Title : From Ethnomedicine to Ethnopharmacology: An Integrative Experience
Ethnomedicines, as culturally configured medical knowledge systems, represent in themselves a way of validation, since they articulate a concept of health and a sociocultural dynamic for disease prevention, diagnosis and therapy, in a traditionally documented practical experience. It is known that among the most commonly used therapeutic tools within the popular sphere of knowledge are medicinal plants. One of the challenge is to integrate this coherence with the ethnopharmacological validation of plant species of traditional use with medicinal properties and consider three main criteria: 1.- Quality, referring to the adequate identification and processing of the sample, as well as respect for the way of preparation and route of administration; 2.- Safety, related to the dosage and the different toxicity tests reported for the plant; and 3.-Efficacy, allusive to experimental bioprospecting, discovery of chemical compounds with biological activity, or evidence in preclinical trials. The complexity resides in integrating the ethnomedical foundations with experimental evidence, and how to be able to interpret findings both in concordance and those appearingly contradictory, which often handle the traditional use of medicinal plant validation. This research shows an example evaluating plants with anthelmintic properties, which the experimental design is documented in the ethnomedical prescription of an Afro-Venezuelan people for the traditional therapeutic use of locally used plant species. The findings obtained contribute to solidly bringing together the ethnopharmacological validation against the criteria of quality, efficacy and safety, with the therapeutic protocols and practices for use based on local ethnomedicine, in benefit of the strengthening of cultural and experimental knowledge, as an integrative experience between both anthropological and pharmaco-toxicological researches, as contemporary issues that are necessary for comprehension of ethnomedicines.