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Steam sauna and mother roasting in Lao PDR: Practices and Chemical constituents of essential oils of plant species used in postpartum recovery
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology.
2011 (English)In: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, ISSN 1472-6882, Vol. 11, 128- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Fundamental in traditional postpartum recovery in Lao PDR is the use of hotbeds, mother roasting, steam sauna and steam baths. During these treatments medicinal plants play a crucial role, but little has been published about how the treatments are carried out precisely, which species are used, the medicinal properties of these species, and the medicinal efficacy of their chemical constituents.

Methods: Sixty-five interviews, in 15 rural villages, with women of 4 different ethnic groups were conducted to survey confinement rituals, and postpartum plant use and salience. Essential oils from the main species used were extracted using steam distillation and the main chemical constituents characterized using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).

Results: A total of 10 different species were used by three or more of the ethnic groups included in this study. All species were used in steam sauna and bath, but only 3 species were used in hotbed and mother roasting. Essential oils of Amomum villosum, Amomum microcarpum and Blumea balsamifera were found to contain significant amounts of the following terpenes: β-pinene, camphor, bornyl acetate, borneol, linalool, D-limonene, fenchone, terpinen-4-ol and α-terpinene.

Conclusions: Many of these terpenes have documented antimicrobial and analgesic properties, and some have also synergistic interactions with other terpenes. The mode of application in hotbed and mother roasting differs from the documented mechanisms of action of these terpenes. Plants in these two practices are likely to serve mainly hygienic purposes, by segregating the mother from infection sources such as beds, mats, stools, cloth and towels. Steam sauna medicinal plant use through inhalation of essential oils vapors can possibly have medicinal efficacy, but is unlikely to alleviate the ailments commonly encountered during postpartum convalescence. Steam sauna medicinal plant use through dermal condensation of essential oils, and steam bath cleansing of the perineal area is possibly a pragmatic use of the reported medicinal plants, as terpene constituents have documented antimicrobial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 11, 128- p.
National Category
Botany
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-149972DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-128ISI: 000299843900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-149972DiVA: diva2:406105
Available from: 2011-03-24 Created: 2011-03-24 Last updated: 2012-03-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Genus Amomum (Zingiberaceae) in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam: Taxonomy and Ethnobotany, with Special Emphasis on Women's Health
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Genus Amomum (Zingiberaceae) in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam: Taxonomy and Ethnobotany, with Special Emphasis on Women's Health
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The species of Amomum Roxb. (Zingiberaceae) in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are revised. Thirty-five species and two varieties are recognised, all names are typified, and detailed descriptions and a key are provided. Nine new species are described and one species is validated. Whilst revising Amomum for the Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Viêtnam, we have proposed to conserve the name Amomum villosum Lour. with a recent collection from Laos, which was not included in the protologue, as its type. Our research on the use of Amomum focuses on the use of plants during pregnancy, parturition, postpartum recovery and infant healthcare among three ethnic groups, the Brou, Saek and Kry. The investigations aim to identify culturally important traditions that may facilitate implementation of culturally appropriate healthcare. Data were collected in Khammouane province, Lao PDR, through group and individual interviews with women by female interviewers. More than 55 plant species are used in women's healthcare, of which > 90 % are used in postpartum recovery. This wealth of novel insights into plant use and preparation will help to understand culturally important practices such as confinement, dietary restrictions, mother roasting and herbal steam baths and their incorporation into modern healthcare. Through chemical analyses of Amomum we have recorded compounds with antimicrobial, analgesic and sedative effects that point to an empirical development of the traditional treatments around childbirth. Essential oils of three species used in hotbed and mother roasting, Amomum villosum Lour. Amomum microcarpum C.F.Liang & D.Fang and Blumea balsamifera (L.) DC. were found to contain significant amounts of the following terpenes: b-pinene, camphor, bornylacetate, borneol, linalool, D-limonene, fenchone, terpinen-4-ol and a-terpinene.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2011. 40 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 824
