Phyllanthus piscatorum, ethnopharmacological studies on a women’s medicinal plant of the Yanomamı̈ Amerindians

In memory of Helena VALERO (napëyoma) [1925–2002]
  • a Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
  • b Yanomamı̈ comunidad Mahekoto (Platanal), Alto Orinoco, Estado Amazonas, Venezuela
  • c Bruderhöflistrasse 32, 8203 Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Phyllanthus piscatorum , ethnopharmacological studies on a women’smedicinal plant of the Yanomam¨ı Amerindians

The shrub Phyllanthus piscatorum Kunth (Euphorbiaceae) is cultivated by various ethnic groups of the Amazon because of its piscicidal properties. During ethnobotanical fieldwork among the Yanomamı̈ Amerindians in Venezuela we observed that Phyllanthus piscatorum was exclusively cultivated and used by the women. Aerial parts of this herbaceous shrub are employed as fish poison and medicine to treat wounds and fungal infections. In addition, the leaves are used as tobacco substitute. Ethnobotanical data regarding the context of the use of this plant are presented. To validate ethnobotanical information related to its medicinal indications, antimicrobial, and antiprotozoal properties of water, methanol (MeOH) and dichloromethane (DCM) extracts were studied. No activity against Gram-positive bacterial strains but significant activity against the fungi Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus flavus and the yeast Candida albicans were found. All extracts showed weak in vitro activity
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