Open Access

The faunal drugstore: Animal-based remedies used in traditional medicines in Latin America

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine20117:9

DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-7-9

Received: 12 January 2011

Accepted: 7 March 2011

Published: 7 March 2011

Abstract

Zootherapy is the treatment of human ailments with remedies made from animals and their products. Despite its prevalence in traditional medical practices worldwide, research on this phenomenon has often been neglected in comparison to medicinal plant research. This review discusses some related aspects of the use of animal-based remedies in Latin America, identifies those species used as folk remedies, and discusses the implications of zootherapy for public health and biological conservation. The review of literature revealed that at least 584 animal species, distributed in 13 taxonomic categories, have been used in traditional medicine in region. The number of medicinal species catalogued was quite expansive and demonstrates the importance of zootherapy as an alternative mode of therapy in Latin America. Nevertheless, this number is certainly underestimated since the number of studies on the theme are very limited. Animals provide the raw materials for remedies prescribed clinically and are also used in the form of amulets and charms in magic-religious rituals and ceremonies. Zootherapeutic resources were used to treat different diseases. The medicinal fauna is largely based on wild animals, including some endangered species. Besides being influenced by cultural aspects, the relations between humans and biodiversity in the form of zootherapeutic practices are conditioned by the social and economic relations between humans themselves. Further ethnopharmacological studies are necessary to increase our understanding of the links between traditional uses of faunistic resources and conservation biology, public health policies, sustainable management of natural resources and bio-prospecting.

Introduction

Throughout human history, people have used various materials from nature to cure their illnesses and improve their health [1]. Traditional human populations have a broad natural pharmacopoeia consisting of wild plant and animal species. According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of the developing world's rural population depends on traditional medicines for its primary healthcare needs [2]. In many parts of the world, traditional medicine is the preferred form of health care, and remains the most available and affordable form of therapy in low income countries [3]. Ingredients sourced from wild plants and animals are not only used in traditional medicines, but are also increasingly valued as raw materials in the preparation of modern medicines and herbal preparations. Nature has been the source of medicinal agents for thousands of years, and an impressive number of modern drugs have been isolated from natural sources, many based on their use in traditional medicine [1].

The use of biological resources for various therapies has been documented in many different parts of the world [416]. Plants and animals have been used as medicinal sources since ancient times [1, 2, 1722], and even today animal and plant-based pharmacopeias continue to play an essential role in world health care [1, 2, 4]. Although plants and plant-derived materials make up the majority of ingredients used in most traditional medical systems globally, whole animals, animal parts, and animal-derived products (e.g., urine, fat, etc.) also constitute important elements of the Materia Medica [2, 2325].

The use of organs or parts of animals as medicine is the basis of many traditional therapeutic practices [25]. Zootherapy is the treatment of human ailments with remedies made from animals and their products [2]. As Marques [26] states, "all human culture which presents a structured medical system will utilize animals as medicines". The phenomenon of zootherapy is marked both by a broad geographical distribution and very deep historical origins. In modern societies, zootherapy constitutes an important alternative among many other known therapies practiced worldwide [2, 2739]. Despite its prevalence in traditional medical practices worldwide, research on this phenomenon has often been neglected in comparison to medicinal plant research [2]. Traditionally, medicinal animals have received little attention from ethnobiologists and anthropologists. It is only within the past few decades that researchers have begun to systematically investigate the uses of medicinal plants, and an awareness of the variety and importance of nonbotanical remedies (of animal and mineral origin) is emerging [40]. In spite of the recent surge in publications about zootherapeutics the subject is still far from being well covered, and even more distant from being exhausted. The lack of zootherapeutic studies in Latin America (and in the world in general) has contributed to an underestimation of the importance of zootherapeutic resources [41, 42].

Many cultures still employ traditional medicine that includes animal-derived remedies. Probably the most famous of these are the Chinese, who use animals for a variety of ailments. Lesser known and studied, though just as varied and rich is Latin America's long tradition of animal-remedies for all kinds of ailments. Latin America's rich biological and cultural diversity makes it an exceptional location in which to examine and increase our knowledge of faunistic resources used as in traditional folk medicine, to draw attention to their importance in public health, and protect traditional knowledge and biodiversity.

Latin America is outstanding both because of its great wealth of genetic resources and complex cultural diversity [4346]. The adaptation of the various human groups to the region's rich biological resources generated invaluable local knowledge systems that include extensive information on plant and animal uses in general [43, 4759]. In that context, the aim of this study was to provide an overview of the use of medicinal animals in Latin America, identify those species used as folk remedies, and discuss the implications of zootherapy for public health and biological conservation.

Methods

Study area

Latin America is a vast region spanning parts of North America, almost all of South America, and much of the West Indies. It encompasses 19 countries as well as Puerto Rico, a commonwealth territory of the United States, and, arguably, even parts of southwestern United States [46]. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the population stood at 577 million in 2008 and is projected to increase to 778 million by 2050 [60]. It is the most urbanized region in the developing world, with around three-quarters of the population living in urban areas [43]. The population of Latin America is a composite of ancestries, ethnic groups, and races, making the region one of the most--if not the most--racially and ethnically diverse in the world. The specific composition varies from country to country: Some countries have a predominance of a mixed population, in others people of Amerindian origin are a majority, some are dominated by inhabitants of European ancestry, while others are primarily of African descent. Most or all Latin American countries also have large Asian minorities. Europeans are the largest single group, and they and people of part-European ancestry combine to make up approximately 80% of the population of the subcontinent [61].

Latin America is one of the world's principal culture regions. It is distinguished from other world regions by a set of common cultural traits that include language, religion, social values, and civic institutions deriving principally from the Iberian Peninsula. Spanish and Portuguese are predominant languages. Catholicism is practiced by a vast majority of the region's inhabitants, and social customs and civic institutions bear many similarities to those in Spain. Nevertheless, the region is not culturally monolithic. Indigenous cultures and peoples have influenced national and subnational cultures within region, affecting language, religion, music, food habits, social customs, and civic institutions. The descendents of African slaves have also influenced the region's culture, although their effects have been most pronounced in Brazil, the Caribbean, and coastal areas of Central and northern South America. The cultural impact of other immigrants, including those from Italy, Asia, the Middle East, and even a few from North America has been minor[46].

Procedures

In order to examine the diversity of animals used in traditional medicine in Latin America, all available references or reports of folk remedies based on animal sources were examined [4, 711, 2931, 36, 38, 40, 42, 62193]. Information was gathered from published articles, books and book chapters, theses and dissertations, undergraduate theses, as well as from reports, and abstracts available at international online databases such as Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar and journals' web sites. The resulting database encompassed information on species, family names, and conditions to which remedies are prescribed. Only taxa that could be identified to species level were included in the database. Scientific names provided in publications were updated according to the ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2011 Annual Checklist [194].

Medicinal fauna of Latin America

The use of medicinal fauna in Latin America has been the focus of some ethnozoological research over the last two decades, mainly in countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Bolívia. These studies have demonstrated the importance of zootherapy to both urban and rural populations. This is not surprising, considering the rich biological resources and cultural of the region, that generated invaluable local knowledge systems that include extensive information on animal uses in general and medicinally useful species, in particular.

A review of the literature revealed that at least 584 animal species have been used in traditional medicine in Latin America (Table 1). The high number of animals used as medicine is not surprising given the important role played by wildlife as a source of medicines in different parts of the world. Nevertheless, the number is certainly underestimated since the amount of studies on the theme are very limited. It is self-evident that there is an urgent need for more studies into zootherapeutic practices in the region.
Table 1

Medicinal animals and its respective uses in popular medicine in Latin America

Family/Species

Conditions to which remedies are prescribed

References

PORIFERA

  

Spongiidae

  

Spongia officinalis Linnaeus, 1759

Unspecified

[124]

CNIDARIANS

  

Mussidae

  

Mussismilia harttii (Verril, 1868)

Vaginal discharge, diarrhoea

[11, 149]

Physaliidae

  

Physalia physalia (Linnaeus, 1758) - Portuguese-man-of-war, jellyfish

Asthma

[79, 11, 31, 146]

MOLLUSCS

  

Ampullariidae

  

Pomacea lineata (Spix, 1827) - Snail, Clam

Asthma, sprains, boils, ulcer

[79, 11, 31, 97, 115, 146, 161, 169]

Megalobulimidae

  

Megalobulimus oblongus (Mueller, 1774) -clam

Asthma

[11, 66]

Donacidae

  

Iphigenia brasiliana (Lamarck, 1818) - giant coquina

Teething

[80, 146]

Loliginidae

  

Loligo vulgaris Lamarck, 1798

Unspecified

[80]

Cassidae

  

Cassis tuberosa (Linnaeus, 1758) - Conch

Asthma

[99, 146]

Littorinidae

  

Littorina angulifera (Lamarck, 1822) - Periwinkle snail

Chesty cough, shortness of breath

[79, 146]

Lucinidae

  

Phacoides pectinatus (Gmelin, 1791) - Shellfish

Sexual impotence

[11, 146]

Melongenidae

  

Pugilina morio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Conch

Sexual impotence

[11, 99, 146]

Mytilidae

  

Mytella charruana (Orbigny, 1842) - Mussel, Shellfish

Ophthalmological problems

[11, 99, 146]

