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Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia

Print version ISSN 0102-695X


GIORGETTI, Melina; ROSSI, Lucia  and  RODRIGUES, Eliana. Brazilian plants with possible action on the Central Nervous System: a study of historical sources from the 16th to 19th century. Rev. bras. farmacogn. [online]. 2011, vol.21, n.3, pp.537-555.  Epub Mar 25, 2011. ISSN 0102-695X.

Ethnopharmacological research when grounded on historic literature has for its objective retrieving traditional knowledge compiled throughout history by early cultures. The current study has used literature from the 16th to the 19th centuries to assess reports that include accounts of Brazil's native plants, with possible reports of disorders of the Central Nervous System (CNS). Visits were paid to 27 institutions located in four Brazilian states. This resulted in raising 529 publications, out of which 65 were read, revealing that 33 of them contained reports of plants exerting effects on CNS ailments. These plants' scientific names underwent an updating process. The updating process resulted in 788 species names (129 correct scientific names and their 659 synonyms) out of which 66 hold current ethnopharmacology, pharmacology studies and/or patent application. Coincidences among past and present data have been observed in 46 cases. Only three of them carried applications for patents all of which coincided with past uses. There have hardly been any studies whatsoever throughout the centuries for many of the species currently being studied. Although of very seldom use, research in ethnopharmacology and historic literature can be promising tools for the selecting of new pharmaco products, further to contributing with retrieving traditional knowledge.

Keywords : Ethnopharmacology; historic literature; Central Nervous System; medicinal plants; Brazil; traditional knowledge.

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