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Indigenous groups in Panama generally use cycads in healing and as remedies for stomach disorders, while the scant uses by mestizos are limited to folklore instrument assembly (in former times), garden plants, and some legal as well as illegal commercial endeavors. Reports on the use of cycads as food in eastern Panama and among the Kunas or Dules still need confirmation. However, there is direct empirical evidence of Zamia starch use at least 5000 years BP by unknown preceramic indigenous peoples in western ChiriquÃ province. We surmise that the low density of Zamia populations, plus the absorption of aboriginals into the cultural, social, and political fabric of the country, are the main reasons for the present-day scant use of native cycads in Panama.
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