Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3799

Full Length Research Paper

The traditional medicinal and food uses of four plants in Oaxaca, Mexico

Angélica Bautista-Cruz1*, María R. Arnaud-Viñas2, Gabino Alberto Martínez-Gutiérrez1, Patricia Soledad Sánchez-Medina1 and Rafael Pérez Pacheco1
1Instituto Politécnico Nacional, CIIDIR-Oaxaca, Hornos 1003, Xoxocotlan. 71230, Oaxaca, Mexico. 2Sección de Estudios de Posgrado de la Escuela Superior de Medicina del IPN, Plan de San Luis y Díaz Mirón s/n, 11340 D. F. Mexico.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 20 May 2011
  •  Published: 04 August 2011


Rural and urban populations in Valles Centrales, Oaxaca, Mexico, use certain plant species for therapeutic and dietary purposes. The wild-growing plants most commonly consumed during the rainy season by those with scarce economic resources are Portulaca oleraceaL., Galinsoga quadriradiata Ruiz and Pavon and Anoda cristata (L.) Schltdl. (vernacular names: verdolaga, piojito and violeta, respectively). Cnidoscolus chayamansa Mc Vaugh, a cultivated plant known as chaya, is also frequently consumed. This work aims to document the ethnobotanical and nutritional importance of these four plants. A semi-structured interview was applied to 175 middle-aged and elderly women selected by snowball technique. Chaya and violeta had both medicinal and dietary uses. Chaya was used in the treatment of diabetes, high cholesterol, renal disorders, high blood pressure, as a weight loss aid, and for inflammation of the arms and legs. Violeta was used as a cough remedy. These plants were consumed in a tea prepared from fresh plant parts. Verdolaga and piojito were only consumed as food. Chaya was the best source of ascorbic acid (350.83 mg/100 g), retinol (5.26 mg/100 g), iron (7.51 mg/100 g) and protein (8.15%). Chaya’s potential as a medicinal and edible plant suggests this species ought to be cultivated commercially.


Key words: Anoda cristata (L.) Schltdl., Cnidoscolus chayamansa Mc Vaugh, Galinsoga quadriradiata Ruiz and Pavon, Portulaca oleracea L.