Plants from the Brazilian Traditional Medicine: species from the books of the Polish physician Piotr Czerniewicz (Pedro Luiz Napoleão Chernoviz, 1812–1881)

Abstract

The Brazilian flora is very rich in medicinal plants, and much information about the traditional use of the Brazilian plants is only available from early literature and we are facing a rapid process of loss of biodiversity. To retrieve data about useful plants registered in the books of the Polish physicist P.L.N. Chernoviz, who lived in Brazil for 15 years in the 19th century. The aim is to improve our knowledge about Brazilian plants, and to ensure the benefits of sharing it with potential users. Data about Brazilian plants were obtained from six editions of the book Formulary and Medical Guide (Formulário e Guia Médico), published in 1864, 1874, 1888, 1892, 1897 and 1920. All this information was then organized in boxes, and correlated with pharmacological studies from PubMed and Lilacs. A total of 238 species were recorded and 117 different traditional uses were registered for the plants. The most common uses were to treat general skin diseases and intermittent fevers, as purgative, diuretics and andidiarrheal. From the total, only 61 species (25.6%) have been to date subject to pharmacological studies and had their activities confirmed. Chernoviz books represent an important source of data about plants used in traditional medicine of Brazil. Their records were collected at a time when Brazil’s native vegetation was still largely intact, and traditional medicine was practiced based on native plants. We argue that these plants must be prioritized in development of medicines, submitting them to clinical studies or by considering their traditionality, as established by WHO. Strategies for the protection of the traditional knowledge are also necessary.

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Correspondence to Maria G. L. Brandão.

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All authors contributed to the revision and writing of the manuscript. JPS reviewed and updated the botanical names. The results presented here are part of the PhD thesis or LMR.

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Ricardo, L.M., de Paula-Souza, J., Andrade, A. et al. Plants from the Brazilian Traditional Medicine: species from the books of the Polish physician Piotr Czerniewicz (Pedro Luiz Napoleão Chernoviz, 1812–1881). Rev. Bras. Farmacogn. 27, 388–400 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjp.2017.01.002

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Keywords

  • Historical records
  • Useful plants
  • Medicinal plants
  • 19 century