The west coast of Jalisco, Mexico has one of the richest pharmacies in the world; this pharmacy resides in the dry forest that ranges from the coast far into the mountains. Yet as pharmaceutical drugs gain dominance in rural Mexico, the plants from which many drugs are derived are being trampled, lost to concrete, and even forgotten. Recognition of the limitations of pharmaceuticals has stimulated the revitalization of knowledge about forest medicines and foods. Our research team of indigenous and non-indigenous practitioners and scientists are part of a growing movement to conduct community-based action research about the use of plants, fruits, and vegetables that will help and heal individuals and communities. Together these partnerships may be fruitful for everyone, as we explore the wisdom of Mother Earth and discover anew how we may sustain and protect the bounty she offers.
This plant medicine "chapbook" (a one-chapter book) written by Dr. Leslie Korn, offers a small part of the knowledge and art that flowered during the project. It documents just a few of the plant medicines commonly used by people living in the Comunidad Indígena de Chacala. Community members identified and selected the most important plants and foods for inclusion in this book. People throughout Mexico use these plants and fruits for varied medicinal purposes; we include only the local applications of the plants resources as explained by members of the Comunidad Indígena de Chacala.