Acta Botanica Brasilica, Volume: 33, Issue: 2, Published: 2019
  • Mururé (Brosimum acutifolium Huber) in the treatment of syphilis in colonial Amazonia: historical data to the actual contribution to treatment Review

    Vieira, Erika Fernanda de Matos; Lucas, Flávia Cristina Araújo; Campos, Maria da Graça Ribeiro; Germano, Carolina Mesquita

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Historical ethnobotanical studies of medicinal plants reveal important information about traditional practices of human groups and influence current understanding of the use of plants. The present article describes the ethnopharmacology of mururé (Brosimum acutifolium) since the XVIII century for the treatment of syphilis and correlates past and present therapeutic use. This information contributes to the appreciation of historical records in the contemporary use of natural products. The analysis of documental records is important for comparing information available overtime about the medicinal use and application of specific species. The present research was based on the analysis of a Jesuit work and other complementary documents. The medicinal effect of mururé is attributed to its latex, and dosage and adverse reactions are described. Historical documents stand out as valuable assets for pharmaceutical technology because they allow comparisons to be made between past and present uses of species as curative agents.
  • Cereus jamacaru DC. (Cactaceae): From 17 th century naturalists to modern day scientific and technological prospecting Article

    Silva, Luana Fernanda Costa Raulino; Valle, Luci de Senna; Nascimento, Ana Regina Campos; Medeiros, Maria Franco Trindade

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Mandacaru (Cereus jamacaru DC - Cactaceae) possesses peculiar physiological and morphological characteristics that allow it to withstand long periods of scarcity and to adapt to different environments. Several uses have also been reported for the species from the 17th century to the present day. Given this history and the importance of the usage of mandacaru, the present investigation aimed to gather information about its uses from different documentary sources, and to perform a comparative analysis between past and present uses. Historia Naturalis Brasiliae by Piso and Marcgrave (17th century) served as the primary source, while information on labels of exsicates in botanical collections, basic scientific literature, and applications for patent filing at INPI, EPO, USPTO, WIPO (until October 2017), served as secondary sources. According to established categories of use, both the primary source and secondary sources revealed that mandacaru has had several applications, among which use for food and medicinal purposes stand out. Other uses, such as ornamental, magical-religious, civil construction and rural fences, were also reported. Despite the numerous references of usage in the documentary sources, knowledge about the potential use of C. jamacaru is not widely spread nor well protected.
  • Wild vegetables do not lie: Comparative gastronomic ethnobotany and ethnolinguistics on the Greek traces of the Mediterranean Diet of southeastern Italy Article

    Pieroni, Andrea; Cattero, Valentina

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Bio-cultural and historical aspects of the “wild plant” portion of the Mediterranean Diet are still very much understudied despite the large number of bio-medical studies on the topic. The current gastronomic ethnobotanical and ethnolinguistic field study focused on the wild leafy vegetables used among Greek populations in SE Italy and NE Greece. A total of 52 folk taxa, corresponding to 58 wild botanical species, were recorded. The frequency of consumption of these wild ingredients was higher in NE Greece than in SE Italy, although approximately one-third of the recorded wild taxa overlapped in the two study sites. Most of these common species were designated by cognates, having in most cases a clear Greek origin, while one-third of the recorded wild vegetables in SE Italy were also used by another Greek diaspora living in SW Italy. The majority of the original Greek wild vegetables are synanthropic weeds. It is likely that the culinary uses of these species originated in the Near East during the post-Neolithic period before they migrated west to Italy and the Mediterranean Basin via Greece and Greek diasporas.
  • Legacies of intensive management in forests around pre-columbian and modern settlements in the Madeira-Tapajós interfluve, Amazonia Article

    Ferreira, Maria Julia; Levis, Carolina; Iriarte, José; Clement, Charles R.

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Amazonian peoples use and manage plant populations in previously domesticated landscapes, but the extent of landscape transformation remains uncertain, especially in interfluvial areas. We tested the hypothesis that useful plant communities vary in richness, abundance and basal area around pre-Columbian and current settlements independent of the distance to a major river. Nine plots were established at different distances from settlements in the Humaitá National Forest and the Jiahui Indigenous Land, where trees and palms with DBH ≥ 10 cm were sampled. Interviews were used to identify species, their uses and management practices. We found high values of richness, abundance and basal area of useful species around settlements both close to and 70 km from the major river. Different use categories presented different responses to current management, which shows that management by current and past populations is selective. We showed that areas of intensive management and landscape transformation are not limited to the margins of major rivers, but also occur in interfluvial areas within a radius of 5 km from pre-Columbian and current settlements. Indigenous people and local communities manage forests around their settlements over time, showing that they are key actors in the sustainable use of Amazonia.
  • Useful plants referenced by the naturalist Richard Spruce in the 19th century in the state of Pará, Brazil Article

