New York City,
The purpose of this study is to investigate and compare the use of herbal medicine among
Dominicans in New York City and the Dominican Republic.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census Report, Dominicans constitute the largest Hispanic
immigrant group in New York City. Studies have shown that immigrants' use of traditional and
herbal medicine is close to that of native-born Americans. However, minority immigrants
often have limited access to traditional health care; as a result, they may be more likely
to consult with traditional healers and use medicinal plants than nonimmigrants. This study
is designed to increase knowledge about immigrants' health and to contribute to more
culturally-sensitive health care. The purpose of this study is to determine medical plant
knowledge and use among Dominican traditional healers and patients in New York City and in
the Dominican Republic.
This study will comprise two parts. In Part I, Dominican medicinal plant users and Dominican
traditional healers in New York City will be questioned about the medicinal plant species
they know and how they are used for prevalent illnesses. The same number of participants
will be interviewed in the Dominican Republic, allowing for detailed comparisons between the
two study sites.
In Part II, the most frequently-cited medicinal plant species will be subjected to a
thorough literature review on their pharmacologic activity and the chemical composition of
their active constituents. Two in vitro assays will be used to measure the anti-inflammatory
activity of certain plant extracts, and their anti-inflammatory compounds will be isolated
and characterized for the purpose of standardization of active extracts. On the basis of
these results, recommendations will be formulated for future studies and community use of
selected medicinal plant species.
- Dominican ethnicity
- Have knowledge of Dominican medicinal plants
Michael J. Balick, PhD
Institute of Economic Botany, the New York Botanical Garden