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Medicinal plants used by Ponta Pora community, Mato Grosso do Sul State/Levantamento etnobotanico em Ponta Pora, Estado do Mato Grosso do Sul.


In Brazil, ethnopharmacological studies are a great challenge, since the diverse Brazilian flora has been progressively destroyed and the popular medicine, a rich mixture of Indigenous, European and African knowledge based on tropical and medicinal plants, becomes more and more modified by modern culture (AMOROZO; GELY, 1988). In this context, the practices related to the popular use of medicinal plants are what many communities have as a viable alternative for the treatment of diseases or the maintenance of health. So, knowing how people use the natural resources becomes a great value in the feat of scientific knowledge. Albuquerque and Andrade (2002) remark that the knowledge about the combination between scientific and popular wisdoms generates the knowledge and assimilation of preparation techniques, which may favor the bases for future posology planning.

Another point of interest for the knowledge acquisition that the populations have about plants and their uses is in the response that the empirical basis developed by them, over the centuries, may have scientific evidence, in many cases, which can qualify the expansion of these uses to industrialized society (FARNSWORTH, 1988). Nevertheless, although Brazil has the greatest vegetal diversity in the world (BRASIL, 1998), during the last 20 years, the amount of information about medicinal plants grew only 8% annually. This demonstrates that in a country biologically so rich and with ecosystems so threatened, research with medicinal plants must be stimulated, since they may lead to the reorganizations of the usage structures from natural resources, having in mind the necessity of its extraction is associated to plant handling (MARIZ et al., 2006).

In Mato Grosso do Sul, some studies have been carried out. This work quotes the study by Schardong and Cervi (2000) that described the ethnobotanical knowledge of the plants marketed in the community of Sao Benedito, in Campo Grande. Bueno et al. (2005) verified the use of the plants in the native community by Caiua and Guarani, in Caarapo. Nunes et al. (2003) present a list of the plants marketed by street vendors in Campo Grande. In Dourados, Alves et al. (2008) carried out an ethnobotanical survey of vegetal species with medicinal properties, in two forest areas located in the city.

Thus, the aim of this present work was to intensify the knowledge and the use of medicinal plants by the community in Jardim Aeroporto, Ponta Pora, Mato Grosso do Sul State.

Material and methods

The research was carried out from July to October 2006, in Ponta Pora, located in western Mato Grosso do Sul State, in the Center-West region of the country and sharing a border with Pedro Juan Caballero, in Paraguay.

The geographical positioning of the city is between 21[degrees] and 23[degrees], with South latitude 23[degrees], 32', 30"; West longitude 55[degrees], 37', 30"; in an area of 5,359.30 [km.sup.2], and altitude of 655 m above sea level. It is the second town in altitude in the state, 328 km away from the capital, Campo Grande.

The chosen neighborhood was Jardim Aeroporto, located in the south side of the city, with approximately 250 houses. About 55% of the residents were visited at random, depending on the availability of the interviewees. The neighborhood presents modest houses built in wood or stonework, and the research was carried out at riverside areas. It benefits from the forest area from the 11 RC MEC military headquarters, one of the main causes to cultivate the medicinal plants. The interviews were made by the "free listing" method (BARUFFI, 2004) and for each interviewee it was requested to answer a previously validated questionnaire (Box 1), which consists of some personal data and some aspects about the ten most used plants.

The material recommended as medicinal was collected according to usual techniques and identified using specific literature, consulting a specialist and through a comparison with the collections from the herbarium of the Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados (DDMS) and from the Centro Universitario da Grande Dourados (HU).

For information on the therapeutic potential of the listed species and their popular names, several sources were used, such as: Correia (1926); Almeida et al. (1998); Ribeiro and Walter (1998); Proenca et al. (2000); Camargos et al. (2001); Rodrigues and Carvalho (2001); Farias et al. (2002); Lorenzi and Matos (2002); Durigan et al. (2004). For the presentation of the species, the Cronquist (1981) and APG (1998) classifications were considered. The taxonomic updating was performed by consulting the species index from the Royal Botanic Gardens--KEW (1993) and the writings of the authors followed the recommended standardization by Brumitt and Powell (1992).

Results and discussion

All information enclosed in this study was supplied by women who cultivate and prepare the plants for their own use.