Mytella guyanensis Lamarck (1819) - Mussel, Shellfish

Weakness

[79, 146]

Ostreidae

  

Crassostrea rhizophorae (Guilding, 1828) Mangrove oyster

Osteoporosis, pneumonia, stomach ache, cancer, flu, weakness, pain relief in injuries caused by the dorsal fin spine of a species of catfish, anaemia, tuberculosis

[79, 146]

Strombidae

  

Aliger pugilis Linnaeus, 1758 - West Indian fighting conch

Sexual impotence

[11, 99, 146]

Teredinidae

  

Neoteredo reynei (Bartsch, 1920) - Shipworm

Anaemia, tuberculosis

[69, 146]

Teredo pedicellata Quatrefages, 1849

Tuberculosis

[99, 146]

Vasidae

  

Turbinella laevigata (Anton, 1839) - Conch

Sexual impotence

[99, 146]

Veneridae

  

Anomalocardia brasiliana (Gmelin, 1791) - Clam, shellfish

Asthma, flu, stomach ache

[79, 146]

Octopodidae

  

Octopus vulgaris (Cuvier, 1799) - common octopus

Unspecified

[117]

ANNELIDA

  

Lumbricidae

  

Lumbricus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Inflamatory process

[87]

CHELICERATA

  

Bothriuridae

  

Bothriurus asper Pocock, 1893 - black scorpion

Ethnoveterinary use

[127, 178]

Buthidae

  

Rhopalurus rochai (Borelli 1910)

Scorpion bite, ethnoveterinary use

[127, 151, 178]

CRUSTACEANS

  

Calappidae

  

Calappa ocellata Holthuis, 1958 - Ocellate box crab

Asthma, osteoporosis

[11, 36, 146]

Gecarcinidae

  

Cardisoma guanhumi Latreille, 1825 - Blue land crab

Asthma, bronchitis, wounds, boils

[11, 146]

Grapsidae

  

Goniopsis cruentata (Latreille, 1802) - Mangrove root crab

Epilepsy, venereal disease

[79, 11, 99]

Plagusia depressa (Fabricius, 1775) - Tidal spray crab

Epilepsy

[11, 99, 146]

Hippidae

  

Emerita portoricensis Schmitt, 1935 - Puerto Rican sand crab

Earache

[11, 99, 146]

Ocypodidae

  

Ocypode quadrata (JC Fabricius, 1787) - Ghost crab

Asthma, haemorrhage in women, flu, to alleviate the symptoms of intoxication with poison of niquim (Pisces, Batrachoididae)

[79, 119, 146]

Ucides cordatus (Linnaeus, 1763) - Swamp Land crab

Haemorrhage in women, incontinence urinary, osteoporosis, cough, asthma, tuberculosis, womb disorders, arthrosis, bronchitis

[79, 119, 146]

Uca maracoani (Latreille, 1802) - Fiddler crab

Asthma, whooping cough

[79, 119, 146]

Palaemonidae

  

Macrobrachium carcinus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Bigclaw river shrimp, Painted river prawn

Amnesia

[11, 99, 146]

Macrobrachium acanthurus (Wiegmann, 1836) - Cinnamon river shrimp

Irritation when milk teeth are erupting

[79, 146]

Macrobrachium borellii (Nobili, 1896) - Freshwater shrimp

Irritation when milk teeth are erupting

[79, 146]

Penaeidae

  

Xiphopenaeus schmitti (Burkenroad, 1936) - Southern white shrimp

Irritation when milk teeth are erupting, skin spots

[79, 146]

Xiphopenaeus kroyeri (Heller, 1862) - Atlantic seabob

Irritation when milk teeth are erupting, skin spots

[79, 146]

Pseudosquillidae

  

Cloridopsis dubia (H. M. Edwards, 1837) - Mantis shrimp

Asthma

[79, 146, 164]

Armadillidiidae

  

Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille, 1804) - Pillbug

Asthma

[177]

Sesarmidae

  

Aratus pisoni (H. Milne Edwards, 1837) - Mangrove crab

Epilepsy, to alleviate the symptoms of intoxication with poison of Colomesus psittacus

[7, 9, 11, 99, 146]

Mithracidae

  

Mithrax hispidus (J. F. W. Herbst, 1790) - coral clinging crab

Burns

[151]

Portunidae

  

Callinectes bocourti A. Milne-Edwards, 1879 - Bocourt swimming crab

Unspecified

[80]

Callinectes exasperatus Gerstaecker, 1856 - rugose swimming crab

Unspecified

[80]

INSECTS

  

Apidae

  

Apis mellifera (Linnaeus, 1758) - Africanised honey bee

Cough, flu, rheumatism, tuberculosis, bronchits, hoarseness, ulcer, diabetes, verminosis, headache, giddiness, backache, wounds, burns, mumps, varicose veins, arthrosis, cellulitis, amoebiasis, sore throat, asthma, anaemia, catarrh

[79, 63, 97, 119, 146, 170]

Cephalotrigona capitata (Smith, 1854) - Bee

Snake bite

[11, 146]

Frieseomelitta silvestrii (Friese, 1902) - Stingless bee

Flu

[11, 146]

Frieseomelitta varia (Lepeletier, 1836) - Bee

Gonorrhea

[136]

Melipona compressipes (Fabricius, 1804) - Stingless bee

Asthma, cough

[79, 146]

Melipona mandacaia Smith, 1863 - Stingless bee

Wounds

[146, 170]

Melipona quadrifasciata Lepeletier, 1836 - Neotropical stingless bee

Snake bite

[146, 187]

Melipona scutellaris (Latreille, 1811) - Stingless bee

Headache, migraine, stroke, verminosis, stomach ache, tuberculosis, haemorrhage, cataracts, mycosis in the mouth, flu, cancer, asthma, bronchits, intestinal disorders, cough, sexual impotence, ophthalmological problems, weakness, thrombosis, amoebiasis, snake bite, rabies, sinusitis, fatigue

[7, 9, 98, 109, 110, 164]

Melipona subnitida (Ducke, 1910) - Honey bee

Flu, sore throat

[79, 11, 109, 110, 118]

Melipona fulva (Lepeletier, 1836) - bee

Unspecified

[86]

Melipona asilvai Moure, 1971 - bee

Headache, flu

[121]

Melipona marginata Lepeletier, 1836 - bee

Cough

[81]

Partamona Cupira (Smith, 1863) - Stingless bee

Sore throat, swelling, headache, thrombosis, stroke, leucoma, "slightly clean", cuts, wounds, cough, catarrh, toaday, sinusitis, effusion

[11, 99, 109, 110, 128, 164, 165, 187]

Partamona seridoensis Pedro & Camargo, 2003 - Cupira bee

Ethnoveterinary uses

[127, 178]

Plebeia cf. emerina Friese, 1900 - Mosquito

Mycosis in the mouth area

[11, 118, 166, 170, 177]

Tetragonisca angustula Latreille, 1811 - Bee

Cataracts, sinusitis, cough, flu, ophthalmological problems, sore throat, leucoma

[79, 71, 112, 170]

Trigona mosquito Lutz, 1931 - Stingless bee

Cough

[11, 71, 113]

Trigona spinipes (Fabricius, 1793) - Stingless bee

Asthma, cough, flu, bronchits, acne, diabetes, stroke, thrombosis, migraine, itching, sore throat, giddiness, weakness, scabies, nasal congestion, to induce abortion, whooping cough, irritation when milk teeth are erupting, earache, epilepsy, shortness of breath, late menstruation, fatigue, effusion

[11, 97, 110, 115, 118, 161, 164, 170]

Lestrimelitta limao (Smith, 1863) - bee

Dizziness

[81]

Forficulidae

  

Forficula auricularia Linnaeus, 1758

Earache, whooping cough

[38]

Tenebrioninae

  

Eleodes spinipes (Solier, 1848)

To keep away from bad spirits

[103]

Cerambycidae

  

Macrodontia cervicornis (Linné, 1758)

Unspecified

[82]

Blattidae

  

Periplaneta americana (Linnaeus, 1758) - American cockroach

Heartburn, asthma, stomach ache, intestinal colic, earache, alcoholism, epilepsy, vomit, boil, haemorrhage, bronchits, diarrhoea, gonorrhea, panaris, cancer, stroke, burns, menstrual cramps, wounds, to suck a splinter out of skin or flesh, detoxification, avoiding pregnancy

[7, 9, 11, 31, 71, 109, 112, 115, 128, 130, 170]

Eurycotis manni (Rehn, 1916)

Unspecified

[170]

Blaberidae

  

Rhyparobia maderae (Fabricius, 1781) - Madeira cockroach

Asthma

[50]

Chrysomelidae

  

Coraliomela brunnea Thumberg, 1821 - Fake cockroach

Epilepsy

[8, 11, 132, 146]

Pachymerus cf. nucleorum (Fabricius, 1792) - Caterpillar

Earache, stroke, swelling, wounds, seborrheic dermatitis, inflammation, thrombosis

[71, 112, 159, 170]

Curculionidae

  

Rhynchophorus palmarum Linnaeus, 1758 - Pest of coconut palm

Fever, headache, boils

[149, 153]

Rhinostomus barbirostris Fabricius, 1775 - Pest of coconut palm

Fever, headache, boils

[149, 153]

