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Cultivation and use of medicinal plants and association with reporting of childhood asthma: A case-control study in the Bogotá savanna

Cultivo y uso de plantas medicinales y su asociación con el reporte de asma infantil: estudio de casos y controles en la Sabana de Bogotá


Introduction The prevalence of childhood asthma has increased in recent years. The World Health Organization has called for conducting research exploring the role of traditional medicine and medicinal plants in respiratory disease control.

Objective To identify the relationship between the prevalence of childhood asthma and traditional care of the respiratory system, including cultivation and use of medicinal plants.

Methods We conducted an observational, analytic, case-control study that included children 2 to 14 years old who used official health services in eight municipalities near Bogota between 2014 and 2015. Cases were children diagnosed with asthma. We randomly selected the controls among the remaining patients of the same healthcare facilities. We applied an 18-question survey. The Mantel-Haenszel procedure identified significant associations using 95% confidence intervals.

Results We surveyed the caretakers of 97 cases and 279 controls in eight municipalities. Some 23.4% (88/376) and 37.9% (142/375) reported using traditional remedies for fever control and common cold management, respectively. 8.8% (33/376) reported following traditional care during a common cold, 30.4% (114/375) reported growing medicinal plants at home, and 45% (166/369) reported using medicinal plants for health purposes in their household. Multivariate analysis showed that having and using medicinal plants at home is associated with a lower reporting of asthma (odds ratio 0.49; 95% confidence interval: 0.25 to 0.99).

Conclusions Cultivating and using medicinal plants at home is associated with a lower reporting of childhood asthma. Researchers should consider the therapeutic, environmental, and cultural properties of medicinal plants to prevent respiratory diseases.

There is no English version available for this article.