For Amorozo and Gely (1988), there is a certain difference between male and female knowledge in relation to plants that grow in managed environments or not. In general, women control better the knowledge of plants that grow near their houses, yards and small farms, while men know better the plants of the field. But this specialization is not fixed at all, since some women know "country" remedies as well as their husbands.

In relation to the age group of the interviewees, it was verified that the majority of them (about 60%) were between 30 and 40 years old; 22% 20 to 30 years old; 10% less than 20 years old, and 8% between 40 and 50 years old.

As for schooling, it was detected that 90% of the interviewees had only primary education, 5% attended secondary education, and 7% did not have any formal education.

The interviewees, all living at Jardim Aeroporto, use 30 medicinal species, distributed in 28 genera and 17 families, presented around their houses (Table 1).

The families that presented larger number of species were Lamiaceae (7), Asteraceae and Leguminosae (4) and Rutaceae (2), respectively. These families, except for Leguminosae, were quoted by Medeiros et al. (2004) as those which presented a large number of species used as medicine by the rural population of Rio das Pedras Reserve, in Mangaratiba, Rio de Janeiro state. Marodin (2002) emphasized that Laminaceae and Asteraceae occupy the first positions in the surveys made in the south region of Brazil. Fuck et al. (2005) and Gazzaneo et al. (2005) also noted Laminaceae as the most representative for the urban area in Bandeirantes, in Parana State and in the Atlantic forest, in Pernambuco State, respectively.

Laminaceae is a plant rich in essential oils intended for industries, to produce medicines, perfumes and cosmetics (MORALES; SIMON, 1996).

Guarim Neto and Morais (2003) in a bibliographic study about medicinal plants from Cerrado, in Mato Grosso State, also recorded these same families; however, Leguminosae was the family with a large number of species, followed by Asteraceae, Bignoniaceae and Rubiaceae.

Asteraceae and Leguminosae are families with a ge number of species; consequently, with a higher obability of becoming used by the human populations. On the surveys carried out by other authors in different regions of Brazil, the most used species is Asteraceae and/or Fabaceae, for medicinal purposes. Alves et al. (2007) with a work achieved with herb sellers from Campina Grande, in Paraiba State, observed that the most used species for medicinal purposes belong to 17 botanical families; and Fabaceae is the most representative, followed by Anacardiaceae and Euphorbiaceae.


Recently, in Ouro Verde, in Goias State, Silva and Proenca (2008) achieved a survey from the most used botanical families, standing out Asteraceae (13 spp.) and Lamiaceae (11 spp.) as the most representative.

From the total of the interviewees, 90% used "carqueja" (Baccharis trimera), mint and aloe vera (Figure 1).

The leaf was the most cited and used vegetal part for preparing the medicines, followed by the roots, petals and the whole plant. Similar results were also observed by Fuck et al. (2005) and Alves et al. (2008). Corroborating the present data, Maioli-Azevedo and Fonseca-Kruel (2007) verified that the population of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro State, used predominantly the leaves for preparing the medicines (58%), flower (16.1%), the whole plant (10.7%) and in small percentages the stem (5.3%), fruit (4.3%), peel (3.3%) and roots (2.1%).

Amorozo (2002) observed that the population from Santo Antonio do Leverger, in Mato Grosso State, uses all vegetal parts but the leaves were the most used (including branches and sprouts); for the species from the Cerrado, the use of roots and peels were more common. However, Alves et al. (2007) observed a higher use of the peels for preparing the medicines (56%) by the population from Campina Grande, in Paraiba State; probably for its predominant kind of vegetation, on which the leaves do not constitute a resource of continuous supply. Parente and Rosa (2001), in a study about medicinal plants in Barra do Pirai, in Rio de Janeiro State, the use of the whole plant predominated.

According to Castellani (1999), the soft parts of the plants such as leaves, buds and flowers are the richest in volatile components, delicate fragrances and active principles, which diminish by the combined action of water and prolonged heat.

During the interviews, it was cited the in natura manner for preparing and using them--that is, consumed with cold water plus "erva de terere" (typical herb from the region) for preventing diseases. In most cases, the way for preparing it is a tea, through infusion (83% of the interviewees), followed by maceration (6%) and plaster (3%). Similar results were also observed by Castellani (1999) and Fuck et al. (2005).