Rhina barbirostris Champion, G.C., 1910

Fever, headache, boils

[153]

Formicidae

  

Atta cephalotes (Linnaeus, 1758) - Leaf-cutter ant

Sore throat

[79, 11, 66, 144]

Atta serdens (Linnaeus, 1758) - Leaf-cutting

Stomach ache, heart diseases, chest palpations

[11, 70, 71, 113]

Dinoponera quadriceps (Santschi, 1921) - Bullet ant

Asthma

[79, 11, 109, 170]

Acromyrmex landolti (Emery, 1980)- ant

Asthma

[66]

Solenopsis saevissima (Smith, 1855) - Ant

Wart

[102]

Gryllidae

  

Acheta domesticus (Linnaeus, 1758) - House cricket

Scabies, asthma, eczema, lithiasis, earache, oliguresis, rheumatism, urine retention, children that urinate in bed and speak with lateness, incontinence urinary, ophthalmological problems

[11, 113]

Paragryllus temulentus Saussure 1878 - Cricket

Rheumatism

[69]

Gryllus assimilis (Fabricius, 1775) - cricket

Warts

[81]

Meloidae

  

Palembus dermestoides (Fairmaire, 1893) - Peanut beeatle

Sexual impotence, ophthalmological problems, rheumatism, weakness

[11, 71, 113, 163]

Pseudomeloe andensis (Guérin Méneville 1992)

Warts

[189]

Muscidae

  

Musca domestica (Linnaeus, 1758) - House fly

Boil, baldness, eyesore, external sebaceus lamps, stye, spots in the face, ophthalmological problems, dermatosis, cysties, erysipelas

[11, 115, 165]

Pediculidae

  

Pediculus humanus Linnaeus, 1758 - Body louse, Head louse

Tootache

[159]

Psychidae

  

Eurycotis manni Rehn, 1916 - Beetle

Headache

[11, 71, 115, 128, 146, 177]

Oiketicus kirbyi Guilding, 1827 - Case moth

Asthma, earache, haemorrhage

[11, 113]

Termitidae

  

Microcerotermes exignus (Hagen, 1858), Termite

Asthma, bronchits, flu, whopping cough

[11, 70]

Nasutitermes macrocephalus (Silvestri, 1903) - Termite

Asthma, catarrh, bronchitis, 'catarrh in the chest' coughs, influenza, sore throat, sinusitis, tonsillitis and hoarseness

[128, 130, 144]

Nasutitermes corninger (Motschulsky, 1855) - termite

Unspecified

[172]

Vespidae

  

Apoica pallens (Oliv. 1791) - Paper wasp

Thrombosis, ashtma, giddiness, nasal haemorrhage, haemorrhage, stroke, disorders after parturition, ophthalmological problems, mumps, late menstruation

[11, 71, 112, 118, 146, 166, 170]

Brachygastra lecheguana (Latreille, 1824) - Dark paper wasp

Cough, asthma

[11, 113]

Polistes canadensis (Linnaeus, 1758) - Wasp

Cough, whooping cough

[11, 116, 165]

Polybia sericea (Olivier, 1791) - Wasp

Thrombosis

[11, 118]

Protopolybia exigua (Saussure, 1854) - Wasp

Evil eye, tobaccoism, ophthalmological problems

[11, 118]

Synoeca surinama (Linnaeus, 1767) - Paper wasp

Asthma, shortness of breath

[11, 71, 118]

Protonectarina sylveirae (Saussure, 1854)-

Mumps, hemorrhage, blooding and menstrual problems

[66]

ECHINODERMS

  

Echinasteridae

  

Echinaster brasiliensis Müller & Troschel, 1842 - Starfish

Asthma

[11, 36, 63, 130]

Echinaster echinophorus Lamarck, 1816 - Starfish

Asthma

[71, 99, 130, 163]

Echinometridae

  

Echinometra lucunter (Linnaeus, 1758) - Rock boring urchin

Asthma

[11, 36, 99, 114, 119, 130, 146, 163, 228]

Luidiidae

  

Luidia senegalensis Lamarck, 1916 - Starfish

Asthma, cough, metrorrhagia

[79, 11, 36, 99, 114, 119, 130, 146, 163, 228]

Mellitidae

  

Mellita sexiesperforata (Leske, 1778) - Six holed keyhole urchin

Asthma, cough

[99]

Mellita quinquiesperforata (Leske, 1778)

Asthma

[11, 99, 130]

Oreasteridae

  

Oreaster reticulatus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Starfish

Asthma

[79, 30, 31, 66, 109, 128, 146]

Toxopneustidae

  

Lytechinus variegatus (Lamarck, 1816) - Green sea urchin

Snake bite

[68, 146]

FISHES

  

Auchenipteridae

  

Trachelyopterus galeatus (Linnaeus, 1766) - Driftwood Cat

Umbilical hernia, asthma, sexual impotence

[71, 97, 161, 163, 228]

Anostomidae

  

Leporinus friderici (Bloch, 1794) - Frederici's leporinus

Earache

[188]

Leporinus piau Fowler, 1941 Black piau

Rheumatism

[71]

Leporinus steindachneri Eigenmann, 1907

Problems with cholesterol

[109]

Schizodon knerii (Steindachner, 1875) - White piau

Leucoma, edema

[97]

Ariidae

  

Bagre bagre (Linnaeus, 1766) - Coco sea catfish

pain relief in injuries caused by the dorsal fin spine of a species of catfish

[114, 115, 163]

Genidens barbus (Lacepède, 1803) - White sea catfish

pain relief in injuries caused by the dorsal fin spine of a species of catfish

[8, 114, 162]

Genidens genidens (Cuvier, 1829) - catfish

pain relief in injuries caused by the dorsal fin spine of a species of catfish

[8, 126]

Sciadeichthys luniscutis (Valenciennes, 1837) - Catfish

pain relief in injuries caused by the dorsal fin spine of a species of catfish

[8, 114, 162]

Genidens barbus (Lacepède, 1803 - catfish

Unspecified

[111]

Cathorops spixii (Agassiz, 1829) - catfish

Unspecified

[80]

Aspredinidae

  

Aspredo aspredo (Linnaeus, 1758) - Banjo, catfish

Asthma

[79]

Aspredinichthys tibicen (Valenciennes, 1840) - Tenbarbed banjo

Asthma

[79]

Balistidae

  

Balistes capriscus Gronow, 1854 - Grey triggerfish

Bronchits

[85]

Balistes vetula (Linnaeus, 1758) - Queen triggerfish

Stroke, asthma, thrombosis, earache, Injuries caused by fish species, haemorrhage, ascites, schistosomiasis, appendicitis, menstrual cramps, gastritis

[79, 114, 162, 228]

Batrachoididae

  

Thalassophryne nattereri (Steindachner, 1876) - Venomous toadfish

Injuries caused by fish species

[4, 79, 114, 115, 162]

Callichthyidae

  

Callichthys callichthys (Linnaeus, 1758) - Armoured catfish

Asthma, umbilical hérnia

[4, 8, 97, 114, 115]

Carcharhinidae

  

Carcharhinus limbatus (Müller & Henle, 1839) - Blackfin shark

Osteoporosis

[79]

Carcharhinus porosus (Ranzani, 1840) - Smalltail shark

Asthma, rheumatism, wounds, inflammations, osteoporosis, anaemia

[79, 69, 114]

Carcharhinus leucas (Valenciennes, 1839) - shark

Unspecified

[30]

Galeocerdo cuvier (Péron & Lesueur, 1822) - Tiger shark

Osteoporosis

[79]

Rhizoprionodon lalandii (Müller & Henle, 1839) - Brazilian sharpnose shark

Rheumatism

[79]

Rhizoprionodon porosus (Poey, 1861) - Sharpnose shark

Rheumatism

[79]

Sphyrna lewini (Griffith & Smith, 1834) - Scalloped hammerhead

Asthma, wounds, rheumatism, inflammation

[8, 9, 114, 162, 228]

Salmonidae

  

Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792) - redband trout

Rheumatism, bad smell of feet

[148]

Centropomidae

  

Centropomus parallelus Poey, 1860 - Smallscale fat snook

Nephritis

[149]

Centropomus undecimalis (Bloch, 1792) - Common snook

Edema in the legs

[79, 114, 162, 228]

Characidae

  

Astyanax bimaculatus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Twospot astyanax

Alcoholism, leishmaniosis, skin burns, wounds, rheumatism

[79, 114, 157, 162, 228]

Paracheirodon axelrodi (Schultz, 1956) - Cardinal tetra

Ashtma

[82]

Chalceus macrolepidotus Cuvier, 1818

Unspecified

[82]

Brycon nattereri Günther, 1864 - Pirapitinga

Flu

[168]

Colossoma macropomum (Cuvier, 1818) - Black-finned colossoma

Paralysis of arms and legs

[8, 70]

Hydrolycus scomberoides (Cuvier, 1816) - Vampire characin

Earache

[8, 188]

Salminus brasiliensis (Cuvier, 1816)- Jaw characin

Unspecified

[179]

Clupeidae

  

Opisthonema oglinum (Lesueur, 1818) - Atlantic thread herring

Alcoholism

[79]

Dasyatidae

  

Dasyatis guttata (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) - Longnose stingray

