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J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jan 7;133(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.08.056. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

Ethnopharmacological use of babassu (Orbignya phalerata Mart) in communities of babassu nut breakers in Maranhão, Brazil.

Author information

1
Laboratório de Microbiologia, Centro Universitário do Maranhão, São Luis, Maranhão, Brazil. mercia_hsls@hotmail.com

Abstract

AIM OF THE STUDY:

Products derived from the palm tree Orbignya phalerata Mart, a species popularly known in Brazil as babassu, are used for the treatment of different diseases such as rheumatism, ulcers and inflammatory processes. The objective of this study was to perform a sociodemographic survey among communities of babassu nut breakers in the region of Médio Mearim, Esperantinópolis, Maranhão, Brazil, and to evaluate the frequency and main forms of therapeutic use of babassu products and subproducts.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A semiquantitative method was used for the survey, with the application of semistructured interviews consisting of closed and semi-open questions. The data were analyzed using the SPSS 16.0 software for Windows (2007).

RESULTS:

The results showed that 82% of female nut breakers had a household income of less than US$ 280.00 and only 2% earned more than US$ 500.00. With respect to race and educational level, 61% of the interviewed women were mulattoes and 33% had a low educational level. The babassu-derived products most frequently used for medicinal purposes were the mesocarp, a residue called "borra", and oil. The mesocarp flour was used by 90% of nut breakers for the treatment of gastritis and inflammation and by 77% for leukorrhea. Babassu residue was mainly used for the treatment of wounds (60%) and the oil was used for woundhealing (16%) and leukorrhea (8%).

CONCLUSIONS:

In conclusion, the products derived from babassu are used for the treatment of gastritis, leukorrhea and wounds. In addition, most of the interviewed subjects apply these products topically.

PMID:
20832463
DOI:
10.1016/j.jep.2010.08.056
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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