In relation to the therapeutic indications, there are cases in which they refer to symptoms from determined illness (headache, bellyache, fever, colic and infection) and not to the illness itself. In other cases, the disease itself is the aim of the indication (flu and high blood pressure). Some indications are concerned with the expected effects while using the medicine as in cases used as purging, soothing and vermicide. There are also those in which the organ is remembered to achieve the treatment (throat, kidneys, intestine, stomach, eyes and others). Consequently, all these items reveal that there is no difference between symptoms and diseases for the interviewees.


Received on April 30, 2008.

Accepted on November 14, 2008.

DOI: 10.4025/actascibiolsci.v31i3.3206


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Zefa Valdivina Pereira (1) *, Rosilda Mara Mussury (1), Aparecida Barbosa de Almeida (2) and Andreia Sangalli (1)

(1) Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados, Rod. Dourados-Itahum, km 12, 79804-970, Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. (2) Secretaria de Educacao do Municipio de Ponta Pora, Ponta Pora, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. * Author for correspondence. E-mail:
Table 1. List of species used for medicinal purposes by the community
from the neighborhood Jardim Aeroporto, Ponta Pora, Mato
Grosso do Sul State.

                 Scientific Name/Number
Family           of Herbarium               Name

Asteraceae       Chamomilla recutita        Chamomile
                 (L.) Rauschert.
                 (DDMS 1458)

                 Baccharis trimera          Carqueja
                 (Less). DC (DDMS 978)

                 Acanthospermum australe    Bur
                 (Loefl.) Kuntze.
                 (DDMS 1401)

                 Bidens pilosa L.           beggartick
                 (DDMS 1541)

Caprifoliaceae   Sambucus nigra L.          Elder
                 (DDMS 2418)

Cecropiaceae     Cecropia pachystachya      Embauba
                 Trecul. (DDMS 2261)

Celastraceae     Maytenus ilicifolia        Cancorosa
                 Mart. Ex Reissek
                 (DDMS 1324).

Chenopodiaceae   Chenopodium ambrosioides   Mexican tea
                 L. (DDMS 864).

Cucurbitaceae    Sechium edule (Jacq.)      Chayote
                 Sw (DDMS 2670)

Flacourtiaceae   Casearia sylvestris        Cha-de-Bugre
                 Sw (DDMS 2313)

Lamiaceae        Rosmarinus officinalis     Rosemary diuret
                 L. (DDMS 1945)

                 Ocimum basilicum L.        Basil
                 (DDMS 2076)

                 Plectranthus barbatus      Boldo
                 Andr. (DDMS 860)

                 Melissa officinalis        Balm
                 L. (DDMS 898)

                 Mentha piperita L.         Mint
                 (DDMS 1343)

                 Mentha pulegium L.         Pennyroyal
                 (DDMS 883)

                 Salvia officinalis         Sage
                 L. (DDMS 1328)

Leguminosae      Stryphnodendron            Barbatimao
                 adstringens (Mart.)
                 Coville (DDMS 152)

                 Cassia hirsuta L.          Senna
                 (DDMS 1542)

                 Cassia angustifolia        Sene
                 Vahl. (DDMS 149)

                 Bowdichia virgilioides     Sucupira
                 Kunth. (HU 213)

Liliaceae        Aloe vera (L.) Burm.       Aloe
                 f. (HU 223)

Malvaceae        Malva sylvestris           Mallow
                 L. (DDMS 2306)

Musaceae         Musa paradisiaca           Banana
                 L. (HU 113)

Piperaceae       Piper dilatatum            Pariparoba
                 Rich. (DDMS 1798)

Plantaginaceae   Plantago major             Fleawort
                 L. (DDMS 2002)

Rubiaceae        Uncaria tomentosa          Cats claw
                 (Willd. ex Roem.
                 & Schult.) DC.
                 (HU 415)

Rutaceae         Ruta graveolens            Rue
                 L. (DDMS 873)

                 Citrus limonum             Lemon
                 Risso (DDMS 1724)

Verbenaceae      Stachytarpheta             Gervao
                 cayennensis (Rich.)
                 Vahl (DDMS 68)

Family           Medicinal use

Asteraceae       antiseptic; soothes eye and mouth irritations and
                 inflammations; used as digestive properties and
                 soothing for intestinal colic.

                 eliminates toxins from digestive system; used for
                 heartburns; colic; diabetes; uric acid; purging.

                 the root is diuretic. Cooked leaves are used for
                 diarrhea, hemorrhage, drips and vaginal inflammations.

                 used for jaundice; diabetes; dysentery; gonorrhea;
                 malaria; cough; gases in stomach; erysipelas and

Caprifoliaceae   tree purging; soothing; sudorific; diuretic; lightens
                 the skin; used for rheumatism; coughs; dandruffs.