Asthma, Injuries caused by fish species, burns

[79]

Dasyatis marianae (Gomes, Rosa & Gadig, 2000) - Brazilian large-eyed stingray

Asthma, Injuries caused by fish species, burns

[79])

Doradidae

  

Franciscodoras marmoratus (Reinhardt, 1874) - Urutu

Injuries caused by fish species

[149]

Lithodoras dorsalis (Valenciennes, 1840) - Bacu Pedra

Swelling

[79]

Megalodoras uranoscopus (Eigenmann & Eigenmann, 1888) - Catfish

Rheumatism

[188]

Platydoras costatus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Catfish

Rheumatism

[188]

Pterodoras granulosus (Valenciennes, 1821) - Catfish

Rheumatism

[188]

Oxydoras niger (Valenciennes, 1821) - Catfish

Rheumatism

[82, 188]

Echeneidae

  

Echeneis naucrates Linnaeus, 1758 - Live sharksucker

Asthma, bronchits

[8, 114, 162, 164]

Electrophoridae

  

Electrophorus electricus (Linnaeus, 1766) - Electric eel

Sprains, bruises, insect bites, snake bite, asthma, flu, pain in general, muscle strain, rheumatism, osteoporosis, deafness, pneumonia, itching, tuberculosis, earache, toothache

[79, 31, 114, 162, 164, 188]

Erythrinidae

  

Erythrinus erythrinus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) - Red (hi-fin) Wolf fish

Asthma

[97]

Hoplias malabaricus (Bloch, 1794) - Trahira

Ophthalmological problems, rheumatism, cataracts, wounds, snake bite, conjunctivitis, stroke, thrombosis, asthma, toothache, fever, earache, diarrhoea, deafness, boils, bleedings, Alcoholism, tetanus, sore throat, itching, sprains, leucoma

[79, 31, 63, 97, 114, 126, 162, 164, 188]

Hoplias lacerdae Miranda Ribeiro, 1908 Giant trahira

Leucoma

[71]

Gadidae

  

Gadus morhua Linnaeus, 1758 - Atlantic cod

Boils, backache and rheumatism

[66, 228]

Ginglymostomatidae

  

Ginglymostoma cirratum (Bonnaterre, 1788) - Nurse shark

Rheumatism

[79]

Heptapteridae

  

Pimelodella brasiliensis (Steindachner, 1876) - Mandim

Injuries caused by that fish species

[168]

Holocentridae

  

Holocentrus adscensionis (Osbeck, 1765) - Squirrelfish

Wounds

[68]

Megalopidae

  

Megalops atlanticus (Valenciennes, 1847) - Tarpon

Stroke, headache, asthma, shortness of breath, thrombosis, chest pain, injuries caused by bang

[79, 97, 114]

Monacanthidae

  

Stephanolepis hispidus (Linnaeus, 1766) - Common filefish

Unspecified

[111]

Muraenidae

  

Gymnothorax funebris Ranzani, 1840 - Green moray

Bleeding

[79]

Gymnothorax moringa (Cuvier, 1829) - Spotted moray

Bleeding

[79]

Gymnothorax vicinus (Castelnau, 1855) - Purplemouth moray

Bleeding

[79]

Odontaspididae

  

Eugomphodus taurus (Rafinesque 1810) - Cação-mangona

Unspecified

[111]

Engraulidae

  

Anchoviella lepidentostole (Fowler, 1911)

Unspecified

[80]

Pristigasteridae

  

Pellona flavipinnis Valenciennes, 1836 - Yellowfin river pellona

Unspecified

[80]

Scombridae

  

Scomberomorus cavalla Cuvier, 1829 - Kingfish

Unspecified

[80]

Myliobatidae

  

Aetobatus narinari (Euphrasen, 1790) - Spotted eagle ray

Asthma, injuries caused by fish species, burns, haemorrhage

[79]

Narcinidae

  

Narcine brasiliensis (Olfers, 1831) - Brazilian electric Ray

Toothache

[111, 114, 162]

Ogcocephalidae

  

Ogcocephalus vespertilio (Linnaeus, 1758) - Batfish

Asthma, bronchits

[79, 68]

Ogcocephalus nasutus (Cuvier, 1829) - Batfish

Asthma

[79]

Loricariidae

  

Hypostomus plecostomus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Asthma

[79]

Carangidae

  

Hemicaranx amblyrhynchus (Cuvier, 1833)

To accelerate recovery after parturition

[79]

Osteoglossidae

  

Arapaima gigas (Schinz, 1822) - Giant arapaima

Asthma, pneumonia

[188]

Osteoglossum ferreirai (Kanazawa, 1966) - Aruanã

Dermatogical problems

[87]

Pimelodidae

  

Phractocephalus hemioliopterus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) - Redtail catfish

Asthma, wounds, hernia, burns in the skin, rheumatism, flu, cough, pneumonia

[87, 188]

Pseudoplatystoma corruscans (Spix & Agassiz, 1829) - Spotted sorubim

Flu

[168]

Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum (Lunnaeus, 1776) - Tiger catfish

Cold

[188]

Pseudoplatystoma tigrinum (Valenciennes, 1840) - Catfish

Unspecified

[179]

Sorubimichthys planiceps (Spix & Agassiz, 1829)

Leishmaniosis, tuberculosis

[188]

Zungaro zungaro((Humboldt, 1821) - Black manguruyu

Asthma, toothache, earache, wounds, athlete's foot, burns in the skin, rheumatism, flu

[188]

Rhamdia quelen (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)

Tonic

[177]

Potamotrygonidae

  

Paratrygon aiereba (Müller & Henle, 1841) - Discus Ray

Asthma, hernia, flu, pneumonia, cough, earache, burns

[188]

Potamotrygon hystrix (Müller & Henle, 1834) - Porcupine river stingray

Asthma, hernia, flu, pneumonia, cough, earache, burns

[70, 188]

Potamotrygon motoro (Müller & Henle, 1841) - Ocellate river stingray

Asthma, hernia, flu, pneumonia, cough, earache, burns

[188]

Potamotrygon orbignyi (Castelnau, 1855)

Injuries caused by fish species

[79]

Plesiotrygon iwamae Rosa, Castello & Thorson, 1987

Injuries caused by fish species, wounds, cracks in the sole of the feet

[79]

Potamotrygon signata German, 1913

Unspecified

[80]

Pristidae

  

Pristis pectinata Latham, 1794 - Smalltooth sawfish

Asthma, rheumatism, arthritis

[79]

Pristis perotteti Müller & Henle, 1841 - Largetooth sawfish, espadarte

Asthma, rheumatism and arthritis

[79]

Prochilodontidae

  

Prochilodus argenteus Spix & Agassiz, 1829 -

To avoid swelling of the breast feeding, mycosis

[168]

Prochilodus lineatus (Valenciennes, 1836)

Unspecified

[160]

Prochilodus nigricans Spix & Agassiz, 1829 - Black prochilodus

Chilblain, skin burns, wounds, rheumatism, eye pains

[157, 188]

Prochilodus marggravii (Walbaum, 1792)

Unspecified

[168]

Rajidae

  

Atlantoraja cyclophora Regan, 1903 - Eyespot skate

Haemorrhage after delivery

[68]

Serrasalmidae

  

Mylossoma duriventre (Cuvier, 1818)

Venereal disease

[188]

Serrasalmus brandtii (Lütken, 1875) - White piranha

Inflammations, sexual impotence

[71, 97, 126]

Serrasalmus rhombeus Linnaeus 1766

Unspecified

[80, 82]

Sciaenidae

  

Cynoscion acoupa (Lacepède, 1801) - Acoupa weakfish

Renal failure

[79, 31]

Cynoscion leiarchus (Cuvier, 1830) - Smooth weakfish

Renal failure

[79, 31]

Micropogonias furnieri (Desmarest, 1823) - Whitemouth croaker

Injuries caused by fish species, cough, asthma, bronchits

[8, 85, 114, 162]

Pachyurus francisci (Cuvier, 1830) - San Francisco croaker

Asthma, urinary incontinence, backache

[168]

Plagioscion surinamensis (Bleeker, 1873) - Bashaw

Urinary disorders, haemorrhage, snake bites

[188]

Plagioscion squamosissimus (Heckel, 1840) - South american silver croaker

Urinary disorders, haemorrhage, snake bites

[188]

Sparidae

  

Calamus penna (Valenciennes, 1830) - Sheepshead porgy

Asthma

[162]

Synbranchidae

  

Synbranchus marmoratus Bloch, 1795 - Marbled swamp eel

Bronchits

[114, 162]

Syngnathidae

  

Hippocampus erectus Perry, 1810 - Horsefish

Asthma

[79, 31, 75]

Hippocampus reidi (Ginsburg, 1933) - Longsnout seahorse

Asthma, edema, bronchits, haemorrhage, haemorrhage in women, disorders after parturition, gastritis, tuberculosis, to prevent abortion

[79, 31, 63, 68, 85, 164]

Hippocampus ingens Girard, 1858

Unspecified

[76]

Hippocampus spinosissimus Weber, 1913

Unspecified

[76]

Hippocampus trimaculatus Leach, 1814

Unspecified

[76]

Tetraodontidae

  

Colomesus psittacus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) - Banded puffer

