The Republic of Suriname (South America) is located on the Guiana Shield, one of the regions with the highest biodiversity and the largest expanse of undisturbed tropical rain forest in the world. The population of almost 570,000 consists of a unique blend of ethnic groups and cultures from all continents. These include Indigenous Amerindians, the original inhabitants; Maroons, the descendants of runaway slaves who had been shipped from Africa between the seventeenth and the nineteenth century; Creoles, a generic term referring to mixed blacks and whites; the descendants from indentured workers from China, India, and Java (Indonesia) who arrived between the second half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century; as well as immigrants from various Middle Eastern, European, Caribbean, and South American countries. All these groups have made their own specific contribution to Suriname’s traditional medicine, which has resulted in a myriad of remedies against many disorders, mainly employing a variety of plants. This chapter presents a brief history of Suriname, addresses the ethnopharmacological practices of Maroons and Creoles as well as Hindustanis and Javanese, and concludes with a few remarks on the previsions provided by the country’s rich plant-based traditional medicine.
Part of the book: Aromatic and Medicinal Plants