Uras: Medicinal and Ritual Plants of Serampas, Jambi Indonesia
Keywords:medicinal plants, ritual plants, traditional healing
Documenting indigenous healthcare practices provides insight into how human communities have adapted to their local environments and can guide culturally appropriate medical care. The Serampas inhabit the border of Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia, and the only ethnobotanical study carried out there was in 1783. We identified the Serampas’ conceptions of health and illness and the medicinal and ritual plants they use; and assessed how this has changed over the past two centuries. Participant observation and in-depth interviews were carried out with 36 respondents. The Serampas conceive of health and illness to be caused by external and internal factors and recognize obat rajo (king’s medicine) and obat ditawar (enchanted medicine). They use > 127 medicinal plant species, which overlap with their 32 species of ritual plants. Most medicinal plants are gathered from shifting cultivation fields and secondary forests, > 50% are cultivated, and 40% are also food. The Serampas use 50% of the medicinal plants recorded in 1783.
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