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01.12.2016 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 1/2016

Medicinal plants sold at traditional markets in southern Ecuador

Zeitschrift:
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine > Ausgabe 1/2016
Autoren:
Fani Tinitana, Montserrat Rios, Juan Carlos Romero-Benavides, Marcelino de la Cruz Rot, Manuel Pardo-de-Santayana

Background

Traditional markets around the world have been recognized as places for the trade of plants and their derivative products and have become exchange posts where cultures are expressed through regional trade [ 111]. Additionally, markets are a meeting place to display a diverse array of minerals, animals, and plants sold locally, which come from neighboring communities that are culturally and ecologically diverse [ 4, 12]. In this way, literature on traditional markets and traded medicinal plant species with their value chain flows requires more attention from scientists, because ethnobotanical information is rather scarce.
Current ethnobotanical research at traditional markets across continents, considering Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America, contributes to the understanding of plant diversity through the trade of medicinal plant species and their cultural value [ 1345]. In this way, market surveys can help to understand regional networks of producers, sellers, healers, and consumers by the supply and demand of medicinal plants and their derivative products [ 4]. The total number of inventoried medicinal plant species at a particular traditional market is important, but they do not necessarily represent all species used in the traditional medicine of a specific human group [ 5, 8].
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the wellbeing of 80 % of the population in developing countries depends mostly on the use of medicinal plants through traditional medicine, spiritual therapies, and ancestral healing practices [ 46]. This fact is particularly evident in the ancestral practices of traditional communities living in rural areas. In Latin America, ethnobotanical studies of traditional markets and their history are needed, because the trade of medicinal plants and their derived products has local, national, regional, and international importance, especially given their growing demand [ 15, 47]. In the Andean-Amazonian region including Ecuador, traditional markets existed before Spanish colonization [ 48]. Throughout the Spanish conquest, a new kind of market appeared within public areas named “tiánguez” for the exchange of goods; they were also strategic points for bartering, conversation, and the sharing of life experiences [ 47, 48].
For the Andean region, published studies of traditional markets that emphasize ethnobotanical aspects have been conducted in Venezuela [ 11], Colombia [ 18], Bolivia [ 19, 43], Peru [ 4979], and Ecuador [ 80]. Within Ecuador, it is estimated that 273 medicinal plants species were sold in the herb stalls (“puestos de hierbas”) of corresponding traditional markets, which were located at six provincial capitals in the Andean and Amazonian regions [ 80]. These capital cities, represented by Ambato, Quito, Riobamba, Nueva Loja, Puyo, and Tena, are the main points of trade for medicinal plants and their derivatives; from these places, commerce routes begin to spread throughout the country [ 81, 82].
More studies are needed to investigate the medicinal plants sold in Ecuadorian markets [ 8085] to determine which medicinal plant species are most sold and how these are related to local health disorders. This is particularly true for the southern region of the country and specifically for the Loja province, because although it is a region rich in plant diversity, it is a region that is deficient in traditional market studies. In this area, only a few ethnobotanical surveys have been conducted, particularly on how the “mestizo” population and indigenous communities use medicinal plant resources from wild collection and/or homegardens [ 9, 52, 8689].
Nowadays, even basic inventoried information accounting for the origins of medicinal plant resources and quantities of fresh and/or dry material sold is lacking as well as consumers’ usage of these products. Studies of traditional markets are necessary in Ecuador, because large gaps in knowledge on flora trade persist. This research at Loja province includes the following objectives: 1) to create a novel list of medicinal plants sold at 33 traditional markets; 2) to establish medicinal plants use agreement amongst vendors with the Factor of Informant Consensus (FIC) [ 90]; and 3) to determine the most sold medicinal plant species using the Fidelity Level (FL) [ 91].

Methods

Study area

The study was carried out in 33 traditional markets within the Loja province, situated in southern Ecuador, between 3°19’56”S to 4°44’36”S latitude and 79°04’28”W to 80°29’03”W longitude (Fig.  1). This region occupies 11.042 km 2, which is 4 % of the national territory, and borders to the south with Peru [ 92]. The total population of the province in 2010 was 448,966 inhabitants, consisting of 96.3 % “mestizo” Spanish speakers, and 3.7 % Saraguro indigenous people, who speak the Spanish and Kichwa languages [ 93].
The Loja province has abundant hydrographic features, like rivers that flow into the Pacific catchments basin. The province is dominated by the Andean mountain range, which gives rise to a very irregular topography, and altitudes between 120 and 3800 m. This region shows considerable variation in local climate, with conditions represented by tropical dry to the west, subtropical humid in the central area, and cold humid at the east [ 92].

Markets

Medicinal plants were sold at 15 established markets and 18 open markets located in 13 of the 16 cities in Loja province (Fig.  1). The established market, known locally as “mercado”, includes from five to ten subsectors; the most frequent of these include the following: personal use items, electronic equipment, groceries, cooked foods, dairy products, meat products, legumes, fruits, and fresh or dry raw medicinal plants. Besides the main established markets, open markets occur weekly and are known locally as “feria libre”. Vendors at open markets are rural harvesters and/or small retailers who sell medicinal plants, fresh local products such as cheese, legumes, fruits, and vegetables; they commerce hens and guinea pigs.
A variety of actors were involved in the sale of medicinal plants at the studied markets. The majority of these actors included rural harvesters, small retailers, formal, and informal vendors (Table  1). The criteria applied to determine the types of each vendor in a market was based on how they auto-recognized their own role. The medicinal plant vendor in each market was essentially a person who used a specific know-how to trade bunches of medicinal plants, because each one is well familiarized with the therapeutic applications of every plant species sold. It is important to clarify that all interviewed vendors were just sellers and not healers.
Table 1
Kinds of vendors of medicinal plants and their role in traditional markets at Loja province
Vendor
Definition
Rural harvesters
Individuals who come from the rural areas surrounding the main cities of Loja province, bringing fresh medicinal plants produced and/or collected by them in nature and/or their homegardens. They always trade plant bunches in large quantities to formal vendors or small quantities to customers. They operate at open markets and/or established markets.
Small retailers
Individuals who come from rural areas surrounding the main cities of Loja province, bringing fresh medicinal plants harvested from nature or gathered from their homegardens. They occasionally go to the cities to trade plant bunches to the customers and/or to formal vendors in small quantities at open markets.
Formal vendors
Individuals who legally hold an operating license from the province government to rent a stall in the established market for trading legumes, fruits, vegetables and bunches of dry or fresh medicinal plants.
Informal vendors
Individuals who come from rural or metropolitan areas of Loja province, and are market vendors on foot. They are public resellers of fresh specific medicinal plant bunches in small quantities at established and/or open markets.

