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J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jan 3;109(1):60-71. Epub 2006 Jul 15.

Plants popularly used for loosing weight purposes in Porto Alegre, South Brazil.

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Depto. de Botanica, Instituto de Biociencias, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. Av. Bento Gonçalves 9500, Prédio 43433, Campus do Vale, 91501-970 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


In this study, 14 herbalists (herb sellers) were interviewed about popular use of plants with weight loss purpose in Porto Alegre, a South Brazil city. For all identified species, scientific data were reviewed aiming to establish a correlation between popular use and biological properties. Seventy-eight samples were reported as having weigh loss properties. These samples come from 23 species and Asteraceae encompasses the greatest number of representatives. The greatest number of herbalist's citations was Baccharis articulata. The majority of plants have traditional use in Brazil but none is explicitly cited for loosing weight purposes. The pharmacological data are mainly from animal and in vitro studies and do not straight related to obesity. Only Ilex paraguariensis presents clinical data of efficacy in the treatment of obesity. Seven species present pre-clinical data that indicate a potential role in the control of certain conditions which are associated with obesity, such as hyperlipidemia (Campomanesia xanthocarpa, Cuphea carthagenensis, Cynara scolymus, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Ilex paraguariensis) and high levels of blood glucose (Achyrocline satureioides, Baccharis trimera, Campomanesia xanthocarpa). In conclusion, scientific data found are insufficient to guarantee the efficacy and safety of these plants for treating obesity. However, some of them present activities which could be useful to treat certain obesity comorbidities and deserve further studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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