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Andel T, Mitchell S, Volpato G, Vandebroek I, Swier J, Ruysschaert S et al. (2012)
In search of the perfect aphrodisiac: parallel use of bitter tonics in West Africa and the Caribbean.
Journal of ethnopharmacology 143(3) 840-50.
Enslaved Africans in the Americas had to reinvent their medicinal flora in an unknown environment by adhering to plants that came with them, learning from Amerindians and Europeans, using their Old World knowledge and trial and error to find substitutes for their homeland herbs. This process has left few written records, and little research has been done on transatlantic plant use. We used the composition of aphrodisiac mixtures across the black Atlantic to discuss the adaptation of herbal medicine by African diaspora in the New World. Since Africans are considered relatively recent migrants in America, their healing flora is often said to consist largely of pantropical and cultivated species, with few native trees. Therefore, we expected Caribbean recipes to be dominated by taxa that occur in both continents, poor in forest species and rich in weeds and domesticated exotics.
Keywords: Erectile dysfunction, Ethnobotany, Plant mixtures, Slave trade, Traditional medicine Africa