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J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jul 30;124(3):600-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.04.049. Epub 2009 May 5.

Commercialization of animal-derived remedies as complementary medicine in the semi-arid region of Northeastern Brazil.

Author information

1
Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, Avenida das Baraúnas, Campina Grande, Paraíba 58109-753, Brazil. romulo nobrega@yahoo.com.br

Abstract

AIM OF THE STUDY:

In this study, we aim to document the use of animal species in traditional medicine and healing practices in the semi-arid region of Northeastern Brazil. While widespread and of great importance to large population that has limited access to contemporary medicine, such practices are poorly understood and the potential value of medicinal animal species largely unknown.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Based on interviews with the merchants of medicinal animals, we calculated the informant consensus factor (ICF) to determine the consensus over which species are effective for particular ailments, as well as the species relative importance to determine the extent of potential utilization of each species.

RESULTS:

We describe the therapeutic effects of 36 animal species used medicinally. The zootherapeutical products sold commercially are used to treat 40 health problems that were classified into 10 broad categories. We also highlight those species valued for their effectiveness against a range of ailments. The highest ICF value (0.91) was cited for diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, which include relief of symptoms such as acne and furuncles.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:

This study demonstrates that many animal species play an important role in healing practices. Animals provide the raw materials for remedies prescribed clinically and are also used in the form of amulets and charms in magic-religious rituals and ceremonies. The medicinal value of animal species depends on the local knowledge that exists within user communities, and therefore, the conservation of animal species is imperative to the preservation of local medicinal knowledge and culture.

PMID:
19422902
DOI:
10.1016/j.jep.2009.04.049
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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