    Santos-Fonseca, Dyana Joy dos; Coelho-Ferreira, Márlia; Fonseca-Kruel, Viviane Stern da

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT The present work sought to study the biocultural collections made by the naturalist Richard Spruce in the 19th century while in the state of Pará, Brazil. The material is largely deposited in the Herbarium and the Museum of Economic Botany at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK. Complementary studies were undertaken in Brazilian institutions to gather more information about the useful plants cited by Spruce for Pará and their respective vernacular names and uses in the 19th century. Information was also gathered concerning the current uses of the plants by analyzing contemporary ethnobotanical studies. A total of 54 vernacular names of useful plants were recovered, including 51 native species of which 33 are used for construction purposes, 18 as food resources, eight for medicinal purposes, and one species as an ichthyotoxin. It is interesting to note that 80 % of the uses described for these plants in the 19th century in Pará continue into the present day. It is hoped that the present work will serve to promote future studies involving biocultural collections that document the history of local populations and recognize the importance of traditional knowledge in the Amazon region.
  • Market integration does not affect traditional ecological knowledge but contributes additional pressure on plant resources Article

    Silva, Temóteo Luiz Lima da; Campos, Juliana Loureiro de Almeida; Alves, Ângelo Giuseppe Chaves; Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Market integration can affect the manner in which individuals learn about and use natural resources. The present study explores the influence of market integration on the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and use of natural resources in handicraft production among the Fulni-ô indigenous people of Northeast Brazil. We collect data from 67 artisans about their traditional and non-traditional handicrafts, which are mainly produced for external trade demand (our proxy for market integration). Data regarding the distribution of knowledge among different segments of the population, according to socioeconomic variables, and the comparison of plant biomass used for traditional and non-traditional handicrafts, reveals that integration does not affect the distribution of TEK but leads to a higher consumption of native plant resources, which can negatively affect the populations of the species used. The present findings indicate a future scenario of the replacement of TEK with knowledge that yields higher economic returns. The most experienced artisans have greater traditional ecological knowledge of traditional handicrafts and can play a fundamental role in maintaining traditional knowledge in the context of market integration. Finally, temporal evaluation studies in particular are needed to better understand changes in knowledge derived from market integration.
  • Perception and use of non-native and invasive flora from Sierras de Córdoba in central Argentina Article

    Martínez, Gustavo Javier; Manzano-García, Jessica

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT The perception, knowledge and use of non-native and invasive flora by social actors associated with protected areas in central Argentina were analyzed. Contemporary ethnoecology methods were followed. A total of 108 non-native species of botanical interest was documented. An organization of species is proposed according to their Relative Importance, and on an attitude scale in relation to conservation/elimination interest. In the case of invasive species, perceptions on ecology, importance and/or control are discussed based on the profiles of the social actors. The results shed light upon local points of view and nuances of what “non-native” and “invasive” means to the studied rural population. The use spectrum for some of the non-native species has shed light on adaptation to the cultural use of species based on resource availability, not necessarily associated with preference. Additionally, it should be noted that local actors perceive non-native and invasive species differently, which should be considered in the development of management and conservation guidelines.
  • Dynamics of the botanical knowledge of the Laklãnõ-Xokleng indigenous people in Southern Brazil Article

    Heineberg, Marian Ruth; Hanazaki, Natalia

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT We analyzed the botanical knowledge of the Laklãnõ-Xokleng people in the Ibirama Laklãnõ Indigenous Territory. They are the last remnant of this ethnicity living in a unitary socio-political organization. The objective was to investigate the dynamics, distribution and transmission of botanical information. We interviewed 112 people in two villages about known and used plants. Data were collected through structured socioeconomic questionnaires, free lists and walk-in-the-woods tours. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and metrics of social network analysis. Of the 314 plants mentioned in the interviews, 77 % were currently used, 15 % were used in the past, and 8 % were known but never used. Men cited more plants than women. We found no correlation between the distribution of knowledge and age, but there was a relationship between families that valued Laklãnõ-Xokleng culture and individual knowledge. Transmission of knowledge about plants used medicinally and for handicrafts occurs mainly between generations and during childhood. Transmission networks emphasize the central position of elders as knowledge transmitters for their families. Different network topologies reflect particular dynamics in the medicinal and handicraft use of plants. External and internal pressures have caused changes in the transmission of the botanical knowledge of the Laklãnõ-Xokleng.
  • Medicinal plants for the "nerves": a review of ethnobotanical studies carried out in South Brazil Article

