Mexico has a rich tradition of herbal medicine dating back almost 5000 years, which includes the healing practices of pre-Columbian civilizations such as the Maya and Aztec. Mexican Traditional Medicine (MTM) has been a crucial source of primary healthcare for women, particularly for those who face limited access to Western medicine and high healthcare costs.
This study aims to identify the medicinal plants most commonly used in MTM for women’s reproductive health issues and assess the clinical data supporting their use.
The study compiled data from multiple sources and analyzed the plants commonly used by women in MTM to treat issues related to fertility and menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and other reproductive health issues. The data analysis revealed that more than 185 species of plants from over 60 families were used for various reproductive health issues. The study found that some plants have been used in MTM for fertility regulation, with 35 species used as emmenagogues and abortifacients. Moreover, approximately 40 species were used to treat premenstrual syndrome, heavy menstrual bleeding, and dysmenorrhea. In terms of pregnancy, 35 species were used for postpartum care and to facilitate breastfeeding, 16 species were used as oxytocic agents to induce labor and speed birth, and six plant species were used to prevent miscarriage. Fourteen plant species were reported to treat infertility or promote fertility, and seven species were used to treat uterine prolapse. Three plant species were reported to treat menopause, and two were used for osteoporosis.
The study also analyzed the clinical data available for the commonly used medicinal plants in MTM. The results showed that some clinical data supported the use of these plants in MTM. However, most of the medicinal plants used in MTM lacked safety or efficacy data and could serve as the basis for future investigations.
The use of medicinal plants in Mexico for almost every aspect of reproductive health demonstrates the importance of MTM for women’s healthcare needs. However, the lack of access to Western medicine and healthcare costs make it challenging for women to access appropriate care. Therefore, MTM remains a crucial source of healthcare for women in Mexico.
The study findings highlight the need to bridge the gap between traditional medicine and modern medicine. While traditional medicine plays a vital role in healthcare, modern medicine has a wealth of knowledge and resources that could benefit traditional medicine. Collaboration between traditional and modern medicine could help improve healthcare access and quality, particularly for women in Mexico.
In conclusion, the study demonstrates the wide use of medicinal plants in MTM for women’s reproductive health issues in Mexico. While some plants have clinical data to support their use, most of them lack safety or efficacy data. Therefore, further research is needed to investigate the medicinal properties of these plants fully. Bridging the gap between traditional and modern medicine could help improve healthcare access and quality, particularly for women in Mexico. The study highlights the importance of preserving and advancing traditional medicine while collaborating with modern medicine.