Breast cancer, backache, warts

[79, 31]

Sphoeroides testudineus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Checkered puffer

Rheumatism

[63, 162]

Trichiuridae

  

Trichiurus lepturus Linnaeus, 1758 - Largehead hairtail

Asthma

[8]

Gymnotidae

  

Gymnotus carapo Linnaeus, 1758 - Banded knifefish

Unspecified

[179]

Urolophidae

  

Urotrygon microphthalmum (Delsman, 1941) - Smalleyed round stingray

Asthma, Injuries caused by fish species, burns

[79, 31]

AMPHIBIANS

  

Bufonidae

  

Rhinella schneideri (Werner, 1894) - Cururu toad

Urinary incontinence, dental caries, cancer, wounds, boils, erysipelas acne, to induce abortion

[97, 162]

Rhinella marina (Linnaeus, 1758) - toad

Scorpion sting, erysipelas

[87, 152, 158]

Rhinella jimi (Stevaux, 2002)- toad

Gastritis, cancer

[81]

Rhinella icterica (Spix, 1824)

Unspecified

[80]

Bufo bocourti Brocchi, 1877 - toad

Rabies, AIDS

[38]

Bufo macrocristatus Firschein and Smith, 1957 - toad

Unspecified

[38]

Incilius valliceps (Wiegmann, 1833)

Unspecified

[125]

Leptodactylidae

  

Leptodactylus labyrinthicus (Spix, 1824) - South american pepper frog

Earache, rheumatism, joint pain, cancer, sore throat

[97, 162]

Leptodactylus vastus Lutz, 1930-frog

Sore throat

[66]

Leptodactylus troglodytes (A. Lutz, 1926) - Jia

Unspecified

[4]

Eleutherodactylus laticeps (Duméril, 1853)

Unspecified

[38]

Eleutherodactylus glaucus Lynch, 1967

Unspecified

[38]

Ranidae

  

Rana maculata Brocchi, 1877

Rabies

[38]

Rana berlandieri Baird, 1859

 

[38]

Lithobates montezumae (Baird, 1854)

Unspecified

[125]

Lithobates spectabilis (Hillis and Frost, 1985)

Unspecified

[125]

Hylidae

  

Hyla chaneque Duellman, 1961

Unspecified

[38]

Hyla venulosa (Laurenti, 1768)

 

[60]

Phyllomedusa bicolor (Boddaert, 1772)

Rheumatism, diabetes

[122]

Trachycephalus resinifictrix (Goeldi, 1907)

Unspecified

[82]

Phyllomedusa burmeisteri Boulenger, 1882

Unspecified

[183]

Microhylidae

  

Hypopachus barberi Schmidt, 1939

Unspecified

[38]

Ceratophryidae

  

Telmatobius culeus (Garman, 1876)

Impotence

[180]

REPTILES

  

Liolaemidae

  

Liolaemus pantherinus Pellegrin 1909

Fractures, wounds

[65, 189]

Liolaemus alticolor Barbour 1909

Fractures, wounds

[189]

Gekkonidae

  

Hemidactylus mabouia (Moreau de Jonnes, 1818) - Afro-American house gecko

Sore throat

[79, 31, 164])

Gonatodes hasemani Griffin 1917

Unspecified

[174]

Iguanidae

  

Iguana iguana (Linnaeus, 1758) - Common iguana

Earache, erysipelas, asthma, rheumatism, edema, abscesses, joint pain, wounds, acne, athlete's foot, sore throat, swelling, burn, tumour, to suck a splinter out of skin or flesh, boil, injuries caused by the spines of the 'arraia' and others fishes, inflammation, hernia, body aches, corisa, womb disorders, menstrual cramps

[79, 31, 97, 108, 164, 166])

Ctenosaura pectinata Wiegmann 183

Unspecified

[94, 105]

Ctenosaura similis GRAY 1831

Unspecified

[77]

Polychrotidae

  

Polychrus acutirostris Spix 1825

Impotence

[126]

Polychrus marmoratus Linnaeus 175

Impotence

[126]

Norops fuscoauratus D'orbigny 1837

Unspecified

[174]

Teiidae

  

Ameiva ameiva (Linnaeus, 1758) - Lizard

Inflammation, dermatitis, venereal diseases, snake bites

[87, 97, 108, 174]

Kentropyx pelviceps Cope 1868

Unspecified

[174]

Cnemidophorus gr. ocellifer (Spix, 1825) - Lizard

Inflammation, dermatitis, venereal diseases, snake bites

[97, 108]

Tupinambis merianae (Duméril & Bibron, 1839) - Lizard

Earache, deafness, rheumatism, erysipelas, skin thorns and wounds, respiratory diseases, sore throat, snake bite, asthma, tumour, swelling, infection, bronchits, perforation, oftalmological problems

[79, 31, 85, 97, 108, 111, 119, 162, 164, 166, 173, 190]

Tupinambis teguixin (Linnaeus 1758) - Lizard

Sexual impotence, rheumatism, erysipelas, dermatitis, snake bites, asthma, tetanus, earache, thrombosis, wounds, panaris, swelling, herpes zoster, irritation when milk teeth are erupting, jaundice, inflammation, tumour, sore throat, infection, bronchits, injuries caused by the spines of the 'arraia', pain relief in injuries caused by snake bites, toothache, suck a splinter out of skin or fresh, headache, cough, stroke, coarse throat

[79, 31, 68, 97, 108, 157, 161, 164, 166]

Tupinambis rufescens Günther 1871 - tegu

Cuts, snake bites, cold

[120]

Phrynosomatidae

  

Sceloporus serrifer Cope 1866

Unspecified

[38]

Sceloporus taeniocnemis Cope 1885

Unspecified

[38]

Sceloporus acanthinus Bocourt 1873

Unspecified

[91]

Sceloporus spinosus Wiegmann 1828

Unspecified

[91]

Sceloporus grammicus Wiegmann 1828

Diarrhea

[103]

Phrynosoma orbiculare (Duméril & Bocourt 1870)

Unspecified

[91]

Anguidae

  

Abronia lythrochila Smith & Alvarez Del Toro 1963

Unspecified

[38]

Mesaspis moreletii Bocourt 1871

Unspecified

[38]

Tropiduridae

  

Tropidurus hispidus (Spix, 1825) - Lizard

Alcoholism, dermatomycosis, warts, abscesses, boils, sore throat, erysipelas, healing of umbilical cord of newborn baby

[79, 31]

Tropidurus semitaeniatus (Spix, 1825) - Lizard

Measles, asthma, alcoholism, dermatomycosis, warts

[8, 62, 97, 162]

Tropidurus torquatus (Wied, 1820) - Lizard

Chicken pox

[79, 31, 62, 71, 97, 115, 162]

Uranoscodon superciliosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

As a sedative

[8, 62, 69, 131]

Boidae

  

Boa constrictor (Linnaeus, 1758) - Boa

Rheumatism, lung disease, thrombosis, boils, tuberculosis, stomach ache, edema, snake bite, cancer, pains, swelling, to prevent abort, pain in the body, inflammation, athlete's foot, calluses, tumours, cracks in the sole of the feets, goiter, sore throat, arthrosis, insect sting, dog bite, erysipelas, asthma, neck strain, strain muscle, backache, contusions and muscular pain

[710, 29, 31, 62, 70, 97, 121, 186, 188]

Corallus caninus (Linnaeus, 1758) - American emerald tree boa

Pain relief caused by sting of animals

[8, 29, 62]

Corallus hortolanus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Snake

To assist in removing spines or other sharp structures from the skin, rheumatism

[8, 29, 62]

Eunectes murinus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Anaconda

Wounds, skin problems, bruises, sprains, arthrosis, rheumatism, boils, sexual impotence, headache, sore throat, thrombosis, swelling, tumour, asthma, muscle strain, numbness, syphilis, to reduce pain, luxation

[8, 29, 62, 71]

Eunectes notaeus (Cope, 1862)- Sucuri

Unspecified

[160]

Epicrates cenchria (Linnaeus, 1758) - Brazilian rainbow boa

Rheumatism, pain in articulations, snake bite, sore throat

[8, 29, 62, 71, 97]

Colubridae

  

Leptophis ahetula (Linnaeus, 1758) - Parrot snake

Pain relief caused by sting of animals

[8, 29, 62]

Mastigodryas bifossatus (Raddi, 1820) - Rio tropical racer

Snake bites

[8, 29, 62, 108]

Pituophis lineaticollis Cope 1861

Post partum cold, pains corporeal

[40]

Oxyrhopus trigeminus Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854

Rheumatism

[8, 29, 62, 108]

Oxyrhopus formosus Wied 1820

Unspecified

[174]

Oxyrhopus melanogenys Tschudi 1845

Unspecified

[174]

Spilotes pullatus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Tiger snake

Insects bite, snake bite

[8, 29, 62, 108]

Tachymenis peruviana Wiegmann, 1835

Pain in the bones, pain in kidneys and to treat inflamations, tootache and scare, fractures

[148, 189]

Drymobius margaritiferus Schlegel 1837

Mail aire, pain in bones, rheumatism

[38, 148]

Chironius carinatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Infertility

[151]

Chironius grandisquamis Peters 1869

Unspecified

[174]

Lampropeltis triangulum Lacépède 1789

Unspecified

[38, 148]