Structured ethnobotanical questionnaires

Surveys of medicinal plants sold at 15 established markets and 18 open markets were conducted in the selected 13 cities within the Loja province between 2007 and 2013. During the visits, the first author carried out interviews with a total of 196 market vendors. After explaining the aim of the study, all vendors of medicinal plants from the 33 traditional markets were asked to participate in the research. The interviewed vendors were eighteen years or older; also, they were “mestizos” (95 %) and Saraguro indigenous people (5 %), and the large majority consisted of women (97 %).
Medicinal plants were bought from each vendor, and interviews were structured as ethnobotanical questionnaires in Spanish, being conducted by the main author with the 196 market vendors. In the field research, the first author respected the vendors who preferred to remain anonymous. The questionnaires aimed to record the specimens’ information on the following: vernacular names, medicinal uses, plant morphological structures sold, and therapeutic prescriptions. All the vendors who decided to collaborate were interviewed according to mutually agreed conditions and under Ecuador’s rights, especially with regards to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB) [ 94].
This research was conducted according to the code of ethics of the International Society for Ethnobiology (ISE) [ 95], which is also endorsed by the Society for Economic Botany (SEB). The Principle of Respect, numbered 9 in the code, recognizes the necessity for researchers to respect the integrity, morality, and spirituality of the culture, traditions, and relationships of indigenous people, traditional societies, and local communities within their worlds.

Voucher collection and nomenclature

The nomenclature of plant families, genera, and species follows the Catalogue of Vascular Plants of Ecuador [ 96]. It was also compared to the TROPICOS database [ 97]. The 160 species were identified using the available volumes of the Flora of Ecuador [ 98101] and reference material in the herbaria of the “Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja” (HUTPL) and “Universidad Nacional de Loja” (LOJA). The specimens were registered under the collection series FT (Fani Tinitana), and vouchers were deposited at HUTPL. The collection of botanical specimens sold in the 33 traditional markets authorized the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment (Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador N° 001-2013-IC-FLO-DPAP-MAE).

Quantitative analysis

All the local therapeutic uses of medicinal plants were grouped in 12 medical categories (Table  2), which were adapted from the catalogue of International Classification of Diseases made by the WHO [ 102]. In this research, each category proposed by the WHO allows grouping and systematizing the data related to ‘illness’ and ‘disease’ as well as to compare the results among other regional and international studies related to the markets’ ethnobotany [ 102, 103]. Additionally, WHO recognizes in each medical category the health practice systems of traditional populations [ 46]. In this study, ‘illness’ refers to being ill as conceived from a sociocultural personal perception, while ‘disease’ was considered from the biomedical perspective [ 104].
Table 2
Therapeutic uses of medicinal plants to treat local ailments at Loja province
Medical category
Local illnesses and diseases recognized by market vendors
Circulatory system
Anemia, bad blood circulation, high cholesterol, and high or low blood pressure
Culture-bound syndromes
“Calor encerrado”, evil air, evil eye, fright, “espanto de cerro”, and “pena de ausencia” or “tirisia” (see definition of syndromes in Tene et al. 2007) [ 88] and Rios et al. 2007 [ 104]
Dermatological system
Acne, fungus infection, gangrene, rash, wounds, nosebleed, hair loss, and dandruff
Digestive system
Diarrhea, constipation, sickness, hangover, flatulence, liver disorder (included inflammation), stomach infection and pain, and tooth pain
General disorders
Inflammation, cancer, fever, headache, and sunstroke
Genitourinary system
Kidney ailments (included inflammation and infection), and prostate and urinary tract disorders
Gynecological system
Vaginal disorders, abdominal pain, menstrual cramps and related disorders, ovary inflammation, and promoting labor and childbirth recovery
Hormonal system
Diabetes and galactogogue
Musculoskeletal system
Bone fracture, bruise, rheumatism, sprain, and pains
Nervous system
Nervousness
Respiratory system
Cold, cough, flu, sore throat, and measles
Sensorial system
Ear pain and eye infection
Information recorded in the structured ethnobotanical questionnaires related to the collected 160 taxa and their medicinal uses were recorded into a data matrix for quantitative analysis. The FIC index was used to measure consensus among vendors regarding the therapeutic use of each medicinal plant [ 106111]; it shows the level of homogeneity among information provided by different vendors. The FIC was calculated according to the following formula: FIC = (N ur – N t)/(N ur – 1), where N ur refers to the number of therapeutic use reports, grouped in a medical category, from market vendors for a particular medicinal plant, and N t refers to the total number of medicinal plant species used in a particular medical category [ 90, 106, 107]. The FIC values range between 0 and 1, where 1 indicates the highest level of market vendor consensus.
The relative healing potential of each reported medicinal plant sold at 33 traditional markets was evaluated with the FL index [ 91112]. This indicates the percentage of vendors claiming the use of a certain medicinal plant for the same therapeutic use, which was grouped in a specific medical category [ 113, 114]. The FL was calculated according to the following formula: FL (%) = (I p × 100/I u), where I p is the number of market vendors who independently claim a therapeutic use of a medicinal plant species to treat a specific illness or disease, and I u is the total number of market vendors that sold the same medicinal plant to treat any given illness or disease.

Results and discussion

Medicinal plants sold at traditional markets

This research registered 160 medicinal plant species traded in 33 traditional markets within the Loja province, which were grouped in 123 genera and 57 vascular plant families (Table  5.). In traditional markets at La Paz (Bolivia) and Cusco (Peru), a total of 129 [ 19] and 152 [ 117] medicinal plant species were respectively reported; in contrast, 400 plant species were recorded in Trujillo and Chiclayo (Peru) [ 22]. When compared to these previous studies, the number of medicinal plant species sold in markets within the Loja province represents an intermediate value.
The dominant plant family was Asteraceae with 19 species that represented 11.8 % of the total species, followed by 16 species of Lamiaceae (10 %), 8 species of Piperaceae (5 %) and Pteridacea (5 %), 7 species of Amaranthaceae (4.4 %) and Solanaceae (4.4 %), 6 species of Onagraceae (3.8 %), and 5 species of Rosaceae (3.1 %) (Fig.  2). Other studies of Andean highland traditional markets also recorded Asteraceae as the family with the highest number of medicinal plant species, and Solanaceae and Lamiaceae were consistently among the most frequent families [ 11, 43, 117].
The most frequent medicinal plant life forms were herbs (61.1 %) and shrubs (32.2 %), followed by trees (5.5 %) and lianas (1.2 %). This data was similar to results from other studies of highland markets in Bolivia [ 19] and Peru [ 117], where the herb habit represents a large percentage due to its random occurrence, high diversity, and endemism. Herbs such as weeds, which were abundantly available in relation to other plant life forms, are an important source of food and remedies [ 118]. This is because they contain one or more bioactive principles and a wide variety of highly active secondary metabolic compounds [ 119], making these plants potentially more effective for medicinal applications [ 120].

