The use of medicinal plants by an indigenous Pataxó community in NE Brazil

O uso de plantas medicinais por uma comunidade indígena Pataxó no NE do Brasil

We identified and classified 48 medicinal plants used by the Pataxó Indians in south Bahia, Brazil. The location is an ecologically threatened area designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The aim of this paper is to document phytotherapeutic practices in the indigenous community of Mata Medonha. We conducted interviews with the 25 families present at the area. Of the 48 medicinal species identified, only 14 (29%) had been examined for mechanism of action or isolation of biochemical compounds, according to bibliographic research. The plants were deposited at the Alexandre Leal Costa Herbarium of the Federal University of Bahia. We gathered information about the preparation and uses of the plants. The species are used for a variety of maladies, including flu, congestion, bronchitis and headaches, pain, snake bites, and some were only used for women's disorders. The Pataxó ethnopharmacological knowledge is under pressure from the economic outmigration of the community and threats to the biodiversity from logging, mining, and tourism. The plants studied here include important drug candidates. Additional research on the molecular aspects of the species cited should be performed.

medicinal plants; indigenous community; ethnobotany; Pataxó; Bahia


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