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      Medicinal plants of the caatinga (semi-arid) vegetation of NE Brazil: a quantitative approach.

      Journal of Ethnopharmacology
      Brazil, Humans, Phytotherapy, Plants, Medicinal, chemistry, classification, growth & development

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          Abstract

          The caatinga (semi-arid vegetation) is a Brazilian biome with a significant but poorly studied biodiversity closely associated with a diverse cultural heritage. The present work focused on analyzing published information available concerning medicinal plants used by traditional communities. We sought to contribute to future phytochemical and pharmacological investigations by documenting the therapeutic uses of native caatinga plants within the aims of modern ethnopharmacological research. Twenty-one published works cited a total of 389 plant species used by indigenous and rural communities in northeastern Brazil for medicinal purposes. The relative importance index (RI) of each species in these inventories was calculated, and information concerning the plant's local status (spontaneous or cultivated), distribution, and habit was recorded. Of the 275 spontaneous (non-cultivated) species cited, 15.3% were endemic to the caatinga. A statistical relationship was verified between the relative importance of the species and their endemic status (p<0.05). Herbaceous plants were more numerous (169) than trees (90) or shrubs and sub-shrubs (130) at a statistically significant level (p<0.05). A survey of published information on the phytochemical and pharmacological status of the plants demonstrating the highest RI supported the veracity of their attributed folk uses.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          17900836
          10.1016/j.jep.2007.08.017

          Chemistry
          Brazil,Humans,Phytotherapy,Plants, Medicinal,chemistry,classification,growth & development
          Chemistry
          Brazil, Humans, Phytotherapy, Plants, Medicinal, chemistry, classification, growth & development

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