Geographic status of medicinal plant species sold at traditional markets

The medicinal plants native to Ecuador belonged to 92 species (57.5 %) [ 82, 86, 88] and were brought to traditional markets from mountain forests, cloud forests, scrub vegetation, and the Andean paramo [ 121, 122]. Of the 160 species, 6 (3.8 %) were endemic to Ecuador highlands [ 123], corresponding to the families Asclepiadaceae ( Orthosia ellemanniae), Asteraceae ( Achyro clinehallii, Aequatorium jamesonii and Aristeguietia persicifolia), and Onagraceae ( Fuchsia harlingii and Fuchsia loxensis), whereas 62 species (38.7 %) were introduced from different regions of the world. In relation to the role of humans in the management of medicinal plant species, the material sold in the studied traditional markets belonged to homegardens (cultivation) and natural vegetation (wild).
The five most sold medicinal plant species were very well known by vendors for their therapeutic uses and health properties. These were Aerva saguinolenta, Equisetum bogotense, Matricaria recutita, Oreocallis grandiflora, and Ruta graveolens. The trade of these five taxa was linked to the treatment of the most common illnesses and diseases present within the Loja province, related to the respiratory system, genitourinary system, digestive system, and culture-bound syndromes (e.g. “evil eye”, “evil air”, “frights”, and “calor encerrado”). It is important to stress that Matricaria recutita and Ruta graveolens are widely traded and used throughout South America and the Old World [ 19, 62, 124], because of their magical and medicinal qualities for the preparation of remedies used in therapies of soul and body.
The five plant species most commonly used in medicinal beverages, locally known as “horchata” (herbal mixture tea) and “agua aromática” (herbal tea), were native and cultivated [ 96]. These were Aloysia triphylla, Amaranthus hybridus, Pelargonium graveolens, Equisetum bogotense, and Oreocallis grandiflora. The availability of these plant species was firstly revealed by their spatial accessibility, explained by their wide spread distribution and cultivation; secondly, it was explicated by their seasonal stock and the quantities of plant material sold throughout the year. Similarly to Venezuela, Peru, and Bolivia, these plant species are used individually or in herbal mixtures infusions [ 11, 19, 65], especially to treat different kinds of afflictions related to the nervous, digestive, and genitourinary systems.

Vernacular names of medicinal plant species traded in Loja province

A total of 204 vernacular names were recorded for the 160 medicinal plant species; 59.4 % of the species had at least one name, 36.1 % had two names and 4.5 % had three names. Most of the vernacular names used to identify each plant were in Spanish, followed by a few in Kichwa language from the Andean highlands. The name given to the whole plant is the same name given to the plant’s morphological structure. In the case of gathering wild plant species belonging to the Malva genus or cultivated hybrids of the Fuchsia genus, the vendors recognized all the species in the genus with the same vernacular name.
The vernacular names of the medicinal plants compiled in this study were compared to others from previous studies conducted at other traditional markets in Bolivia [ 19], Peru [ 22, 77], and Ecuador [ 83] as well as ethnobotanical surveys in the Andean highlands [ 125] and Spain [ 124]. The most common five medicinal plant species that share the same cosmopolitan vernacular names were Dysphania ambrosioides (“paico”), Equisetum giganteum (“cola de caballo”), Matricaria recutita (“manzanilla”), Melissa officinalis (“toronjil”), and Rosmarinus officinalis (“romero”).

Medicinal plants: morphological structures and therapeutic administration

The therapeutic administration recommended by the market vendors revealed the 13 kinds of medicinal plant morphological structures sold, where each one was used to treat a human organ and/or fluid. The most frequently traded morphological structures were branches for 44 medicinal plant species (27.5 %), followed by leaves (25.6 %), flowers (16.9 %), and plants without roots (16.9 %). The less frequently sold morphological structures, available only at 18 open markets, were bark, fruit, inflorescence, latex, seed, stem, style, root, and wood.
The research identified 20 modes of therapeutic administration (Table  5): 14 were prepared using fresh plant material sold at 18 open markets, and six used dried plant material sold at 15 established markets. Oral was the most frequent mode of therapeutic administration (83.8 %), prepared with fresh and/or dry plants, especially in a drink locally known as “bajeada”. Compared to other Andean markets, oral infusions have similar preparations in Bolivia [ 19] and Cuzco [ 117].
Other therapeutic administrations were rubbing (16.9 %), topical applications (8.7 %), hot baths after childbirth (5.6 %), and cleaning wounds (5 %). The majority of the prescribed medicinal plants given to patients by vendors were applied without any standardized doses. Only a few elder vendors made warnings about adverse side effects of some medicinal plants, but they never mentioned antidotes. The six most common orally administered medicinal plant species were Aerva sanguinolenta, Amaranthus hybridus, Equisetum bogotense, Matricaria recutita, Melissa officinalis, and Oreocallis grandiflora.
The therapeutic administration, locally known with the term “zumo”, generally refers to the extract of a plant morphological structure or fruit pure juice, thus differentiating “zumo” from “jugo” (juice); the latter is associated with the fruit diluted in an amount of water [ 104]. The five most popular medicinal plant species sold for “zumo” were Aerva sanguinolenta (plant without root) , Cardamine bonariensis (plant without root), Peperomia blanda (plant without root), Tradescantia zebrina (leave), and Verbena litoralis (branch).