Imantodes cenchoa Linnaeus 1758

Unspecified

[174]

Leptodeira annulata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Unspecified

[174]

Crotalidae

  

Caudisona durissa (Linnaeus, 1758) - Neotropical rattlesnake

Asthma, snake bite, thrombosis, wounds, luxation, rheumatism, pain in the legs, erysipelas, deafness, epilepsy, skin diseases, tuberculosis, hanseniasis, backache, tumour, boil, headache, earache, osteoporosis, sore throat, toothache, insects bite, irritation when milk teeth are erupting, cancer, to accelerate parturition, pain in the body, avoid pregnancy, mail aire, swellings, bone aches, gastritis, eczema

[8, 29, 62, 63, 71, 97, 108, 139, 161, 164166]

Crotalus polystictus Cope 1865

Unspecified

[125]

Crotalus transversus Taylor 1944

Unspecified

[125]

Crotalus triseriatus Wagler 1830

Unspecified

[125]

Crotalus durissus Linnaeus 1758

Wounds, disorders in parturition, lepra, cancer, acne

[38, 105]

Crotalus atrox Baird & Girard 1853

Pneumonia, muscular pain, sight, sore throat, gangrene, varicose veins, ulcer

[103]

Crotalus basiliscus COPE 1864

Unspecified

[78]

Elapidae

  

Micrurus spixii Wagler 1824

Unspecified

[174]

Micrurus surinamensis Cuvier 1817

Unspecified

[174]

Micrurus ibiboboca (Merrem, 1820)

Rheumatism, snake bite

[62, 108, 139]

Viperidae

  

Bothrops leucurus Wagler, 1824 - Lance head

Tumour, boils

[62, 108, 139]

Bothrops asper Garman 1883

Unspecified

[38, 148, 152]

Bothrops atrox Linnaeus 1758

Unspecified

[80, 185]

Lachesis muta (Linnaeus, 1766) - Bushmaster

Rheumatism, swelling, tumour, boil, insects bite, snake bite

[8]

Cerrophidion tzotzilorum Campbell 1985

Rheumatism, mail aire

[38, 148]

Atropoides nummifer Rüppell 1845

Unspecified

[38, 148]

Dipsadidae

  

Philodryas olfersii Lichenstein, 1823

Unspecified

[80]

Thamnodynastes strigatus (Günther, 1858)

Snake bite

[151]

Chelidae

  

Chelus fimbriatus (Schneider, 1783) - Matá-matá

Impotence

[82, 87, 153]

Phrynops geoffroanus (Schweigger, 1812) - Geoffroy's side-necked turtle

Asthma, sore throat, swelling, earache, rheumatism, arthrosis, healing of umbilical cord of newborn baby, mumps, ingrown nail, eczema, articulation problems, wounds

[79, 71]

Phrynops tuberosus Peters 187

Asthma, rheumatism and bruises

[109]

Mesoclemmys tuberculata (Luederwaldt, 1926) - Tuberculate toadhead turtle

Rheumatism, discharge, thrombosis, bronchits, diarrhoea, haemorrhag, asthma, sore throat, hoarseness

[62, 97, 108, 161]

Mauremys leprosa Schweigger, 1812

Unspecified

[80]

Cheloniidae

  

Caretta caretta (Linnaeus, 1758) - Loggerhead turtle

Injuries caused by bang, toothache, diabetes, headache, backache, wounds, cough, bronchits, asthma, thrombosis, rheumatism, stroke, hoarseness, flu, backache, earache, sore throat, swelling

[79, 62, 139, 142, 162]

Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758) - Green sea turtle

Injuries caused by bang, toothache, diabetes, headache, backache, wounds, cough, bronchits, asthma, flu, thrombosis, rheumatism, stroke, hoarseness, earache, sore throat, swelling, whooping cough, arthritis, erysipelas, boil, arthrosis, inflammation

[79, 62, 68, 139, 142]

Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766) - Atlantic hawksbill

Injuries caused by bang, toothache, diabetes, headache, backache, wounds, cough, bronchits, asthma, thrombosis, stroke, hoarseness, flu, rheumatism, earache, sore throat, swelling

[79, 62, 139, 142, 162]

Lepidochelys olivacea (Eschscholtz, 1829)

Injuries caused by bang, toothache, diabetes, headache, backache, wounds, cough, flu, bronchitis, asthma, thrombosis, rheumatism, stroke, hoarseness

[62, 114, 119, 162]

Dermochelyidae

  

Dermochelys coriacea (Vandelli, 1761) - Leatherback turtle

Rheumatism, earache, sore throat, swelling

[79, 62, 139, 142]

Geoemydidae

  

Rhinoclemmys punctularia (Daudin, 1802) - Spot-legged turtle

Wounds, tumour, erysipelas, earache, rheumatism

[79, 62, 139, 142]

Podocnemididae

  

Podocnemis expansa (Schweiger,1812) - Amazon river turtle

Inflammation, acne, tumour, boil, rheumatism, pterygium, skin spots, backache, earache, arthrosis, arthritis, swelling, wrinkle

[79, 62, 139, 141]

Podocnemis unifilis (Troschel, 1848) - Yellow-spotted river turtle

Wounds, tumour, erysipelas, earache, rheumatism

[79, 62, 139, 188]

Podocnemis sextuberculata Cornalia, 1849 - Six-tubercled Amazon River turtle

Blackhead, acne

[62, 69]

Peltocephalus dumeriliana Schweigger 1812

Blackhead, acne

[62, 69]

Testudinidae

  

Chelonoidis carbonaria (Spix, 1824) - Red-footed tortoise

Catarrh, erysipelas, bronchitis, to stop the sensation to getting thirsty, asthma

[8, 9, 31, 63, 115, 162, 164]

Chelonoidis denticulata (Linnaeus, 1766) - Yellowfooted tortoise

Sore throat, rheumatism, hernia, wounds, leishmaniosis, varicocele, earache, part of woman's body, asthma, pains

[8, 9, 31, 87, 157]

Gopherus flavomarginatus Legler 1959

Arthritis

[103]

Kinosternidae

  

Staurotypus triporcatus Wiegmann 1828

Unspecified

[93]

Kinosternon scorpioides Linnaeus 1766

Hermaphroditism, malaria, tuberculosis

[38, 62]

Kinosternon integrum Le Conte 1854

Smallpox

[105]

Alligatoridae

  

Caiman crocodilus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Common cayman

Asthma, stroke, bronchitis, backache, earache, rheumatism, thrombosis, sexual impotence, snake bites, evil eye, irritation when milk teeth are erupting, discharge, swelling, scratch, athlete's foot, ophthalmological problems, sore throat, amulet used as a protection against snake bite, hernia, prostate problems, infection, inflammation, epilepsy

[79, 30, 62, 63, 108, 139, 162164, 166, 188]

Caiman latirostris (Daudin, 1801) - Cayman

Asthma, sore throat, amulet used as a protection against snake bite, rheumatism, irritation when milk teeth are erupting, hernia, prostate problems

[79, 62, 139]

Caiman yacare Daudin 1802

Unspecified

[180]

Melanosuchus niger (Spix, 1825) - Black cayman

Thrombosis, infection, swelling, asthma, amulet used as a protection against snake bite, injuries caused by spines of the 'arraia', pain relief in injuries caused by snake bites

[79, 62, 139]

Paleosuchus palpebrosus (Cuvier, 1807) - Cayman

Snake bite, asthma, stroke, rheumatism, thrombosis, backache, sexual impotence, edema, mycosis, evil eye, irritation when milk teeth are erupting, discharge, sore throat, amulet used as a protection against snake bite, hernia, prostate problems

[79, 62, 71, 139]

Paleosuchus trigonatus (Schneider, 1801)

Rheumatism

[62, 69]

Crocodylidae

  

Crocodylus moreletii Duméril & Bibron 1851

Asthma, bronchial diseases

[93]

Crocodylus acutus Cuvier 1807

Unspecified

[152]

BIRDS

  

Turdidae

  

Turdus chiguanco Lafresnaye & d'Orbigny, 1837

Stomach ache

[189]

Turdus grayi Bonaparte, 1838

Unspecified

[152]

Troglodytes musculus Naumann, 1823

Epilepsy

[72]

Cariamidae

  

Cariama cristata (Linnaeus, 1766)

Ethnoveterinary use

[127, 178]

Accipitridae

  

Geranoaetus melanoleucus (Vieillot, 1819) - Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle

The feathers are used as inensing and to makemasks, wrinkles.

