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Mother knows best: Plant knowledge key to childhood health in remote Amazon

had less than the average knowledge were more likely to have children with worse indicators of health and nutrition. For example, in families with mothers with low local plant knowledge, the researchers determined there is a likelihood of nearly one in five children being severely stunted, while families in which mothers possess high levels of plant knowledge have fewer than one in ten children with severe stunting. The other two measures found similar results, with knowledge of local plants significantly correlated with childhood health and nutrition.

To a great extent, Tsimane survival and well being is dependent on their knowledge of local plants, in everything from managing their environment to getting food and preventing and curing disease, explained Reyes-García. "However, globalization threatens this knowledge to the extent that formal schooling and jobs in emerging markets devalue folk knowledge and provide access to products not made from local resources, but without providing adequate medical treatment substitutes," said Reyes-García. "In a situation where local medicinal knowledge is not adequately substituted by access to medical facilities, the consequences of this lost knowledge can translate into poorer childhood health."


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Source:Brandeis University


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