Julien Antih 1, Salvador Cañigueral 2, Michael Heinrich1
1 Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, Research Cluster Biodiversity and Medicines, UCL School of Pharmacy, Reino Unido,
2 Unitat de Farmacognòsia, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, España
Living conditions that South American migrant communities encounter in their new European host country have a clear influence on their health care practices. As demonstrated in several urban ethnobotanical studies, this leads to undeniable changes in the use of their traditional herbal remedies. The aims of this study are both to determine Bolivian migrants’ ethnopharmacopeia in Barcelona and to investigate the health-seeking strategies they can become involved in, given the post-migration context. Furthermore, it seeks to examine the future related to the preservation of traditional medicinal knowledge in such conditions.
Questionnaires and free-listings as well as semi-structured and unstructured interviews were used to gather both quantitative and qualitative data during the field work. Moreover, all accessible medicinal plants and herbal products mentioned were both collected and
As a result, a total of sixty herbal remedies were recorded in order to treat seventy-seven ailments. The most culturally salient ones included German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) infusion, infusion of Coca leaves (Erythroxylum coca Lam.) and Mentisan®, a mentholated ointment. Bolivian migrants have less possibilities of procuring traditional herbal remedies in Barcelona than in their home country. Even though their ethnopharmacopeia is influenced by their new lifestyle, Bolivians continue to use traditional medicinal plant remedies, especially in case of minor health conditions, deemed easy to cure in comparison with burdens related to the often time-consuming appointments at the doctors.
Despite numerous constraints related to their present socio-economic status quo, the Bolivian community in Barcelona remains loyal to their healing traditions. Such practices represent a challenging, and increasingly sought-after alternative to biomedical solutions.