Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 483–496 | Cite as

Physicochemical fingerprinting of thermal waters of Beira Interior region of Portugal

  • A. R. T. S. Araujo
  • M. C. Sarraguça
  • M. P. Ribeiro
  • P. CoutinhoEmail author
Original paper


Mineral natural waters and spas have been used for therapeutic purposes for centuries, with Portugal being a very rich country in thermal waters and spas that are mainly distributed by northern and central regions where Beira Interior region is located. The use of thermal waters for therapeutic purposes has always been aroused a continuous interest, being dependent on physicochemical fingerprinting of this type of waters the indication for a treatment in a specific pathological condition. In the present work, besides a literature review about the physicochemical composition of the thermal waters of the Beira Interior region and its therapeutic indications, it was carried out an exhaustive multivariate analysis—principal component analysis and cluster analysis—to assess the correlation between different physicochemical parameters and the therapeutic indications claims described for these spas and thermal waters. These statistical methods used for data analysis enables classification of thermal waters compositions into different groups, regarding to the different variable selected, making possible an interpretation of variables affecting water compositions. Actually, Monfortinho and Longroiva are clearly quite different of the others, and Cró and Fonte Santa de Almeida appear together in all analysis, suggesting a strong resemblance between these waters. Thereafter, the results obtained allow us to demonstrate the role of major components of the studied thermal waters on a particular therapeutic purpose/indication and hence based on compositional and physicochemical properties partially explain their therapeutic qualities and beneficial effects on human health. This classification agreed with the results obtained for the therapeutic indications approved by the Portuguese National Health Authority and proved to be a valuable tool for the regional typology of mineral medicinal waters, constituting an important guide of the therapeutic armamentarium for well and specific-oriented pathological disturbs.


Thermal water Physicochemical composition Therapeutic indications Beira Interior Portugal Multivariate analysis 



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (PEst-OE/EGE/UI4056/2014) and Mais Centro “UDI/Transferência de IDT e Desenvolvimento do Produto” da UDI-IPG (CENTRO-07-CT62-FEDER-005026).

Supplementary material

10653_2016_9829_MOESM1_ESM.tif (5.7 mb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 Biplot of the first two components of the PCA made with 7 variables (excluding total sulfur) (TIFF 5804 kb)
10653_2016_9829_MOESM2_ESM.tif (2.7 mb)
Supplementary Fig. 2 Dendogram of the cluster analysis performed with the Ward’s methods 8 variables in absolute values (TIFF 2728 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. R. T. S. Araujo
    • 1
  • M. C. Sarraguça
    • 2
  • M. P. Ribeiro
    • 1
  • P. Coutinho
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.CPIRN-UDI/IPG, Centro de Potencial e Inovação em Recursos Naturais, Unidade de Investigação para o Desenvolvimento do InteriorInstituto Politécnico da GuardaGuardaPortugal
  2. 2.LAQV/REQUIMTE, Departamento de Ciências Químicas, Faculdade de FarmáciaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal

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