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Introduction to Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Brazil

  • Ákos MáthéEmail author
  • José Crisólogo de Sales Silva
Chapter
Part of the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the World book series (MAPW, volume 5)

Abstract

MAPs have a long history in traditional medicine, and are still looked upon by certain Brazilian ethnic groups (e.g. Tupis and Guaranis), as “divine sources of healing”. In relation to extreme diversity and long, as well as rich traditions, the public knowledge on this special group of economic plants, is still relatively scarce, although much has been done to explore and utilize MAPs. Two of the world’s diversity hotspots (including the hottest of hotspots) can be found in the territory of Brazil (Mata Atlantica and Cerrado). These territories have been intensively studied to reveal the levels of habitat loss, rate of species extinction and to save their exceptional levels of plant endemism. In the past, there had been no reliable census of the plant species of Brazil flora. The first nationwide assessment of the naturalized flora of Brazil has revealed that as a result of human presence and actions, non-native species are widespread in all Brazilian biomes and regions. So called Mega-Developments taking place in certain domains of Brazil (e.g. the Amazon) already have major implications on the Global Climate Change. Traditional medicines, including herbal medicines, will continue to be used in Brazil to some capacity, similarly to several countries of the developing world, where 70–95% of the population rely on these traditional medicines for primary care. Brazil is one of the few countries in the world that provides public support for the payment for herbal medicines approved only on the basis of long-standing and widespread prior use. Brazil has a list of 12 herbal medicines funded by the government. The Ministry of Health of Brazil has presented a National Policy on Integrative and Complementary Practices (PNPIC), in 2008, in order to coordinate a Unified Health System (SUS) in Brazil and to establish policies to ensure integrality of health care. This policy is expected to contribute to the farther exploration, safeguarding and sustainable/modern utilization of medicinal plant resources in Brazil.

Keywords

Medicinal and aromatic plants Flora of Brazil Biomes Biodiversity hot-spots Endemic species Conservation Folk medicine Integrative medicine 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ákos Máthé
    • 1
    Email author
  • José Crisólogo de Sales Silva
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Agriculture and Food ScienceUniversity of West HungaryMosonmagyaróvárHungary
  2. 2.Course of Animal ScienceState University of Alagoas – Uneal – BrazilSantana do IpanemaBrazil

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