Articles > Plants used traditionally to treat malaria in Brazil: the archives of Flora Medicinal

Plants used traditionally to treat malaria in Brazil: the archives of Flora Medicinal

Alexandros S Botsaris

IBPM (Brazilian Institute of Medicinal Plants), Rua Gal Urquiza 128, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 22431-040, Brazil

Abstract

The archives of Flora Medicinal, an ancient pharmaceutical laboratory that supported ethnomedical research in Brazil for more than 30 years, were searched for plants with antimalarial use. Forty plant species indicated to treat malaria were described by Dr. J. Monteiro da Silva (Flora Medicinal leader) and his co-workers. Eight species, Bathysa cuspidata, Cosmos sulphureus, Cecropia hololeuca, Erisma calcaratum, Gomphrena arborescens, Musa paradisiaca, Ocotea odorifera, and Pradosia lactescens, are related as antimalarial for the first time in ethnobotanical studies. Some species, including Mikania glomerata, Melampodium divaricatum, Galipea multiflora, Aspidosperma polyneuron, and Coutarea hexandra, were reported to have activity in malaria patients under clinical observation. In the information obtained, also, there were many details about the appropriate indication of each plant. For example, some plants are indicated to increase others’ potency. There are also plants that are traditionally employed for specific symptoms or conditions that often accompany malaria, such as weakness, renal failure or cerebral malaria. Many plants that have been considered to lack activity against malaria due to absence of in vitro activity against Plasmodium can have other mechanisms of action. Thus researchers should observe ethnomedical information before deciding which kind of screening should be used in the search of antimalarial drugs.

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2007, 3:18. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0).