Factor of Informant Consensus (FIC)

In studies related to medicinal plants, the FIC index provides a measure of reliability for the specified statement of evidence regarding the agreement amongst a specific human group [ 90, 126]. The 160 medicinal plants sold in 33 traditional markets to treat different human ailments were classified into 12 medical categories, with a FIC value assigned to each (Table  3). Three medical categories shared the highest value for FIC = 0.92, which showed a high level of agreement amongst the 196 vendors for 57 medicinal plant species sold to treat the digestive, dermatological, and sensorial systems.
Table 3
Medical categories and Factor of Informant Consensus among vendors of traditional markets at Loja province
N o
Medical category a
Number of medicinal plant species
Percentage of all medicinal plant species
Use citations bymarket vendor
Percentage of all use citations
FIC b
1
Digestive system
37
21.89
437
12.31
0.92
2
Dermatological system
16
9.47
186
5.24
0.92
3
Sensorial system
4
2.37
39
1.10
0.92
4
Culture-bound syndromes
34
20.12
359
10.11
0.91
5
Nervous system
20
11.83
215
6.05
0.91
6
Respiratory system
29
17.16
321
9.04
0.91
7
Genitourinary system
29
17.16
313
8.81
0.91
8
Circulatory system
16
9.47
123
3.46
0.88
9
General disorders
46
27.22
352
9.91
0.87
10
Gynecological system
28
16.57
180
5.07
0.85
11
Musculoskeletal system
13
7.69
71
2.00
0.83
12
Hormonal system
7
4.14
33
0.93
0.81
aThe medical categories were adapted from International Classification of Diseases catalogue provided by World Health Organization and applied to group 160 medicinal plant species sold at 33 traditional markets within the Loja province, southern Ecuador
b FIC Factor of Informant Consensus
The digestive system has the highest value of used citations by 437 market vendors, who report 37 medicinal plant species. This is related to a high incidence of gastrointestinal ailments in southern Ecuador [ 86, 127], which may also be associated to stomach cancer, as this is the second most important cause of mortality in the country [ 128]. When comparing the large FIC values obtained in this study for the digestive system to the most important medical categories reported in previous surveys worldwide [ 113, 115, 116, 129], the results reveal the importance of medicinal plant species in treating ailments of the digestive system, such as gastric complaints and abdominal pains.
Additionally, therapeutic uses related with the other two medical categories, culture-bound syndromes and general disorders, had relatively high values of use citations by market vendors. The medicinal plant species responsible for this particular status was Ruta graveolens, used to treat seven psychosomatic complaints, and Equisetum bogotense, used in five common ailments. As it was confirmed by participative observation, local people believe that these two medicinal plant species were efficient in the treatment of 12 particular local ailments, revealing the persistence of cultural believes syndromes and the necessity of preventive medicine to avoid common ailments.
Even the lowest FIC values registered in this study, which included hormonal system (0.81), musculoskeletal system (0.83), and gynecological system (0.85), are large when compared to other studies that use this same index [ 106, 107, 110, 111, 130]. These low FIC values show a low agreement amongst medicinal plant market vendors, specifically in the trade of medicinal plant species associated to the treatment of the symptoms related to these ailments. This data contrasts with the results of a market study in Venezuela [ 30], where a FIC = 0.91 was registered for the gynecological system, as obtained with 25 interviewed market vendors.
The FIC values between 0.81 and 0.92 demonstrate the strong levels of consensus amongst 196 vendors in the multiple uses of the 160 medicinal plant species sold. Incidentally, even when the taxa number prescribed for a specific illness or disease varied, the majority of the 33 traditional markets had a common pool of regional flora sold to clients within the 12 medical categories. As in Bolivia [ 19] and Peru [ 125], the most common medicinal plant species sold were for symptoms related to the digestive system, nervous system, respiratory system, and genitourinary system.

Fidelity Level (FL)

The FL index determined 11 culturally important medicinal plant species in the local population of the Loja province (Table  4), as based on the reported uses by 40 or more market vendors to treat 53 illnesses and diseases grouped in 12 medical categories. It was also useful for highlighting the most important species sold in each medical category. In this analysis, the 160 medicinal plant species mentioned by market vendors were considered, and the FL was calculated for each one. A FL of 100 % for a specific medicinal plant species indicates that all of the plant use reports mentioned the same therapeutic administrations to treat an illness or disease.
Table 4
Most used medicinal plants species for medical categories based on highest fidelity level at Loja province
N o
Medicinal plant species
Medical category a
I p
I u
FL value (%) b
1
Matricaria recutita L.
Digestive system
57
57
100
2
Gaiadendron punctatum (Ruiz & Pav.) G. Don
Respiratory system
44
44
100
3
Ruta graveolens L.
Culture-bound syndromes
41
46
89.1
4
Melissa officinalis L.
Nervous system
58
85
68.2
5
Equisetum bogotense Kunth
General disorders
78
116
67.2
6
Amaranthus hybridus L.
Circulatory system
47
73
64.4
7
Viola tricolor L.
Dermatological system
46
76
60.5
8
Borago officinalis L.
Respiratory system
49
120
40.8
9
Oreocallis grandiflora (Lam.) R. Br.
Genitourinary system
40
107
37.4
10
Sambucus nigra L.
Respiratory system
65
186
34.9
11
Aerva sanguinolenta (L.) Blume
Gynecological system
78
238
32.8
aThe medical categories were adapted from International Classification of Diseases catalogue provided by World Health Organization and applied to 160 medicinal plant species sold at 33 traditional markets within the Loja province, southern Ecuador
I p = Number of market vendors who independently cited the importance of a specific illness or disease
I u = Total number of market vendors
bFL value % = Fidelity Level value percentage (0 = the least, 100 = the highest efficiency)
Two medicinal plant species had a FL = 100 %, Matricaria recutita and Gaiadendrum punctatum, because they were used consistently for ailments in the digestive system and respiratory system, respectively. This may be due to their greater efficacy in alleviating symptoms and the persistence of ancestral wisdom beliefs in the local population. These two species have considerable agreement amongst market vendors on their particular use and credibility and therefore could be further analyzed for developing pharmafood or pharmaceutical products.
The market vendors had a tendency to rely on 11 medicinal plant species to treat ailments related to nine medical categories. The most important seven had an FL > 60 % and represented Matricaria recutita, Gaiadendron punctatum, Ruta graveolens, Melissa officinalis, Equisetum bogotense, Amaranthus hybridus, and Viola tricolor. All these medicinal plant species should be studied to determine the efficacy and safety of all local reported medical uses and also evaluated by phytochemical and pharmacological tests as well as bioactivity essays and toxicity studies.

