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Barbados has a strong base in the practice of folklore botanical medicines. Consistent with the rest of the Caribbean region, the practice is criticized due to the lack of efficacy and safety testing of the plants. This book identifies common medicinal plants used historically and currently in Barbados for the treatment of common communicable and non-communicable diseases. It starts by describing the historical to current context of communicable and non-communicable diseases in Barbados. It also outlines the historical and current context of the use of medicinal plants including factors influencing their use by Barbadians. The
medicinal plants in the book were reviewed previously and grouped on their practice to treat communicable and non-communicable diseases and also botanical classification. The identified phytochemicals from the plants were compared to established drug compounds approved for the conventional treatment of illnesses and also established phytochemicals. The book outlines that sixty six percent (66%) of medicinal plants entries identified for the treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases contain pharmacologically active phytochemicals; while fifty one percent (51%) of the entries contain phytochemicals with activities consistent with their reported use. These findings conclude that folklore botanical medicine is well grounded scientifically.
The primary readers of this book are Barbadians and other Caribbean nationals who practice the use of herbal remedies and are keen on validating their uses. The secondary audiences are academics who wish to investigate these herbal remedies as sources of new drug compounds and clinicians who wish to be guided about possible drug–herb interactions. The book presents insightful information to both groups about the possible uses of herbal remedies. This book is by no means advocating the irrational use of any medication.
Dr. Damian Cohall is a Jamaican born pharmacologist who joined the new Faculty of the Medical Sciences at the Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies (UWI) u Barbados in 2008. His main research passion is ethno-pharmacology. His work in this area has been published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and also in the West Indian Medical Journal . He also maintains an active research interest in cardiovascular risk profiling and medical education and has published successfully in those areas. He is a member of the editorial board of the West Indian Medical Journal and reviews articles for the regional medical journal and other international journals. He also plays an active role as a supervisor and advisor of postgraduate and undergraduate students on research internships and externships.