The development of projects that include the cultivation and processing of medicinal plants with quality is urgent and necessary, especially when considering the offer increase of these products to the Unified Health System (SUS). In this study, we evaluated the potential of the Rio das Velhas" watershed region (BHRV) in producing and using medicinal plants. We visited 45 cities of the watershed, seeking information about existing production and collective use of medicinal plants. Afterwards, the data obtained in the fieldwork were confronted with epidemiological information, such as hospitalization rates and coverage of the Family Health Strategy. The research showed the existence of commercial and philanthropic activities in Belo Horizonte, Capim Branco, Curvelo, Lassance, Nova Lima and Sete Lagoas. Twenty-seven species, native and exotic ones, included in the 10/2010 Resolution edited by the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), are produced in these initiatives, and they occur both spontaneously and through cultivation. The correlation of the leading causes for hospitalization and the available plant species showed potential use of local plants, including by the Family Health Strategy. The development of the production chain, from the plants" cultivation to the medicines" dispensation for the SUS users, may represent an opportunity of integration of different actors and institutions in the region, besides increasing the economic and social development and contributing to the preservation of local biodiversity.
Rio das Velhas; Unified Health System; Medicinal plants chain production