Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia
Print version ISSN 0102-695X
SILVA, Maria I. G. et al. Bioactivity and potential therapeutic benefits of some medicinal plants from the Caatinga (semi-arid) vegetation of Northeast Brazil: a review of the literature. Rev. bras. farmacogn. [online]. 2012, vol.22, n.1, pp.193-207. Epub Sep 16, 2011. ISSN 0102-695X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-695X2011005000171.
Medicinal plants have been used in traditional medicine for several thousand years all over the world. In this sense, information from Brazilian ethnic groups on folk medicine have contributed to the discovery of pharmacological activities from various plant-derived agents potentially leading to the innovative drugs. The Caatinga (semi-arid) vegetation is a highly threatened biome, covering a vast area in northeastern Brazil and has suffered from strong human influence for many decades. Many plants species found in the Caatinga have been widely used in folk medicine and for commercial manufacturing of phytotherapeutic products. Thus, the present review aims to disseminate to the scientific community some known species of medicinal plants found in the Caatinga that have been studied and analyzed in pharmacological scientific assays. Among the species that stood out for their local importance and multiplicity of uses were: Amburana cearensis (umburana-de-cheiro), Anadenanthera colubrina (Vell.) Brenan (angico-branco), Anacardium occidentalis L. (cajueiro), Bauhinia forficata Link (mororó), Cissus sicyoides L. (insulina-vegetal), Myracrodruon urundeuva Allemão (aroeira-do-sertão) and Zingiber officinalis L. (gengibre). The present study shows that several herbal constituents from Caatinga plants, whose pharmacological actions have been well characterized, may be relevant candidates for future and innovative therapeutic development.
Keywords : caatinga; medicinal plants; potential therapeutic pharmacological assays.