[148]

Harpia harpyja (Linnaeus, 1758)

Unspecified

[179]

Buteogallus urubitinga (J. F. Gmelin, 1788)

Backache, column pain and rheumatism

[66]

Spizastur melanoleucus (Vieillot, 1816)

Unspecified

[152]

Parabuteo unicinctus (Temminck, 1824)

Snake bite

[152]

Anatidae

  

Anser anser (Linnaeus, 1758) - Greylag goose

Laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis

[97]

Anas platyrhynchos Linnaeus, 1758 - mallard

General weaknesses, sexual weakness, nervous disturbances

[66]

Netta erythrophthalma (Wied-Neuwied, 1833)- 'paturi'

Male impotence and weakness

[66]

Cairina moschata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Unspecified

[111]

Lophodytes cucullatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Unspecified

[96]

Tytonidae

  

Tyto alba (Scopoli, 1769)

Unspecified

[152]

Anhimidae

  

Anhima cornuta (Linnaeus, 1766) - Horned screamer, anuhma

Intoxication from poisonous animals

[151]

Scolopacidae

  

Actitis macularius (Linnaeus, 1766)

Dandruff (seborrhea)

[96]

Ardeidae

  

Ardea cocoi (Linnaeus, 1766) - White-necked Heron

Swelling, inflammation, injuries caused by the spines of the 'arraia' and others fishes, asthma, boil, tumour, rheumatism, earache

[79, 87]

Ardea alba Linnaeus, 1758

Bronquithis and pneumonia

[148]

Nycticorax nycticorax (Linnaeus, 1758)

Unspecified

[96]

Apodidae

  

Streptoprocne zonaris (Shaw, 1796)

Unspecified

[106]

Casmerodius albus (Gmelin, 1789) - Garça

Bronquithis and pneumonia

[71]

Ardeidae

  

Tigrisoma lineatum (Boddaert, 1783) - socó, Rufescent Tiger-Heron

Bronquithis and pneumonia

[71]

Caprimulgidae

  

Nyctidromus albicollis (Gmelin, 1789) - Pauraque

Amulets, snake bite

[69]

Caprimulgus vociferus A. Wilson, 1812

Unspecified

[38]

Cathartidae

  

Coragyps atratus (Bechstein, 1793) - Black vulture

Deafness, bronchitis, anaemia, alcoholism, asthma, flu, earache, rheumatism, pain in the parturition, mal aire, swelling, epilepsy

[79, 31, 42, 97]

Cathartes aura (Linnaeus, 1758) - Urubu, urubu-de-cabeça-vermelha

Unspecified

[4, 91, 103]

Cracidae

  

Penelope jacucaca (Spix, 1825) - White-browed guan

Insomnia

[162]

Penelope superciliaris Temminck, 1815

Asthma

[177]

Penelope purpurascens Wagler, 1830

Unspecified

[152]

Penelope jacquacu Spix, 1825

Unspecified

[179]

Crax globulosa Spix, 1825 - Wattled Curassow

To cure rheumatism and to remove the "negative energy" from people

[184]

Crax rubra Linnaeus, 1758

Unspecified

[152]

Aburria pipile (Jacquin, 1784)

Unspecified

[179]

Pauxi tuberosa (Spix, 1825)- Razor-billed Curassow

Pneumonia, bleeding, children's lack of appetite, indigestion, stroke, insect" and snake bites

[74]

Mitu tuberosum (Spix, 1825)

Unspecified

[179]

Ortalis guttata (Spix, 1825)

Unspecified

[179]

Ortalis vetula (Wagler, 1830)

Rheumatism

[152]

Psophiidae

  

Psophia leucoptera Spix, 1825

Unspecified

[179]

Phoenicopteridae

  

Phoenicopterus andinus Philippi, 1854

To alliviate labor pain, sprains and distend

[148]

Phoenicopterus chilensis Molina, 1782

To alliviate labor pain, sprains and distend

[148]

Phoenicopterus jamesi Sclater, 1886

To alliviate labor pain, sprains and distend

[148]

Ciconiidae

  

Vultur gryphus Linnaeus, 1758

Stomach ache, poor digestion, boils

[189]

Ciconia maguari (Gmelin, 1789) - Maguari stork

Injuries caused by the spines of the 'arraia' and others fishes, thrombosis

[79, 82]

Jabiru mycteria (Lichtenstein, 1819) - Jabiru

Unspecified

[82]

Sarcoramphus papa (Linnaeus, 1758) - King Vulture

Epilepsia, sifilis, ulcera

[96]

Columbidae

  

Leptotila rufaxilla (Richard & Bernard, 1792) - Gray-fronted dove

Thrombosis, pterygium

[66, 162]

Columba livia (Gmelin, 1789) - Rock pigeon

Asthma, laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsilitis

[66, 97, 103]

Columba picazuro Temminck, 1813 - 'asa-branca

Sore throat, tonsillitis, bronchitis and hoarseness

[66]

Columbina talpacoti (Temminck, 1810)

Unspecified

[175]

Columbina passerina (Linnaeus, 1758)

Unspecified

[96]

Corvidae

  

Cyanocorax cyanopogon (Wied, 1821) - White-naped jay

Asthma, neurological problems

[66, 81, 162]

Cotingidae

  

Procnias nudicollis (Vieillot, 1817) - araponga, Bare-throated Bellbird

Tuberculosis

[4, 71]

Cotinga amabilis Gould, 1857

Unspecified

[96]

Crotophaga ani Linnaeus, 1758 - Smooth-billed ani

Bronchitis, thrombosis, asthma, whooping cough, rheumatism

[79, 97]

Crotophaga sulcirostris Swainson, 1827

Cancer

[105]

Piaya cayana (Linnaeus, 1766)

Heart diseases

[105]

Guira guira (Gmelin, 1788) - Guira cuckoo

Asthma

[97]

Geococcyx velox (Wagner, 1836)

Unspecified

[91]

Geococcyx californianus (Lesson, 1829)

Cancer

[103]

Charadriidae

  

Vanellus chilensis (Molina, 1782) - Southern lapwing

To stay awake

[4, 115, 162]

Emberezidae

  

Coereba flaveola (Linnaeus, 1758)- Banana quit

Thrombosis

[162]

Numididae

  

Numida meleagris Linnaeus, 1758 - Helmeted Guineafowl, "Guiné"

Whooping cough

[4]

Falconidae

  

Herpetotheres cachinnans (Linnaeus, 1758) - Laughing falcon

Snake bite, sore throat, tonsillitis and hoarseness

[66, 69]

Caracara plancus (Miller, 1777) - Southern caracara

Snake bite

[69]

Falco rufigularis Daudin, 1800 - Bat falcon

Snake bite

[69, 82]

Opisthocomidae

  

Opisthocomus hoazin (Statius Muller, 1776)

Unspecified

[82]

Furnaridae

  

Furnarius rufus (Gmelin, 1788)- Rufous hornero

Mumps

[4, 114]

Meleagrididae

  

Meleagris gallopavo Linnaeus, 1758 - turkey

Asthma

[7, 9]

Odontophoridae

  

Odontophorus capueira (Spix, 1825)

Unspecified

[111]

Callipepla squamata (Vigors, 1830)

Unspecified

[96]

Cyrtonyx montezumae (Vigors, 1830)

Evil eye

[103]

Colinus virginianus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Dandruff, fever

[96]

Phasianidae

  

Gallus gallus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Domestic chicken

Catarrh, fever, warts, haemorrhage, bronchitis, nasal congestion, flu, skin thorns and wounds, asthma, sore throat, tumour, poor digestion, healing of umbilical cord of newborn baby, swelling, cough, tuberculosis, earache, tonsillitis, rheumatism, diarrhoea, inflammation, pneumonia, Renal calculus, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, fever, swelling

[79, 31, 42, 63, 68, 81, 85, 97, 103, 109, 110, 115, 162, 164, 166]

Pavo cristatus Linnaeus, 1758 - Indian peafowl

Thrombosis, epilepsy, fatigue

[30, 126]

Coturnix coturnix (Linnaeus, 1758)-'codorna

Male impotence, urinary infection and weakness

[66]

Picidae

  

Dryocopus lineatus (Linnaeus, 1766) - Lineated woodpecker

Sexual impotence

[69]

Colaptes rupicola Orbigny, 1840

Unspecified

[189]

Melanerpes formicivorus (Swainson, 1827)

Epilepsy

[105]

Melanerpes aurifrons (Wagler, 1829)

Headache

[96]

Psittacidae

  

Amazona aestiva (Linnaeus, 1758)

Asthma

[7, 9]

Ara ambiguus (Bechstein, 1811)

Unspecified

[152]

Amazona farinosa (Boddaert, 1783)

Unspecified

[152]

Amazona autumnalis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Unspecified

[152]

Amazona auropalliata (Lesson, 1842)

Unspecified

[152]

Amazona albifrons (Sparrman, 1788)

Unspecified

[152]

Pionus senilis (Spix, 1824)

Unspecified

[152]

Pionus menstruus (Linnaeus, 1766)

Unspecified

[152]

Pionopsitta haematotis (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1860)

Unspecified

[152]

Ara macao (Linnaeus, 1758)

Mental problems

[152]

Hirundinidae

  

Petrochelidon andecola (D'Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837)

Epilepsy, heart diseases

[189]

Stelgidopteryx ruficollis (Vieillot, 1817)

Cyst

[175]

Hirundo rustica Linnaeus, 1758 - Barn Swallow

Dandruff, muscular pain, ophthalmological problems, Insomnia,

[96]

Strigidae

  

Glaucidium brasilianum (Gmelin, 1788)

Rheumatism

[152]

Alcedinidae

  

Chloroceryle americana (Gmelin, 1788)

Unspecified

[152]

Cardinalidae

  

Passerina versicolor (Bonaparte, 1838)

Unspecified

[96]

Rallidae

  

Aramides cajanea (Statius Muller, 1776) - Grey-necked wood-rail

Evil eye

[162]

Struthionidae

  

