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Medicinal Plant Use for Treating Inflammation Among Dominicans in New York City and the Dominican Republic

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Michael Balick, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Identifier:
First received: May 3, 2005
Last updated: October 30, 2013
Last verified: October 2013
The purpose of this study is to investigate and compare the use of herbal medicine among Dominicans in New York City and the Dominican Republic.


Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Ecologic or Community
Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
Official Title: Dominican Herbal Medicine: Plants Used for Inflammation

Further study details as provided by Michael Balick, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Identification of culturally important medicinal plants [ Time Frame: June 2010 ]

Enrollment: 320
Study Start Date: March 2005
Primary Completion Date: July 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Detailed Description:

According to the 2000 U.S. Census Report, Dominicans constitute the largest Hispanic immigrant group in New York City. Studies have shown that immigrants' use of traditional and herbal medicine is close to that of native-born Americans. However, minority immigrants often have limited access to traditional health care; as a result, they may be more likely to consult with traditional healers and use medicinal plants than nonimmigrants. This study is designed to increase knowledge about immigrants' health and to contribute to more culturally-sensitive health care. The purpose of this study is to determine medical plant knowledge and use among Dominican traditional healers and patients in New York City and in the Dominican Republic.

This study will comprise two parts. In Part I, Dominican medicinal plant users and Dominican traditional healers in New York City will be questioned about the medicinal plant species they know and how they are used for prevalent illnesses. The same number of participants will be interviewed in the Dominican Republic, allowing for detailed comparisons between the two study sites.

In Part II, the most frequently-cited medicinal plant species will be subjected to a thorough literature review on their pharmacologic activity and the chemical composition of their active constituents. Two in vitro assays will be used to measure the anti-inflammatory activity of certain plant extracts, and their anti-inflammatory compounds will be isolated and characterized for the purpose of standardization of active extracts. On the basis of these results, recommendations will be formulated for future studies and community use of selected medicinal plant species.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Dominican community sample in New York City

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Dominican ethnicity
  • Have knowledge of Dominican medicinal plants
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00109980

United States, New York
Associates in Internal Medicine Clinic, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University
New York City, New York, United States, 10032
Sponsors and Collaborators
New York Botanical Garden
Principal Investigator: Michael J. Balick, PhD Institute of Economic Botany, the New York Botanical Garden
  More Information

Balick MJ, Kronenberg F, Ososki AL, Reiff M, Fugh-Berman A, O'Connor B, Roble M, Lohr P, Atha D. Medicinal plants used by Latino healers for women's health conditions in New York City. Economic Botany 54: 344-357, 2000.
Reiff M, O'Connor B, Kronenberg F, Balick M, Lohr P, Roble M, Fugh-Berman A, Johnson KD. Ethnomedicine in the urban environment: Dominican healers in New york City. Human Organization 62(1): 12-26, 2003.
Vandebroek I, Balick MJ, Yukes J, Duran L, Kronenberg F, Wade C, Ososki AL, Cushman L, Lantigua R, Mejia M & Robineau L (2007) Use of medicinal plants by Dominican immigrants in New York City for the treatment of common health conditions. A comparative analysis with literature data from the Dominican Republic. In: A. Pieroni & I. Vandebroek, eds., Traveling Cultures and Plants: The Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacy of Human Migrations. Bergahn Books, New York, pp. 39-63.

Responsible Party: Michael Balick, Director, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Identifier: NCT00109980     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R21AT001889-01A1 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: May 3, 2005
Last Updated: October 30, 2013

Keywords provided by Michael Balick, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM):
Complementary Therapies
Plants, Medicinal
Dominican Republic
Hispanic Americans

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Pathologic Processes processed this record on September 19, 2017