The Medicinal Plant Trade in Suriname

Tinde van Andel, Joelaika Behari-Ramdas, Reinout Havinga, Sara Groenendijk

Abstract


Medicinal plant markets provide not only a snapshot of a country’s medicinal flora, but also of the importance of herbal medicine among its inhabitants and their concerns about health and illness. During a market survey in 2006, we collected data on the diversity, source, and volume of plants being sold and exported, and the preferences of urban consumers in Suriname. More than 245 species of medicinal plants were sold at the markets of Paramaribo. The annual value of the domestic and export market was estimated to be worth over US$ 1.5 million. Prices of medicinal products were determined by resource scarcity, processing costs, distance to harvesting sites, and local demand. The growing numbers of urban Maroons with their cultural beliefs regarding health and illness, and their strong family ties to the interior are the moving force behind the commercialization of herbal medicine in Suriname.

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Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ISSN 1547-3465) is published online by the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University.
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