Keyword
Amomum, Zingiberaceae, Flore du Cambodge du Laos et du Vietnam, Taxonomy, Ethnobotany, Postpartum, Mother roasting, Hotbed, Brou, Saek, Kry, Lao PDR
National Category
Microbiology Biological Systematics
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Systematics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-149990 (URN)978-91-554-8073-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-05-20, Zootissalen, Evoultionsmuseet (Museum of Evolution), Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-04-21 Created: 2011-03-24 Last updated: 2012-05-03
2. Snake Gourds, Parasites and Mother Roasting: Medicinal plants, plant repellents, and Trichosanthes (Cucurbitaceae) in Lao PDR
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Snake Gourds, Parasites and Mother Roasting: Medicinal plants, plant repellents, and Trichosanthes (Cucurbitaceae) in Lao PDR
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background. Traditional plant use was studied in Lao PDR. Research focused on medicinal plant use by the Brou, Saek and Kry ethnic groups, traditional plant repellents against parasitic arthropods and leeches, and the phylogeny and biogeography of the medicinally-important snake gourd genus (Trichosanthes, Cucurbitaceae).  Methods. The ethnobiology research used a combination of structured interviews, village surveys, botanical collecting, hydro-distillation, GC-MS analysis, literature studies, and laboratory experiments. The plant systematics research used a combination of morphological studies, molecular biology laboratory work, and phylogenetic, dating and biogeographical analysis.  Results. Informants reported the use of close to 100 species to repel arthropods and leeches, many of which have constituents with documented efficacy.  Brou, Saek and Kry informants use over 75 plant species for women’s healthcare, mainly during the postpartum period for steam sauna, steam bath, hotbed, mother roasting, medicinal decoctions and infusions, and postpartum diet.  A molecular phylogeny of Trichosanthes and Gymnopetalum using a broad sampling of ~60% of their species and 4756 nucleotides of nuclear and plastid DNA shows that Gymnopetalum is nested within Trichosanthes. Fossil-calibrated Bayesian molecular dating of the Trichosanthes phylogeny reveals an early Oligocene origin of the genus, and many of the extant sections originating and diversifying during the Miocene. Biogeographical analysis shows a likely East or South Asian origin of Trichosanthes, with lineages diversifying and spreading throughout Australasia from the early Pliocene to the Pleistocene.  Discussion. Traditional plant use in Lao PDR is common and widespread. The presence among the repellent species of economical alternatives to costly synthetic repellents is tenable, and the subject of ongoing studies.  Postpartum traditions and medicinal plant use are essential parts of childbirth and postpartum recovery in these ethnic groups, and many other groups in Lao PDR. Efforts to improve maternal healthcare and reduce maternal and infant mortality need to integrate these traditions with modern notions of healthcare to achieve wider adoption. Documenting all possible uses of commonly used medicinal plant species shows that similarity in use between these ethnic groups is relatively low considering that they share, and have shared for many generations, the same environment and resources. A lack of effective cures leads to a process of continuous innovation, where effective cures are shared between cultures, but remedies of only cultural importance, or those under evaluation are culture-specific.  The Trichosanthes phylogeny implies the merging of Gymnopetalum into Trichosanthes, and this is done using available names or new combinations. A synopsis of Trichosanthes, the new combinations, and a revision of the species in Australia, are made and presented.  Conclusions. Traditional plant use is widespread in Lao PDR, and of significance to many people as a source of primary healthcare and inexpensive repellents. The important medicinal plant genus Trichosanthes includes Gymnopetalum, and has a complex biogeographic history with multiple colonization events of Australasia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. 59 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 901
Keyword
Trichosanthes, Ethnobotany, Similarity of Knowledge, Biogeography, Molecular Dating, Brou, Saek, Kry, Mother roasting, Postpartum healthcare, Parturition, Childbirth, Traditional Medicine, Plant repellents, Fermented fish
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Systematics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-168536 (URN)978-91-554-8281-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-03-30, Lindahlsalen, Norbyvägen 18, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-03-02 Created: 2012-02-13 Last updated: 2012-03-29Bibliographically approved

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