Ethnodirected research in the discovery of new drugs of medical and pharmaceutical interest: flaws and perspectives

Ethnopharmacological and ethnobotanical investigations have been the main approach used by scientists all over the world as a strategy to select medicinal plants. The qualities and strengths of these approaches have been sufficiently discussed, and there are a few doubts left in relation to their potential and biological, economic, and social impacts. This article focuses on ethnodirected studies (ethnopharmacological and ethnobotanical), raising problems found in the quality of these studies. In addition, we point out some elements that might contribute to the improvement of approaches and publications that can be applied to different ethnodirected studies. We also suggest that researchers reconsider some of the dominant approaches, as well as the view of these studies, which is often simplistic.

Ethnobotany; ethnopharmacology; methods in ethnobotany; scientific methods; medicinal plants; bioprospecting

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