From Traditional Mesoamerican Use to Global Medicinal Applications (Cempasúchil)

ID: 613 / 417

Category: Abstract

Track: Pending

Proposed Symposium Title: From Traditional Mesoamerican Use to Global Medicinal Applications (Cempasúchil)


Daniel Lopez Estrada1 , Adolfo Andrade-Cetto 2 , Michael Heinrich 1,3, Hen-Hong Chang 4, Wen-Te Chang 1


Affiliations: 1 Department of Chinese Pharmaceutical Sciences and Chinese Medicine Resources, College of Chinese Medicine, China Med Univ, Taichung 40402, Taiwan. 2 Dept Biol Celular, Univ Nacl Autonoma Mexico, Fac Ciencias, México City 04511, México. 3 Pharmacognosy & Phytotherapy, School of Pharmacy UCL London WC1N 1AX, England. 4 Grad Inst Integrated Med, China Med Univ, 91 Hsueh Shih Rd, Taichung 40402, Taiwan.


The traditional use of Tagetes erecta L. (Asteraceae), commonly known as Cempasúchil, has been a cornerstone of Mesoamerican ethnobotany, revered in ceremonial and medicinal contexts. This study delves into the historical and ethnobotanical trajectory of T. erecta, tracing its journey from pre-conquest Mesoamerican uses to its current global recognition in pharmacological realms.

Originally endemic to Mexico, T. erecta was extensively used in rituals and healing practices associated with Tlaloc, the rain god. The Spanish conquest catalyzed a pivotal shift, recontextualizing this species as an ornamental entity in Europe, known variably as African marigold or African tansy. Linnaeus’ classification integrated this species into Western botanical nomenclature, broadening its recognition.

The discovery of lutein in T. erecta in the early 19th century marked a significant transition, illustrating the plant’s potential in phytotherapy, especially for macular health. Its inclusion in pharmacopeias and designation as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) in the USA signify its dual role in traditional medicine and modern applications, including its economic impact in sectors like poultry feed due to its carotenoid richness.

This paper emphasizes the importance of ethnohistorical, pharmacological, and cultural perspectives in understanding the multifaceted roles of T. erecta. It underscores the need for sustainable conservation strategies to preserve traditional uses while fostering modern applications. The global dissemination of T. erecta, intertwined with cultural, historical, and scientific narratives, offers a unique case study in the broader field of ethnopharmacology, highlighting the dynamic interplay between traditional knowledge and modern scientific inquiry.

Symposia selection: 147, ,

Key words: Tagetes erecta L, Traditional medicine, cempasuchil, Mesoamerican traditions