are readily available locally even though they remain unsuccessful to treat common illnesses for poultry. Human antibiotic use for animals is of concern due to the potential for antimicrobial resistance.

Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Balram - Tribhuvan University, Siddhanath Science Campus

The present study focuses on traditional usage of animals and plants species for medicinal purpose and indigenous knowledge system existing of Rana Tharu a sub-group of Tharu in Nepal. A total of 24 animal species and 73 plant species are used by Rana Tharu people to treat 26 and 45 different ailments, respectively.The elder people also believe and tended to have a positive view toward the conservation of traditional medicine. However, knowledge is transferred orally from one generation to the next by traditional healers. Lack of interest among younger generations and no written records has led to the loss of vital information. Similarly, existence of knowledge is being threatened due to change in life style, easy access to health services, and few local healers left of the Rana Tharu. Thus, in order to protect their knowledge, this study suggests additional awareness dissemination, further documentation, perseveration and promotion of these teachings.

Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Denise M. - University of Puget Sound

Increasing production of traditional medicines worldwide has created increasing pressure on resources, since ingredients used in traditional medicines are generally wild-harvested. In addition to harvesting pressures, conversion of harvesting lands into agricultural lands, overgrazing in harvesting areas, and climate change are also adding pressure to medicinal resources. In this presentation I explore the practice of substitution (tshab) in Tibetan medicine formulation as a resilient, adaptive strategy utilized historically and currently in times of resource scarcity and pressure. This effective resource management strategy is under threat from medical standardization, where flexible use of resources in medicine formulas is not allowed. I argue that to avoid the rigidity trap of standardization, medicine production regulations in China should allow for substitutions in order to help avoid resource collapse.