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Plants used traditionally to treat malaria in Brazil: the archives of Flora Medicinal

The archives of Flora Medicinal, an ancient pharmaceuticallaboratory that supported ethnomedical research in Brazil for more than 30years, were searched for plants with antimalarial use. Forty plant speciesindicated to treat malaria were described by Dr. J. Monteiro da Silva (FloraMedicinal leader) and his co-workers. Eight species, Bathysa cuspidata, Cosmossulphureus, Cecropia hololeuca, Erisma calcaratum, Gomphrena arborescens, Musaparadisiaca, Ocotea odorifera, and Pradosia lactescens, are related asantimalarial for the first time in ethnobotanical studies. Some species,including Mikania glomerata, Melampodium divaricatum, Galipea multiflora,Aspidosperma polyneuron, and Coutarea hexandra, were reported to have activityin malaria patients under clinical observation. In the information obtained,also, there were many details about the appropriate indication of each plant.For example, some plants are indicated to increase others' potency.

There are also plants that are traditionally employed forspecific symptoms or conditions that often accompany malaria, such as weakness,renal failure or cerebral malaria. Many plants that have been considered tolack activity against malaria due to absence of in vitro activity againstPlasmodium can have other mechanisms of action. Thus researchers should observeethnomedical information before deciding which kind of screening should be usedin the search of antimalarial drugs.

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