    Gross, Andressa Verdum; Stolz, Eveline Dischkaln; Müller, Liz Girardi; Rates, Stela Maris Kuze; Ritter, Mara Rejane

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Among the medicinal purposes for which plants have been used is the treatment of “nerves". The objective of this study was to search for species of plants used in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (South Brazil) for the relief of symptoms related to central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Twenty-seven ethnobotanical studies were compiled, in which a total of 94 species were cited. The five most cited species were Cymbopogon citratus (81.5 %), Melissa officinalis (77.7 %), Aloysia citriodora (66.6 %), Matricaria chamomilla (62.9 %) and Passiflora edulis (51.8 %). Scientific studies have corroborated the popular use of these plants as sedatives, but most studies are preclinical and very few have been clinical (M. chamomilla and M. officinalis), and these were mainly exploratory or were performed against placebo. In addition to efficacy data, there are also indications of toxicity for M. chamomilla and P. edulis. In conclusion, there is a great diversity of plant species used in the treatment of symptoms related to CNS disorders, and they are most frequently used as a sedative. Data indicate that M. officinalis possesses clinical efficacy in the treatment of symptoms associated with anxiety without signs of toxicity.
  • Can socioeconomic factors explain the local importance of culturally salient plants in a social-ecological system? Article

    Sousa, Rosemary da Silva; Medeiros, Patrícia Muniz de; Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT The aim of this work was to determine whether socioeconomic factors explain the importance of culturally salient plants to social-ecological systems. Extractive communities of the Araripe-Apodi Environmental Protection Area in Northeast Brazil were studied, and a random sample of the population was selected. Quantitative variables (education, age and income) were analyzed using Spearman correlations, while categorical variables (gender and occupation) were analyzed using Mann-Whitney tests. Relationships between socioeconomic factors and the importance of culturally salient plants were all weak. Nevertheless, age influenced the local importance of the largest number of species. Other factors not considered in this study (historical, cultural, ecological, and psychological) may be outstanding predictors of the importance of culturally salient plants and should be studied in future investigations.
  • The use of firewood in protected forests: collection practices and analysis of legal restrictions to extractivism Article

    Nascimento, Luciana Gomes de Sousa; Ramos, Marcelo Alves; Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino; Araújo, Elcida de Lima

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Restrictions to the collection of timber resources in protected areas have been scarcely studied. The aim of this study was to describe the practices of firewood collection in a protected forest and the perceptions of collectors, particularly with regard to their adjustment to the rules of the local management plan. The study involved 102 participants of a rural community adjacent to the Araripe National Forest and employed semi-structured interviews, free-listing and in-situ survey techniques for ethnobiological data collection. The volume of wood stored was measured and monitored using a modification of the weight survey technique. The residents used 69 plant species for firewood Most of the informants self-reported disagreement with the rules of the management plan, yet they tended to comply. Most interviewees felt that the rules of the management plan needed to be changed, especially those related to the day when firewood can be collected, fees charged and means of transportation. Management plans certainly represent a relevant strategy for the conservation of biodiversity, but they need continuous evaluation and adjustment to meet the needs of local human populations.
  • Describing and diffusing the ethnobotanical knowledge of Bogotá D.C. (Colombia) through an online tool focused on common names of plants Article

    Rodríguez-Calderón, Ángela; Muñoz, José A.; Moreno, Diego; Celis, Marcela

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Although ethnobotanical knowledge is considered potentially valuable information for several human disciplines, it is currently declining due to a decrease in the transmission of cultural knowledge and the depletion of natural resources. Consequently, focused efforts are required to compile such information and ultimately facilitate its diffusion. Bogotá D.C. consists of a large territory of rural and urban zones which has become a place of diverse cultural dynamics due to complex processes of historical evolution, making it an important target to conserve ethnobotanical knowledge. Here, we made a thorough compilation of ethnobotanical data for Bogotá focusing on plant common names and developed a freely available online tool (Platform of Plant Common Names of Bogotá) with the aim of preserving and promoting the transmission of biocultural heritage. The compiled dataset consists of over 2,226 combinations between scientific and common names which may be queried using the online tool, leading to specific pages that display several additional features. Since its launch, the online tool has been visited over 6200 times, mainly by Colombian users under the age of 34, which is conveniently in line with our goal of improving the intergenerational transmission of biocultural heritage.
  • A biocultural approach to the use of natural resources in Northeast Brazil: A socioeconomic perspective Article