Cecropiaceae     diuretic; lowers blood pressure; stimulates
                 circulation; used for coughs, bronchitis, respiratory

Celastraceae     tonic; analgesic; antiseptic; healing; diuretic;
                 purgative; used
                 for anemia, stomachache; dyspepsia; regulates
                 gastrointestinal functions, paralyzing abnormal

Chenopodiaceae   vermicide; stomach tonic; used for inflammations
                 and drips; diabetes; gases; mycosis; scabs and
                 cracks. Kills lice.

Cucurbitaceae    soothing and refreshing.

Flacourtiaceae   eliminates cholesterol, helps to lose weight;
                 purging; assists in ovary and prostate affections;
                 used for swelling legs and
                 heart ailments; lowers blood pressure.

Lamiaceae        diuretic; antimicrobial; digestive tonic;
                 indicated for bad circulation, nervous breakdown,
                 cough, menstrual pains, asthma, rheumatism; acts
                 against hair loss and dandruff;
                 hydrates and soothes the skin.

                 diuretic; purging; heart tonic; used in treatments
                 of period pains, gases, coughs; mouth ulcers,
                 rheumatism; acts against
                 hair loss; stimulates breast milk production.

                 tonic; diuretic; used for hepatic and biliary
                 infections; period pains; mycosis; increases
                 biliary secretion; stimulates
                 digestion; kills lice.

                 soothing; digestive.

                 antiseptic; eliminates parasites from digestive system;
                 relieves headaches; hydrates and soothes the skin.

                 soothing; digestive.

                 used for nervous breakdown, stress, depression.

Leguminosae      only for external use. Acts against infections,
                 tumors, wounds, discharges; vaginal itching; used as
                 astringent and healing.

                 laxative effects confirmed; diuretic; used in
                 treatments for liver and erysipelas. Its toasted
                 seeds help prostate
                 inflammations and it is used as vermicide.

                 laxative effect.

                 bark and tubers of the root: hemorrhages, gastric
                 affections, organic weakness, diabetes; rheumatism;
                 seeds: rheumatism, gout, arthritis, syphilis; skin
                 blemishes, ulcers, wounds.

Liliaceae        vera healing for skin inflammations, burns, eczemas,
                 erysipelas; acts against hair loss and dandruffs;
                 hydrates and regenerates cells; vermicide; used for
                 bronchitis and hemorrhoids.

Malvaceae        healing; used for inflammations and infections from
                 mouth, throat, larynx, eyes, ears, stomach, ulcers,
                 kidneys, bladder, ovaries, hemorrhoids.

Musaceae         used in treatments for bronchitis.

Piperaceae       diuretic, used for jaundice, spleen and liver
                 illnesses, colds; tumors and boils.

Plantaginaceae   astringent; purging; diuretic; used as mouth and
                 throat anti-inflammatory; and for asthma,
                 diarrhea, burns, eczemas, psoriasis; conjunctivitis.

Rubiaceae        used for diabetes, female cancer for urinary tract;
                 hemorrhages; menstruation irregularities; cirrhosis;
                 fevers; abscesses; gastritis;
                 rheumatism; inflammations; internal washing and tumors;
                 'normalize the body'. It is also used as contraceptive.

Rutaceae         kills lice; acts against eyes and ears inflammations
                 and boils (external use, preferably).

                 antispasmodic; antiseptic; astringent, healing and
                 nutritive properties; rich in citric acid and
                 vitamin C.

Verbenaceae      acts against organism weakness; used for hepatitis;
                 bad digestion; stomach and liver ailment; in
                 cataplasm form: it acts against tumors, boils and
                 urinary affections.
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Author:Pereira, Zefa Valdivina; Mussury, Rosilda Mara; de Almeida, Aparecida Barbosa; Sangalli, Andreia
Publication:Acta Scientiarum Biological Sciences (UEM)
Article Type:Report
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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