Conclusions

Within the Loja province, people continue to use traditional medicine by consuming particular medicinal plant species sold at local markets. This also shows that sociocultural customs are strongly expressed in ancestral practices of wellbeing. Proof of the former was found by analyzing responses from 196 vendors who sold 160 fresh or dried medicinal plant species material to treat a wide spectrum of illnesses and diseases. The plant resources functioned as palliatives or, in some cases, curatives to both somatic and psychosomatic health afflictions. Nowadays in Ecuador, all stake-holders related with dynamics of traditional markets networks (e.g., all kinds of vendors and local people), who are frequently using medicinal plants require detailed research for a safety and serious use.
In the case of culture-bound syndromes plus complications with a diversity of systems such as digestive, sensorial, dermatological, respiratory, genitourinary and/or nervous, there are usually no precise therapeutical prescriptions. The separation between illnesses and diseases is very small, especially with regards to what the therapeutic administration and medical treatment should be. An example is the Ruta graveolens based-remedy, which is used to relieve “evil eye”, “evil air”, “frights”, and “calor encerrado” plus menstrual disorders.
The agreement among 196 market vendors in the use of seven specific most sold medicinal plant species for the 12 medical categories is fairly high, especially when the largest values of FL (60.5 %–100 %) and FIC (0.81–0.92) indexes are combined. A total of seven plant species with a high FL value for treating gastro-intestinal diseases are under investigation for their pharmacological properties by the Applied Chemical Department of the UTPL research team.
For future efforts, it should be important to focus on correlating the values of FL and FIC with the incidence of local ailments, as this will be useful to establish public health policies related with the trade of medicinal plant species. This initiative will be effective to support traditional medicine and its therapeutic repertoire. The first step will be to choose the medicinal plant species with widespread and consistent medicinal use in southern Ecuador and to study their therapeutical applications with physicians and scientists, primarily to identify bioactive compounds.
The evidence presented in this study reaffirms the relationship between ancestral wisdom and traditional medicine, particularly in local markets within the Loja province. In fact, it is important to stress how medicinal plant resources are crucial for local people in 13 cities within the Loja province; also, it is important to understand why a high percentage of them practice auto-medication. Reasons for the maintenance of traditional markets include lower cost of plant products, confidence in traditional medicine, and/or sociocultural environment.
This research is the first contribution to understanding from the ethnobotanical point of view the human-plant dynamics of traditional markets within the Loja province, where medicinal plants have a substantial role in the lives of local people. The trade demand of medicinal plants and their derivatives over the next few years could increase, leading to the over-harvesting of wild plant species and could perhaps even endanger natural populations, (e.g., Oreocallis grandiflora). Sustainable management of wild medicinal plants is important for their diversity conservation and in order to avoid their extinction, particularly in the case of highly used species in traditional medicine.

Acknowledgments

The first author was supported by a doctoral fellowship with the “Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja” and the “Secretaría de Educación Superior Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación”, and a grant from the “Universidad Politécnica de Madrid” (UPM-BSCH 2007–2008).
We extend our gratitude to the 196 vendors of the 33 traditional markets within the Loja province for sharing their wisdom.
With regard to identifying a fern species, the authors especially want to thank Dr. Benjamin Ollgaard (Biologisk Institut, Herbariet, Aarhus Universitet) for his taxonomic collaboration.
We also would like to provide a sincere recognition for the invaluable professional support from the authors to Dr. Pablo Jarrín (Universidad Regional Amazónica IKIAM), who provided useful comments to the analysis and interpretation of the measured indexes.
We would like to thank the staff at the Herbarium of the “Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja” (HUTPL) and “Universidad Nacional de Loja” (LOJA) for their taxonomical advice, particularly to Omar Cabrera and Bolívar Merino; David Duncan for his insightful comments to this manuscript; David Donoso and Daniel Horlacher who provided valuable editorial contributions; Natalia Donoso who helped to prepare the former version of the manuscript; and Raúl Sinche, Pablo Jaramillo, Ángel Cuenca, Nixon Cumbicus, Irene Jiménez, and Welinton Agreda for their cooperation during the field trips.

Funding

The first author was supported by a doctoral fellowship with the “Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja” and the “Secretaría de Educación Superior Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación”, and a grant from the “Universidad Politécnica de Madrid” (UPM-BSCH 2007–2008).

Availability of data and materials

The dataset supporting the conclusions of this article is included within the article and its Table  5.
Table 5
Medicinal plants sold in 33 traditional markets at Loja province, Southern Ecuador
Family and scientific name
Vernacular name
Medica category a
Morphological structure used
Therapeutic administration
Geographic status
Voucher number
Acanthaceae
           
Dicliptera sp.
Chinche maní, chinche manilla
US
Whole plant
Oral
Native
FT1020
Justicia pectoralis Jacq.
Saucillo, tigresillo
CBS, DERS, GD, NS
Branch
Oral
Native
FT007
Amaranthaceae
           
Aerva sanguinolenta (L.) Blume
Escancel
CBS, DS, DERS, GD, GS, NS, US
Plant without root
Oral, douching, topical application, poultice
Introduced
FTMAL008
Alternanthera porrigens (Jacq.) Kuntze
Moradilla
GS, GD
Branch, flower
Oral, bath
Native
FT0010
Amaranthus caudatus L.
Ataco, sangorache
CS, GS, RS
Inflorescence
Oral, bath
Native
FT0278
Amaranthus hybridus L.
Ataco, sangorache
CS, GD, GS, RS, US
Inflorescence
Oral
Native
FTMAL006
Dysphania ambrosioides (L.) Mosyakin & Clemants
Paico
CBS, DS
Branch
Rubbing
Introduced
FT0282
Iresine diffusa Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd .
Escancel
DERS, DS, GS, US, NS, RS
Branch
Topical application, oral, poultice, wash
Native
FT0280
Iresine herbstii Hook.
Escancel
CBS, DERS, DS, GD, GS NS, US, RS
Branch
Topical application, oral, poultice, wash
Native
FT0486
Anacardiaceae
           
Schinus molle L.
Molle
MS
Branch
Cleaning wounds
Introduced
FT194SAR
Apiaceae
           
Cyclospermum leptophyllum (Pers.) Sprague ex Britton & P. Wilson
Culantrillo, cominillo
DS
Branch
Oral
Introduced
FT1012
Eryngium sp.
Pomas
DERS, GD
Flower
Cleaning wounds, oral
Native
FT0283
Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Hinojo
DS
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT0025t
Niphogeton dissecta (Benth.) J.F. Macbr.
Culantrillo
DS
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT0024t
Apocynaceae
           