    Silva, Nylber Augusto da; Alves, Ângelo Giuseppe Chaves; Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino de; Ramos, Marcelo Alves

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT We employed a biocultural approach to understanding the dynamics of knowledge ans use of natural resources associated in immaterial aspects of culture. We investigated whether factors such as sex, income, age, religion, occupation and time of participation in cultural practice influence the richness of species known and used by members of Cavalo Marinho, expression of the popular culture of the Brazilian Northeast that brings together theater, music and dance. We recorded a total of 111 ethnospecies (95 plants and 16 animals), based on information obtained from 56 informants. .There was a predominance of native plants and domestic animals in the knowledge of the participants in this cultural expression, although effective use is restricted to few species. Men had greater knowledge of the species than women, while people with greater schooling and income, and those whose occupation is related to agriculture, homecare and art, used more resources than other participant. The influence of socioeconomic factors on the knowledge and use of natural resources related to intangible aspects of culture differs, in some respects (schooling, gender and occupation), from that reported for the use of natural resources for subsistence purposes.
  • The use of firewood for home consumption and the fabrication of hand-crafted ceramics in a semi-arid region of Northeast Brazil Article

    Silva, Mariana Cavalcanti Gomes da; Ramos, Marcelo Alves; Alves, Angelo Giuseppe Chaves

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT This study aimed to identify, analyze and compare different uses of firewood for home consumption and for handicraft work in rural communities in Altinho, Pernambuco, Brazil. Semi-structured and free-listing interviews were performed to catalog the plants that were better known by locals and that were mostly used as firewood for home consumption and handicraft work. Two in situ inventories were performed at the homes of the study location in order document the plants that were actually used. A total of 39 species of woody plants belonging to 16 botanical families were registered. The most widely-known species for both uses were also the species that were most used and preferably-used-as-wood by the population. The plants most preferably-used-as-wood by the participants, which were selected as samples, were also those that the participants identified as having superior quality. Thus, there is a small group of plants that is used for both activities, and thus more vulnerable to extractivism, and which ought to be conserved. Alternative management strategies are needed that secure the availability of these species in the future to meet the needs of the local population and to conserve biodiversity.
  • Medicinal plants in cultures of Afro-descendant communities in Brazil, Europe and Africa Article

    Pasa, Maria Corette; Hanazaki, Natalia; Silva, Olga Maria Duarte; Agostinho, Adelaide Bela; Zank, Sofia; Esteves, Maria Inês Pires Neves

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Ethnomedicine focuses on empirical and traditional knowledge of healing practices of different human groups, including the use of plants as medicine. We aimed to determine whether there is consensus regarding the use of plants in traditional medicine of Afro-descendant communities in Brazil, Europe and Africa. Data were obtained through interviews, walks-in-the-woods, participant observations and bibliographic searches. We analyzed similarities among data sets to determine whether there is convergence in the use of traditional medicinal plants among these communities considering that they share influence from African culture and a common spoken language (Portuguese). Similarities among communities were assessed through cluster analysis using presence or absence data for the variables. We recorded 405 medicinal plants, most of which were spontaneously occurring, although some were cultivated. The most represented botanical families were Asteraceae and Lamiaceae. Similarity in medicinal plants among communities was found to be tenuous due to the biogeographical and spatial characteristics of the biomes, and to historical and cultural peculiarities of each locality, resulting in different sets of medicinal plants. This study contributes to understanding the role of the historical legacies of the African diaspora and of European (Portuguese) expansion in the adaptation and maintenance of new elements in local floras.
  • Ethnobotany of native cacti in the northeast region of Brazil: can traditional use influence availability? Article

    Lima-Nascimento, Ailza Maria de; Bento-Silva, José Severino; Lucena, Camilla Marques de; Lucena, Reinaldo Farias Paiva de

