Guyana’s Patamona Medicine and Plant Heritage.

Coming soon!

In the meantime, check out recently published piece: “The Use of Amerindian Charm Plants in the Guianas” in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine by research scientists from Suriname, The Netherlands and Oxford, UK. Read an excerpt of the abstract here:

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“Magical charm plants to ensure good luck in hunting, fishing, agriculture, love and warfare are known among many Amerindians groups in the Guianas. Documented by anthropologists as social and political markers and exchangeable commodities, these charms have received little attention by ethnobotanists, as they are surrounded by secrecy and are difficult to identify. We compared the use of charm species among indigenous groups in the Guianas to see whether similarity in charm species was related to geographical or cultural proximity. We hypothesized that cultivated plants were more widely shared than wild ones and that charms with underground bulbs were more widely used than those without such organs, as vegetatively propagated plants would facilitate transfer of charm knowledge.”

“As early as 1665, the Reverend Raymond Breton [9] documented the terms tula:la and táya in his dictionary of the Carib language spoken on the French Caribbean islands. He recognized them as plants of the Araceae family, “some of them having reddish leaves” … “used by all Indians, for magic purposes, especially to protect them against the Whites”. Not only were these taya plants used to heal the wounds caused by poisoned arrows, their juice was also mixed with the red paint made from Bixa orellana fruits and rubbed on the body to pacify the enemy [9]. A few years afterwards, the French plantation manager Jean Goupy des Marets mentioned the use of touralamong the Indians of French Guiana in his diary [10]. The use of charms among Indians in Guyana and Suriname was first described by 19th and early 20th century ethnographers and missionaries”

To read the full article, visit the Journal’s webpage here.

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Photo credits: Tramways of GuyanaGotoGuyana.org

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