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Research and extension activities in herbal medicine developed by Rede FitoCerrado: rational use of medicinal plants by the elderly in Uberlândia-MG

This study aimed to carry out extension activities in herbal medicine from a survey of data on medicinal plants, herbal and conventional medicines used by 292 elderly people who attended a program of physical activity called Physical and Recreational Activities for the Elderly, in Uberlândia-MG, using a semi-structured questionnaire as means of investigation. Among the respondents 88% used prescription drugs, primarily for control of hypertension. The use of medicinal plants was reported by 76.7% of the elderly, being the most cited ones: Cymbopogon citratus, Mentha sp., Rosmarinus officinalis, Plectranthus barbatus, Ocimum gratissimum. and Matricaria chamomilla. Sixteen respondents (5,5%) used herbal medicines, especially those prepared from extracts of Ginkgo biloba, Aesculus hippocastanum, and Passiflora incarnata L. in association with Crataegus oxyacantha L. and Salix alba. The concomitant use of medicinal plants and herbal medicines with conventional drugs was reported by 86.2% and 81.3% of participants, respectively. After analyzing the data, we detected the need to develop educational activities to inform and educate seniors about the use of herbal medicine, encompassing the development a book and a primer for initial dissemination of this information, improving herbal medicine use among the elderly. This course of action would allow a greater knowledge of health professionals about the risks and benefits of this therapy, thereby contributing to the safe and rational use of herbal medicine.

Medicinal plants; Herbal Medicines; Elderly; Drug interactions; Extension activities

Sociedade Brasileira de Plantas Medicinais Sociedade Brasileira de Plantas Medicinais, Revista Brasileira de Plantas Medicinais, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Departamento de Farmácia, Bloco T22, Avenida Colombo, 5790, 87020-900 - Maringá - PR, Tel: +55-44-3011-4627 - Botucatu - SP - Brazil