Marsdenia cundurango Rchb. f
Condurango
GD, DS
Bark
Oral
Native
FT0196
Aquifoliaceae
           
Ilex guayusa Loes.
Wayusa
MS
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT0285
Asclepiadaceae
           
Orthosia ellemanniae (Morillo) Liede & Meve
Cola de caballo
US, GD
Branch
Oral
Endemic
FT037t
Asphodelaceae
           
Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f.
Sábila
DS, DERS, US
Leaf mesophyll
Oral, topical application, bath as gel
Introduced
FT0380
Asteraceae
           
Achyrocline hallii Hieron.
Lechugilla
DS
Whole plant
Oral
Endemic
FT0320
Ambrosia arborescens Mill.
Marco, altamiso
CBS, DERS
Branch
Topical application, rubbing
Native
FT045MCAT
Aequatorium jamesonii (S.F. Blake) C. Jeffrey
Guangalo
CBS
Branch
Rubbing
Endemic
FT003ML
Ageratum conyzoides L.
Pedorrera
DS
Branch
Oral
Introduced
FT0286
Ambrosia peruviana Willd.
Marco, altamiso
CBS
Branch
Rubbing
Native
ML005
Aristeguietia persicifolia (Kunth) R.M. King & H. Rob.
Ishpingo, monte de la culebra
CBS
Branch
Rubbing
Endemic
FTG164
Artemisia sodiroi Hieron.
Ajenjo, alcanfor
CBS, RS
Branch
Gargles, rubbing
Native
FT002MZ
Baccharis genistelloides (Lam.) Pers.
Tres filos
CS, HS
Branch
Oral
Native
FT1013
Baccharis latifolia (Ruiz & Pav.) Pers.
Chilca larga
CBS
Branch
Rubbing
Native
FT0288
Baccharis obtusifolia Kunth
Chilca redonda
CBS
Branch
Rubbing
Native
FT0208
Bidens triplinervia Kunth
Ñachig
GS
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT1008
Chuquiraga jussieui J.F. Gmel.
Chuquiragua
CS, MS
Inflorescence
Oral
Native
FT0318
Cynara cardunculus L.
Alcachofa
HS
Fruit
Oral
Introduced
FT0289
Matricaria recutita L.
Manzanilla
DERS, DS, GD, MS, RS
Plant without root
Cleaning wounds, gargles
Introduced
FT0014t
Tagetes erecta L.
Arrayosa
CBS
Branch, flower
Rubbing
Introduced
FT043MCAT
Tagetes filifolia Lag .
Anís
DS
Whole plant
Oral
Native
FT0987
Tagetes sp.
Chil chil
CBS
Branch
Rubbing
Native
FT0092Q
Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Sch. Bip.
Santa María
CBS
Branch
Rubbing, warm bath
Introduced
FT1195
Taraxacum officinale F.H. Wigg.
Diente de león
DS, US
Whole plant
Oral
Introduced
FT0029t
Boraginaceae
           
Borago officinalis L.
Borraja
RS
Flower, leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT011MAL
Symphytum officinale L .
Consuelda, suelda suelda
MS
Leaf
Hot bath, oral, poultice
Introduced
FT1248
Brassicaceae
           
Cardamine bonariensis Pers.
Berro
CS
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT0003N
Lepidium thurberi Wooton
Chichira
GS
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT1249
Matthiola incana (L.) W.T. Aiton
Alelí
NS
Flower
Oral
Introduced and cultivated
FT1250
Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) Hayek
Berro
CS
Plant without root
Oral
Introduced
FT22t9
Bromeliaceae
           
Guzmania sp.
Clavelito de aire
NS
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT001MALA
Tillandsia straminea Kunth.
Flor de Cristo
NS
Flower
Oral
Native
FT1066
Burseraceae
           
Bursera graveolens (Kunth) Triana & Planch.
Palo santo
DERS, MS, GS
Wood
Bath, incense
Native
FT961
Cactaceae
           
Trichocereus macrogonus (Salm-Dyck) Riccob.
San Pedrillo
CBS
Vascular tissue
Topical application, Oral
Native
FT984
Campanulaceae
           
Lobelia cf. decurrens Cav.
Cholo valiente
CBS
Branch
Topical application
Introduced and cultivated
FT1186
Cannaceae
           
Canna indica L.
Achira
DG, NS, RS
Leaf
Topical application
Native
FT1251
Caprifoliaceae
           
Sambucus nigra L .
Tilo
NS, RS
Flower
Oral
Introduced
FT1252
Caryophyllaceae
           
Dianthus caryophyllus L.
Clavel
GS, NS
Flower
Oral
Introduced
FT1253
Chenopodiaceae
           
Chenopodium album L.
Palitaria
MS
Leaf
Rubbing
Introduced
FT1254
Commelinaceae
           
Callisia gracilis (Kunth) D.R. Hunt
Cachorillo
GD
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT1255
Callisia repens (Jacq.) L.
Calcha
CS, RS
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT51MPAT
Tradescantia zebrina Heynh. ex Bosse
Calcha
CS, NS, RS
Leaf
Topical application, oral
Introduced
FT30t
Crassulaceae
           
Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri Raym.-Hamet & H. Perrier.
Dulcamara, mala madre
DS, GD
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT1024
Cucurbitaceae
           
Cucurbita pepo L.
Sambo
DERS
Latex
Topical application
Introduced
FT1256
Cyperaceae
           
Cyperus sp.
Díctamo real
CS, MS
Root
Oral
Native
FT1062
Equisetaceae
           
Equisetum bogotense Kunth
Cola de caballo, caballo chupa
DS, GD, US
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT031t
Equisetum giganteum L.
Cola de caballo, caballo chupa
US
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT1009
Ericaceae
           
Bejaria aestuans Mutis ex L.
Payama
GD
Flower
Oral
Native
FT1257
Bejaria resinosa Mutis ex L. f.
Payama
GD
Flower
Oral
Native
FTE012
Euphorbiaceae
           
Cnidoscolus aconitifolius (Mill.) I.M. Johnst.
Chaya
CS, DS, GD
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT221
 Fabaceae
           