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Documenting the uses of native species of Cactaceae in Northeast Brazil contributes to understanding how the inhabitants of this seasonally dry and low-rainfall region have used these resources, considering that some species of this family of Cactaceae are among the most endangered in the world. The aim of this research was to determine which species of Cactaceae occur in the study area and investigate the knowledge and recurrent uses associated with them, as well as the local availability of the species most used by residents. Ethnobotanical data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 59 heads of households. Guided tours were conducted for data collection and subsequent taxonomic identification of species. Use value and availability were determined for the most-used species in two predefined areas. Six native species were recorded and classified into eight categories. Columnar species had higher use values, while fodder and construction were the most cited use categories. Cereus jamacaru DC was the most-used species, with consequent interference in its availability due to significant reduction in the number of cladodes as a result of their constant removal from plants in areas of direct use for the purpose of fodder.
  • What matters in free listing? A probabilistic interpretation of the salience index Methods

    Chaves, Leonardo da Silva; Nascimento, André Luiz Borba do; Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Free listing is a data collection technique used in different subject areas to characterize a given cultural domain. Analysis of a set of lists from a human population allows inferences to be made about the cultural salience of the items in that domain. However, the challenge that the salience index presents is establishing a threshold value for determining whether an item can be considered salient or not. The present analysis reveals how to determine which items of a list have non-randomly determined citation frequency and order. Monte Carlo techniques were used to create a hypothetical null scenario. The present analysis not only objectively identifies which items stand out in relation to the others, it also reveals which items can be considered idiosyncratic and how order and frequency independently influence the salience index. The present analysis represents a useful tool for analyzing data collected through free listing. It also can contribute to understanding processes related to the cultural relevance of items and to the test future hypotheses in different areas of knowledge.
  • The role of kinship in knowledge about medicinal plants: evidence for context-dependent model-based biases in cultural transmission? Short Communication

    Brito, Camilla de Carvalho de; Ferreira-Júnior, Washington Soares; Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino; Ramos, Marcelo Alves; Silva, Taline Cristina da; Costa-Neto, Eraldo Medeiros; Medeiros, Patrícia Muniz de

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT The similarity in traditional knowledge of medicinal plants was evaluated to draw inferences about the most important models for local knowledge transmission. The following questions were addressed: (1) Do related individuals possess greater similarity in knowledge of medicinal plants than unrelated individuals? (2) Do related individuals of the same generation possess greater similarity in knowledge than do related individuals of different generations? Semi-structured interviews were conducted on the medicinal plants known by the residents of a rural community in western Bahia. Mann-Whitney tests were used to compare Jaccard similarity values between related and unrelated individuals and between relatives of the same generation and relatives of different generations. Related individuals were found to have more similar knowledge than unrelated individuals, and relatives of the same generation were found to have more similar knowledge than relatives of different generations. These findings suggest that there are factors that favor cultural transmission between relatives of the same generation other than just vertical transmission.
  • Ten important questions/issues for ethnobotanical research Viewpoint

    Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino; Nascimento, André Luiz Borba; Soldati, Gustavo Taboada; Feitosa, Ivanilda Soares; Campos, Juliana Loureiro Almeida; Hurrell, Julio Alberto; Hanazaki, Natalia; Medeiros, Patricia Muniz de; Silva, Rafael Ricardo Vasconcelos da; Ludwinsky, Rafaela Helena; Ferreira, Washington Soares; Reyes-García, Victoria

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT For at least 30 years researchers have called for a deeper reflection on the paths we desire for ethnobotanical research. Although the discipline of ethnobotany is growing, as measured by the number of publications in the area, there is still work to be done regarding the homogeneity of theoretical and methodological approaches and the implications of ethnobotanical research findings for society as a whole. In this article we present 10 questions/issues that we believe can guide the research and actions of ethnobotanists for the coming years.
  • From the colonialist to the “autobotanical” approach: the evolution of the subject-object relationship in ethnobotanical research Viewpoint

    Baldauf, Cristina

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT This article explores the evolution of the subject-object relationship in ethnobotanical research. Discussion of the main tendencies of each time period revealed a great distance between subject and object during the beginning of ethnobotany, which decreased in subsequent phases, and only became absent in some contemporary works. Furthermore, paradigmatic transitions in ethnobotany were found to be incomplete and multiple paradigms were found to coexist simultaneously in present time, despite important epistemological ruptures. Analysis of presentations at the last Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology revealed not only an expressive participation of traditional communities, but also a considerable amount of work based on the "autobotanical" approach; a recent trend that expresses a greater symmetry in the consideration of different ways of thinking, knowing and performing research in ethnobotany. Finally, this article discusses the profile of the "new" ethnobotanists, who often occupy spaces of mediation among different knowledge systems and social groups due to their capacity for intercultural communication, as well as their preference for action in contexts related to social and environmental justice.
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