All over the world plants have been used for medicinal purposes. In Brazil, there is no statistical research showing cultural and popular aspects for using medicinal plants. Intoxication, interactions with last generation allopathic and loss of knowledge of using plants are critical aspects of self-medication. The results obtained from 1.320 questionnaires, filled up at Rio de Janeiro State and by health professionals allowed us to check that medicinal plants are the main health treatment (for 63.0%), in spite of the availability of allopathic. It is used before consulting a doctor and concomitant with allopathic (55.9%), sometimes replacing it (52.4%). The results of this research show a lack of information from health professionals to cultural utilization of medicinal plants by the population, preferring alternative therapies that are not part of the Brazilian popular culture, such as acupuncture.
Phytotherapy; medicinal plants; alternative therapies