Amicia glandulosa Kunth
Nona, urusus
RS
Flower
Oral
Native
HUTPL1975
Desmodium molliculum (Kunth) DC.
San Antonio
GS
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT38MPAT
Myroxylon balsamum (L.) Harms
Chaquino
DS, GD
Bark
Oral
Native
FT998
Otholobium mexicanum (L. f.) J.W. Grimes
Guallua
DS
Branch
Oral
Native
FT1022
Gentianaceae
           
Centaurium erythraea Rafn
Canchalagua
CS
Whole plant
Oral
Introduced
FT1016
Geraniaceae
           
Erodium cf. cicutarium (L.) L'Hér. ex Aiton
Agujilla, aujilla
CBS, GD
Branch
Oral
Introduced
FTE001MC
Pelargonium graveolens L'Hér. ex. Aiton
Esencia de rosa
DS, GD, US
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT1258
Pelargonium odoratissimum (L.) L´Hér.
Malva olorosa
DS, GD
Branch
Oral
Introduced
FT016t
Juglandaceae
           
Juglans neotropica Diels
Nogal
CS, MS
Leaf
Hot bath, oral
Native
FT015MPA
 Lamiaceae
           
Clinopodium nubigenum (Kunth) Kuntze
Tipo de llano
DS, RS
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT1014
Clinopodium taxifolium (Kunth) Govaerts
Tipo de cerro
DS, RS
Branch
Oral
Native
FT1259
Hyptis purdiei Benth.
Poleo cerro, poleo negro
CBS
Branch
Rubbing
Native
FT048 MCAT
Melissa officinalis L.
Toronjil
CBS, NS, RS
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT45MPAT
Mentha spicata L.
Hierba buena, menta, menta negra
DS, RS
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT1260
Mentha x piperita L.
Hierba buena, menta, menta negra
DS, RS
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT1261
Minthostachys mollis (Kunth) Griseb.
Poleo blanco, poleo chiquito
CBS, RS
Branch
Inhalation, oral, rubbing
Native
HUTPL1076
Ocimum basilicum L.
Albahaca, albahaca blanca
GS, US
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT46TMPA
Ocimum campechianum Mill.
Albahaca, albahaca negra
GS, US
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT46aMPA
Origanum × majoricum Camb.
Orégano, orégano de castilla
DS
Plant without root
Oral
Introduced
HUTPL5302
Plectranthus unguentarius Codd
Oreganón, orégano grande
DS
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT0185
Rosmarinus officinalis L .
Romero
DERS, MS, SS
Branch
Bath after childbirth, cleaning wounds, oral
Introduced
HUTPL3892
Salvia scutellarioides Kunth
Matico
CBS
Branch
Rubbing
Native
HUTPL931
Salvia tiliifolia Vahl
Santa María
CBS
Plant without root
Rubbing
Introduced
FT044MCAT
Scutellaria sp.
Morado
NS
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT003
Thymus vulgaris L.
Tomillo
DS
Plant without root
Oral
Introduced
FT1067
 Linaceae
           
Linum usitatissimum L.
Linaza
DS, GD, US
Seed
Oral
Introduced
FT47TMPA
Loranthaceae
           
Gaiadendron punctatum (Ruiz & Pav.) G. Don
Violeta de cerro, violeta de campo
RS
Flower
Oral
Native
FT0032
 Malvaceae
           
Alcea rosea L.
Malva
GD
Flower
Oral
Introduced
HUTPL891
Malva arborea (L.) Webb & Berthel.
Malva rosada, malva altea
GD, US
Branch
Oral
Introduced and cultivated
FT042MC
Malva parviflora L .
Malva arbórea, malva blanca
GD, GS, US
Branch, flower
Oral, bath after childbirth, cleaning wounds
Introduced
FT015MCE
Moraceae
           
Ficus carica L.
Higo
GS
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
HUTPL 1192
Myricaceae
           
Morella parvifolia (Benth.) Parra-Os.
Laurel, laurel de cera
CBS, GS
Branch
Oral
Native
FT1207
Morella pubescens (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) Wilbur
Laurel, laurel de cera
GS
Branch
Oral
Native
FT1023
Myrtaceae
           
Corymbia citriodora (Hook.) K.D. Hill & L.A.S. Johnson
Eucalipto oloroso, eucalipto aromático
CBS, RS
Branch
Inhalation, oral, rubbing
Introduced
HUTPL 1761
Eucalyptus globulus Labill.
Eucalipto blanco, eucalipto grande
CBS, RS
Branch
Inhalation, oral, rubbing
Introduced
FT1185
Myrcianthes hallii (O. Berg) McVaugh
Arrayán
RS
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT215G
Psidium guajava L.
Guayaba
DS
Fruit
Oral
Native
FT171C
Onagraceae
           
Fuchsia harlingii Munz
Pena pena
NS
Flower
Oral
Endemic
HUTPL5784
Fuchsia hybrida hort. T. ex Siebert & Voss
Pena pena
DERS, GD, NS
Flower
Cleaning wounds, oral
Introduced
FT1262
Fuchsia loxensis Kunth
Pena pena
NS
Flower
Oral
Endemic
FT1158
Fuchsia magellanica Lam.
Pena pena
NS
Flower
Oral
Introduced
FT0147
Ludwigia nervosa (Poir.) H. Hara
Flor de reina, mejorana de huerta
DERS, GD, NS
Flower
Oral, bath after childbirth
Native
FT194
Oenothera rosea L'Her. ex Aiton
Shullo
DS, US
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT53MPAT
Orchidaceae
           
Epidendrum jamiesonis Rchb. f.
Flor de Cristo
NS
Flower
Oral
Native
FT106 3
Epidendrum sp.
Flor de Cristo
NS
Flower
Oral
Native
FT031t
Piperaceae
           
Peperomia blanda (Jacq.) Kunth
Sacha congona
NS
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT008
Peperomia galioides Kunth
Congona de cerro
NS
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT124SAR
Peperomia ilaloensis Sodiro
Congona de castilla, congona negra
NS, SS
Plant without root
Topical application, oral
Native
FT01t
Peperomia inaequalifolia Ruiz & Pav.
Congona, congona grande
NS, SS
Plant without root
Topical application, oral
Native
FT1197
Peperomia sp.
Congona de cerro
CBS
Plant without root
Rubbing
Native
FT49MPAT
Piper aduncum L.
Matico
DERS, DS, GS, GD
Branch
Oral
Native
FT1019
Piper carpunya Ruiz & Pav.
Guaviduca de sal
HS, RS, GD
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT500
Piper crassinervium Kunth
Guaviduca de dulce
HS, RS
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT237
Plantaginaceae
           
