Yucatec Mayan medicinal plants: evaluation based on indigenous uses

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Ankli, A, Heinrich, M, Bork, P, Wolfram, L, Bauerfeind, P, Brun, R, Schmid, C, Weiss, C, Bruggisser, R, Gertsch, J, Wasescha, M & Sticher, O 2002, 'Yucatec Mayan medicinal plants: evaluation based on indigenous uses', Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 43-52.

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As part of an ethnopharmacological field study 48 medicinal plants were evaluated using several biological assays with the goal to obtain information on the pharmacological effects of these plants, which may be of direct relevance to the indigenous uses. Three species used to treat gastrointestinal disorders showed remarkable activity against Helicobacter pylori. One of them showed activity against Giardia duodenalis. Cytotoxic effects against KB cells were found for six species. In the group of plants used for dermatological conditions several species were active against gram-positive bacteria and Candida albicans. Two plant species of this group were found to be active in an Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB) assay measuring inhibition of this pro-inflammatory transcription factor. A species of the Solanaceae, applied in cases of pain and fever, showed a weak activity against Plasmodium falciparum. One species traditionally used for diabetes exhibited antihyperglycemic activity. None of the six species from the group of 'women's medicine' showed relevant affinity to the D2 dopamine receptor. Based on this evaluation, plants with strong activities should be further investigated phytochemically and pharmacologically to identify active fractions and compounds.

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