Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia
Print version ISSN 0102-695X
SILVA, Flávia dos Santos; RAMOS, Marcelo A.; HANAZAKI, Natalia and ALBUQUERQUE, Ulysses P. de. Dynamics of traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in a rural community in the Brazilian semi-arid region. Rev. bras. farmacogn. [online]. 2011, vol.21, n.3, pp. 382-391. Epub Apr 01, 2011. ISSN 0102-695X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-695X2011005000054.
Human beings have accumulated rich experience with natural resources over time, but such knowledge can be strongly influenced by several factors, such as age, sex and occupation. This study focuses on the influence of these factors on knowledge of medicinal plants in a rural community in northeastern Brazil. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 102 people, with the number of plants and uses cited studied for quantitative analysis. Through this research, it was possible to show that the social variables studied (age, sex and informants occupation) have contributed to the formation of different patterns of knowledge regarding medicinal resources. The results indicate that awareness of this dynamic is necessary for the proper implementation of projects where the goal is the sustainable use of natural resources (because it indicates the different levels of knowledge within a community), for studies intended to discover new drugs (because it indicates the peculiarities of certain groups), and for biodiversity conservation strategies.
Keywords : Ethnobotany; intracultural variation; traditional botanical knowledge; Caatinga.