Plantago major L.
Llantén
US, GD
Whole plant
Oral
Introduced
FT13t
Poaceae
           
Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf
Hierba luisa, paja luisa
CS, NS, US
Plant without root
Oral
Introduced
FT011t
Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.
Grama dulce
CBS, US, GD
Plant without root
Oral
Introduced
FT008MCE
Zea mays L.
Pelo de choclo
US
Style
Oral
Introduced
FT1065
Polygalaceae
           
Polygala paniculata L.
Mentol
MS
Whole plant
Poultice
Native
FT20t
Polypodiaceae
           
Niphidium crassifolium (L.) Lellinger
Calaguala
DS, US
Root
Oral
Native
FT40T
Proteaceae
           
Oreocallis grandiflora (Lam.) R. Br.
Cucharillo
CBS, HS, US, GD
Flower
Oral
Native
FT04t
Pteridaceae
           
Adiantum poiretii Wikstr.
Culantrillo pata negra
GS
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT1018
Adiantum raddianum C. Presl
Culantrillo
GS, US, GD
Leaf
Oral
Native
MCELI35-T
Cheilanthes bonariensis (Willd.) Proctor.
Helecho congona
GS
Leaf
Oral, bath after childbirth
Native
MPA52T
Jamesonia sp.
Nido de abeja
GS
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT010
Notholaena sulphurea (Cav.) J. Sm.
Grano de oro
GS
Leaf
Bath after childbirth, oral
Native
FT009
Pityrogramma calomelanos (L.) Link
Doradilla del sol
GS
Leaf
Bath after childbirth, oral
Native
FT013
Pityrogramma ebenea (L.) Proctor
Doradilla plateada, luna plateada
GS
Leaf
Bath after childbirth, oral
Native
FT014
Trachypteris induta (Maxon) R.M. Tryon & A.F. Tryon
Pata de gallina
GS
Leaf
Oral, bath after childbirth
Native
FT012
Rosaceae
           
Alchemilla aphanoides Mutis ex L. f.
Saucillo
NS
Branch
Topical application, oral
Native
FT007
Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl.
Níspero, míspero
US
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT1063
Margyricarpus pinnatus (Lam.) Kuntze
Perlilla
RS, DERS
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT463
Rosa cymosa Tratt.
Rosa
DERS, GD, SS, US
Flower
Cleaning wounds, oral
Introduced
FT274
Sanguisorba minor subsp. muricata (Bonnier & Layens) Briq.
Pimpinela
NS
Leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT014MZ
Rubiaceae
           
Cinchona pubescens Vahl
Cascarilla
RS
Bark
Oral
Native
FT118
Rutaceae
           
Citrus x junos Siebold ex Tanaka
Naranja agria
DERS
Fruit
Oral
Introduced
FT007t
Ruta graveolens L .
Ruda
CBS, DS, GS
Branch
Bath after childbirth, oral, rubbing
Introduced
FT002
Smilacaceae
           
Smilax sp.
Zarzaparrilla
GD, US
Root
Oral
Native
FT1263
Solanaceae
           
Brugmansia sanguinea (Ruiz & Pav.) D. Don
Guando
CBS
Flower, leaf
Rubbing
Native
FT028ML
Brugmansia x candida Pers.
Guando blanco
CBS
Flower, leaf
Rubbing
Native
FT210
Cestrum mariquitense Kunth
Sauco negro
CS, GD
Branch
Oral, topical application
Native
FT210
Cestrum racemosum Ruiz & Pav.
Sauco blanco
CBS, GD
Branch
Rubbing
Native
FTS177
Solanum americanum Mill .
Mortiño
DS, GD, NS, RS
Branch, bud
Oral, warm bath
Native
FT36t
Solanum nigrescens M. Martens & Galeotti
Mortiño
DS, NS, RS
Bud
Oral
Native
FT1264
Solanum pimpinellifolium L .
Monte del gallinazo
CBS
Branch
Rubbing
Native
FT207
Tiliaceae
           
Triumfetta semitriloba Jacq.
Abrojo, cadillo, mostrante
GD, US
Leaf
Oral
Native
FT39T
Urticaceae
           
Urtica dioica L.
Chine
CS, MS, US,
Plant without root
Oral, rubbing
Introduced
FT1064
Urtica urens L.
Chine
CS, MS, US
Plant without root
Oral, rubbing
Introduced
FT275
Valerianaceae
           
Valeriana microphylla Kunth
Valeriana, valeriana de cerro
NS
Plant without root
Oral
Native
FT1015
Valeriana pyramidalis Kunth
Valeriana
NS
Root
Oral
Native
FT991
Verbenaceae
           
Aloysia triphylla Royle
Cedrón
NS
Branch
Oral
Native
FT1265
Phyla scaberrima (A. Juss. ex Pers.) Moldenke
Buscapina, novalgina
DS
Plant without root
Oral
Introduced
FT1240
Verbena litoralis Kunth.
Verbena
CBS, GD
Branch
Oral, rubbing
Native
FT1268
Violaceae
           
Viola odorata L.
Violeta, violeta de jardín
RS
Flower, leaf
Oral
Introduced
FT1266
Viola tricolor L.
Pensamiento
DERS, GD, RS
Flower
Cleaning wounds, oral
Introduced
FT1267
Zingiberaceae
           
Hedychium coronarium J. Koening
Caña agria
US
Stem
Oral
Introduced
FT002t
aMedical category: CBS Culture-bound syndromes, CS Circulatory system, DERS Dermatological system, DS Digestive system, GD General disorders, GS Gynecological system, HS: Hormonal system, MS Musculoskeletal system, NS Nervous system, RS Respiratory system, SS Sensorial system, US: Urinary system

Authors’ contributions

The first author carried out the fieldwork research for this study. All authors reviewed literature, analyzed the data, prepared the manuscript, provided revisions, and approved the final manuscript.

Competing interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

All the vendors who decided to collaborate were interviewed according to mutually agreed conditions and under Ecuador’s rights, especially with regards to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB).
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0/​), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://​creativecommons.​org/​publicdomain/​zero/​1.​0/​) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Literatur
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