Ethnopharmacological Investigation of Plants Used to Treat Susto, a Folk Illness

Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3). 02/2007; 109(3):380-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2006.08.004
Source: PubMed


Selected plants used to treat susto, a folk illness recognized by various groups of Latin America, were screened for anxiolytic and/or fear suppression activity in behavioral assays. We found that the plant used by most of the healers interviewed (Adiantum tetraphyllum Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.; Adiantaceae) suppressed certain components of anxiety and fear. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the biological activity of Adiantum tetraphyllum. This finding supports the contention that susto may represent what in the Western culture is defined as fear or anxiety, and hence may share the same psychological, biological or neural underpinnings. In light of the available literature, this represents the first experimental investigation of the biological activity of plants specifically in the perspective of their use in treating a culture-bound syndrome.

18 Reads
  • Source
    • "Various indigenous communities throughout the world have through their long association with nature gathered extensive knowledge on medicinal plants and their properties, which they have used for treatment of various ailments (Grosvenor et al., 1995; Bourbonnais-Spear et al., 2007; Au et al., 2008; Asase et al., 2010; Maroyi, 2011). Modern allopathic medicine since its advent has looked down upon these traditional medicinal practices, dismissing them as superstitions or quackery. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Pahans and the Telis are two of the smallest indigenous communities in Bangladesh. The Pahans, numbering about 14,000 people are widely scattered in several northern districts of the country, while the Telis are such a small community that nothing has been reported on their numbers and lifestyle. Both tribes are on the verge of disappearance. One each of the Pahan and the Teli community was located after much search in two adjoining villages of Natore district, Bangladesh. Since the tribes were found to still depend on their traditional medicinal practitioners for treatment of ailments, it was the objective of the present study to document their traditional usage of medicinal plants and to evaluate such plants against modern research-based pharmacological activity studies on these plants. Interviews were conducted of the practitioners of the Pahan and Teli community of Natore district with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and using the guided field-walk method. Plant specimens as pointed out by the practitioners were collected and pressed on the field and identification completed at the Bangladesh National Herbarium. The Pahan tribal practitioners used 13 plants distributed into 9 families for treatment of 14 different ailments. The Teli tribal practitioner used 15 plants divided into 14 families for treatment of 17 different ailments. Eight out of the thirteen plants used by the Pahan tribal practitioner (61.5%) had reported relevant pharmacological activities in the scientific literature, while six out of the fifteen plants used by the Teli tribal practitioners (40%) had such relevant pharmacological activities in accordance with their usage. The medicinal plants used by the Pahans and Telis warrant further scientific studies toward discovery of lead compounds and efficacious drugs and the documentation and protection of the traditional medical knowledge held by these tribes.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines
  • Source
    • "The plants called " avenca " in Brazil represent species of Adiantum L. which are employed in folk medicine worldwide as antiinflammatory, analgesic, antiinfectious, and diuretic (Cambie and Ash, 1994; Barros and Andrade, 1997; Christensen, 1997; Gogoi, 2002; Bresciani et al., 2003). Infusions and compresses of Adiantum latifolium Lam. have been used in Latin American traditional medicine as anxiolytic, analgesic, and antiinflammatory (Barros and Andrade, 1997; Lopez et al., 2001; Bourbonnais-Spear et al., 2007). Adiantum latifolium has been used in Brazil to treat different types of pain, whereas in Colombia it was used for the treatment of cutaneous conditions associated with inflammation and infection (Lopez et al., 2001). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adiantum, one of the most widely distributed genera of the family Pteridaceae, is employed in folk medicine worldwide. Adiantum latifolium Lam. has been used in Latin American traditional medicine as anxiolytic, analgesic and antiinflammatory. The present study investigates the antinociceptive and antiinflammatory properties of the methanolic extract of Adiantum latifolium (MEA) in animal models of pain and inflammation to confirm its medicinal use. The antinociceptive and antiinflammatory activities of MEA were evaluated using the writhing, formalin, and tail-flick tests, carrageenan-induced paw edema and arachidonic acid-induced ear edema. Mice motor performance was evaluated in the rota rod test and the acute toxicity evaluated over 14 days. Intraperitoneal (1-100mg/kg) or oral (100-400mg/kg) administration of MEA produced a dose-related inhibition of acetic acid-induced writhing in mouse. Furthermore, treatment with MEA (100mg/kg) inhibited both the early and late phases of formalin-induced hypernociception. In contrast, MEA (100mg/kg/IP) did not prevent the thermal nociception in the tail-flick test. In addition, MEA (100 and 200mg/kg/IP) inhibited important events related to the inflammatory response induced by carrageenan or arachidonic acid, namely local edema and increase in tissue interleukin-1β levels. MEA (300mg/kg/IP)-treated mice did not show any motor performance alterations. Over the study period of 14 days, there were no deaths or toxic signs recorded in the group of mice given 1000mg/kg of MEA. The results demonstrate that Adiantum latifolium has antinociceptive and antiinflammatory activities, acting through the inhibition of IL-1β production.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Journal of ethnopharmacology
  • Source
    • "We will adopt an approach based on the biomedical model to evaluate the effectiveness for both medicinal and hallucinogenic applications. This subject has been extensively studied (Coelho, 1976; Monod, 1976; Rodríguez & Cavin, 1982; Fackelmann, 1993; Menéndez, 1994; Agosta, 1997; Rodrigues, 2001; Shepard Jr., 2002; De Feo, 2004; Toledo, 2006; Bourbonnais-Spear et al., 2007). Most of these authors indicate that, in addition to recognizing what we might call physiological diseases (diseases that would be accepted by modern medical science), many traditional communities also recognize diseases caused by supernatural agents (see, for example, Garro, 2000). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The ethnobotanical, anthropological and ethnopharmacological literature has shown a strong relationship between hallucinogenic plants and medical efficacy. Despite evidence from previous studies, many issues have not been discussed clearly enough to enable acceptance of this relationship. This study uses a literature survey to track how different authors have dealt with the issue and what future research opportunities may emerge. © 2010 Boletín Latinoamericano y del Caribe de Plantas Medicinales y Aromáticas.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · Boletin Latinoamericano y del Caribe de Plantas Medicinales y Aromaticas
Show more