WIT Press

Traditional Medicinal Knowledge In Cuba


Free (open access)





Page Range

101 - 110




1,310 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


I. M. Madaleno


For about a decade the Portuguese Tropical Research Institute has been investigating traditional medicinal knowledge in Latin American metropolises. In 2009 a survey was extracted from Havana, Cuba. Data sources were a sample of fifty interviews extracted from forty-seven households possessing front and backyards with medicinal species, which Cubans use to mitigate aches and pains, in two La Habana municipalities, Playa and Plaza de la Revolución, plus three extensive interviews with La Habana Vieja herb traders. The main objective was to recover ancient domestic prescriptions among urban gardeners and believers in plant therapy in order to create a database on ancestral medicinal practices able to help the less wealthy Latin American populations deal with health problems. Keywords: medicinal plant species, Cuba, traditional non-conventional therapies. 1 Introduction Traditional knowledge of medicinal and aromatic plant species is essential for the development of ecologically, culturally and economically sustainable urban and periurban systems. For approximately eleven years the Portuguese Tropical Research Institute (IICT) has been interviewing traditional healers, urban gardeners, periurban farmers, medicinal herb traders and plant therapists in Latin America, in order to assess usage of local resources and have built-up databases of local knowledge that might provide future generations with alternative ways to deal with health problems. Research also focuses on the socio-economic conditions required for the sustainable management of natural resources, in particular the native vegetable species. In relation to the usefulness of urban gardens, it is important to stress that soil cover reduces erosion and diminishes


medicinal plant species, Cuba, traditional non-conventional therapies