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Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia

Print version ISSN 0102-695X


VERISSIMO, Luiz Fernando et al. Herbs of interest to the Brazilian Federal Government: female reproductive and developmental toxicity studies. Rev. bras. farmacogn. [online]. 2011, vol.21, n.6, pp.1163-1171.  Epub Aug 12, 2011. ISSN 0102-695X.

In 2009 the Brazilian Ministry of Health published a document named RENISUS that lists 71 herbs traditionally used in Brazil that could result in phytomedicines to be dispensed by the governmental health care program. This manuscript reviews female reproductive and/or developmental toxicity information of these herbs. More than half (35) of the herbs lack information regarding female reproductive and/or developmental effects. From the fourteen herbs used traditionally to disturb female reproduction, five present experimental data corroborating their actions as abortifacients (Maytenus ilicifolia, Momordica charantia, Plectranthus barbatus, Ruta graveolens) or labour facilitator (Bidens pilosa). For 23 of the herbs evaluated experimentally for any type of female reproductive endpoint, only a single study was retrieved and at least twelve of these studies were conducted with a single dose. This scenario suggests that the scientific power of the published information is very low and that a scientifically-based risk/benefit analysis about the use of these herbs during pregnancy is not possible. Considering the appeal that phytomedicines have for pregnant women, usually aware and afraid of the risks that synthetic drugs may have in their pregnancy and progeny, well designed studies evaluating reproductive and/or developmental toxicity of these herbs urge.

Keywords : developmental toxicity; female reproductive toxicity herbal medicine products phytomedicines.

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