Struthio camelus Linnaeus, 1766 - Common Ostrich

Osteoporosis

[136]

Ramphastidae

  

Ramphastos tucanus Linnaeus, 1758 - Red-billed Toucan

Thrombosis, sexual impotence

[31, 69]

Ramphastos vitellinus Lichtenstein, 1823 - Channel-billed toucan

Sexual impotence

[69]

Ramphastos sulfuratus Lesson, 1830

Unspecified

[77]

Pteroglossus aracari (Linnaeus, 1758) - Black-necked aracari

Sexual impotence

[69]

Pteroglossus inscriptus - Swainson, 1822, Lettered aracari

Sexual impotence

[69]

Pteroglossus torquatus (Gmelin, 1788)

Unspecified

[152]

Pteroglossus frantzii Cabanis, 1861

Unspecified

[152]

Selenidera spectabilis Cassin, 1858

Unspecified

[152]

Rheidae

  

Rhea americana (Linnaeus, 1758) - Greater rhea

General aches, rheumatism, thrombosis, strokes

[63, 115, 162, 164, 166]

Pterocnemia pennata (Orbigny, 1834)

Unspecified

[148]

Trogonidae

  

Pharomachrus mocinno De la Llave, 1832

Unspecified

[152]

Tinamidae

  

Crypturellus noctivagus (Wied, 1820) - Yellow-legged tinamou

Thrombosis, stroke, snake bites, tuberculosis, deafness

[71, 115, 162]

Crypturellus variegatus (Gmelin, 1789) - Inambu-galinha

Unspecified

[87]

Nothura boraquira (Spix, 1825) - White-bellied nothura

Thrombosis, stroke, tootache

[115, 162]

Nothura maculosa cearensis Naumburg, 1932 - Spotted Nothura

Effusion, snake bite

[178]

Rhynchotus rufescens (Temminck, 1815) - Red-winged tinamou

Snake bite, thrombosis, tuberculosis

[119, 162]

Tinamus solitarius (Viellot 1819) - Macuco, macuca

Unspecified

[111]

Trochilidae

  

Eupetomena macroura (Gmelin, 1788) - Swallow-tailed hummingbird

Cardiopathies, asthma, flu, pains

[97]

Lesbia nuna (Lesson, 1832)

Evil eye

[189]

Tyrannidae

  

Fluvicola nengeta (Linnaeus, 1766) - Masked water-tyrant

Boils, asthma

[66]

Pitangus sulphuratus (Linnaeus, 1766)

Earache

[97]

Icteridae

  

Quiscalus mexicanus (Gmelin, 1788)

Unspecified

[38]

Psarocolius wagleri (G. R. Gray, 1845)

Unspecified

[152]

Emberizidae

  

Zonotrichia capensis (Statius Muller, 1776)

Unspecified

[189]

MAMMALS

  

Molossidae

  

Molossus molossus (Pallas, 1766), Pallas' free-tailed bat (Bat)

Asthma

[66, 176]

Noctilionidae

  

Noctilio leporinus (Linnaeus, 1758) - greater bulldog bat

Unspecified

[152]

Phyllostomidae

  

Artibeus jamaicensis Leach, 1821 - bat

Cyst

[175]

Agoutidae

  

Agouti paca (Linnaeus, 1766) - Spotted paca

Wound in the breast caused by suckling, ophthalmological problems, stomach disorders, pterygium, to suck a splinter out of skin or flesh, injuries caused by the spines of 'arraia', control cholesterol level, thrombosis, general body pain, leishmaniasis, snake bite, rheumatism, heart pain, pain in bones, liver pain, fever, child birth, ant bite

[79, 31, 70, 85, 97, 162]

Balaenopteridae

  

Megaptera novaeangliae Borowski, 1781

Unspecified

[80, 171]

Balaenoptera acutorostrata Lacépède, 1804 - Minke whale

Rheumatism, sore throat, wounds

[79]

Bovidae

  

Bos taurus Linnaeus, 1758 - Cow

Thrombosis, evil eye, amulet used as a protection against snake bite, baldness, sexual impotence, measles, varicella, anaemia, whooping cough, Alcoholism, rheumatism, inflammation, asthma, cough, sore throat, wounds, cracks in the sole of the feet, bronchitis, dizziness, bladder problems, varicella, removal of thorns, paralisia facial, nervousness, earache, migraine,

[79, 31, 36, 42, 63, 115, 162164, 166]

Bubalus bubalis (Linnaeus, 1758) - Water buffalo (feral)

Rheumatism, osteoporosis, thrombosis

[8]

Ovis aries (Linnaeus, 1758) - Sheep

Edema, fractures, erysipelas, herpes zoster, backache, swelling, to assist children who take longer than usual to start walking, arthritis, arthrosis, rheumatism, muscle strain, inflammation, luxation, cracks in the sole of the feet, joint pain, removal of thorns

[79, 31, 36, 42, 63, 91, 97, 115, 162164, 166]

Capra hircus Linnaeus, 1758 - Domestic goat

Evil eye, snake bite, muscle strain

[79, 31, 42, 91]

Geomyidae

  

Orthogeomys hispidus (LeConte, 1852)

Stomach ache, fever, susto and espanto, swelling, madness

[38, 40]

Bradypodidae

  

Bradypus variegatus Shinz, 1825 - Brown-throated three-toed sloth

Thrombosis

[8, 30, 97]

Bradypus tridactylus Linnaeus, 1758 - Pale-throated three-toed sloth

Thrombosis, insects bite, scorpions bite

[70]

Canidae

  

Lycalopex culpaeus (Molina, 1782)

Scare, susto'' (fright)

[154]

Lycalopex gymnocercus (G. Fischer, 1814)

Air loss, asthma, backache, disorders after parturition, pain in bones, rheumatism, scare, sprains, ulcer

[100, 154]

Canis lupus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Domestic dog

Chicken pox, mumps, smallpox, asthma, varicella, measles, menstrual cramps

[79, 31, 97, 115, 162]

Canis latrans Say, 1823

Rheumatism

[8, 11, 91, 103]

Cerdocyon thous (Linnaeus, 1766) - Crab-eating fox

Rheumatism, flu, haemorrhoids, disorders after parturition, diabetes, thrombosis, backache, osteoporosis, eczema, pain in articulations, sore throat, womb inflammation

[79, 31, 42, 134]

Chrysocyon brachyurus (Illiger, 1815) - Maned wolf

Epilepsy

[133, 161, 162]

Dusicyon thous - Linnaeus, 1766 - Crab-eating fox

Alcoholism, thrombosis, rheumatism, ophthalmological problems, diabetes, urinary infection

[97, 133]

Speothos venaticus (Lund, 1842) - Bush dog

Haemorrhoids

[97, 133]

Caviidae

  

Galea spixii Wagler, 1831

Unspecified

[80]

Cavia aperea Erxleben, 1777

Inflammation, teething

[97]

Cavia porcellus (Linnaeus, 1758)

nervios encogidos.

[182]

Kerodon rupestris (Wied-Neuwied, 1820)

Constipation, tired sight, effusion

[162]

Cebidae

  

Alouatta belzebul (Linnaeus, 1766) - Red-handed howler monkey

Whooping cough, sore throat, asthma

[79, 137]

Alouatta nigerrima Lönnberg, 1941 - Amazon black howler

Whooping cough, inflammation

[69, 137, 181]

Alouatta seniculus (Linnaeus, 1766) - Red howler monkey

Whooping cough, inflammation, to accelerate parturition

[69, 87, 137]

Allouatta fusca (É. Geoffroy, 1812) - Bugio

Used as aphrodisiac; used to treat any disease

[101, 111]

Alouatta sara Elliot, 1910

Unspecified

[83, 137]

Alouatta palliata (Gray 1849)

General pains and inflammation

[107, 137]

Ateles chamek (Humboldt, 1812)

Fever, cough, cold shoulder pain, sleeping problems, leishmaniosis, spider bite, snake bites.

[83, 137]

Ateles geoffroyi Kuhl, 1820

Rheumatism

[137, 152]

Ateles paniscus (Linnaeus 1758)

Rheumatism

[137]

Aotus azarai (Humboldt, 1811)

To cure dribbling in babies

[137]

Aotus griseimembra Elliot 1912

Unspecified

[137]

Cebus apella (Linnaeus, 1758) - Brow capuchin

Insect sting, eye infection, Inflammatory processes, insect sting, used for osteomuscular problems, eye infection and male impotency

[79, 42, 137]

Cebus albifrons (Humboldt 1812

Used as fortifier

[95, 137, 152]

Cebus capucinus (Linnaeus 1758)

Unspecified

[137]

Lagothrix lagotricha (Humboldt 1812)

Unspecified

[95, 137]

Callitrichidae

  

Saguinus fuscicollis (Spix, 1823)

Impotence

[83]

Saguinus mystax (Spix 1823)

Impotence

[83]

Cervidae

  

Blastocerus dichotomus (Illiger, 1815) - Marsh deer

Diarrhoea, vomit

[151]

Mazama americana (Erxleben, 1777) - Red brocket

Stroke, cold, burns

[79, 30, 42, 115]

Mazama simplicicornis (Illinger, 1811)

Diarrhoea, verminosis, evil eye

[69]

Mazama cf. gouazoupira (G. Fischer, 1814) - Gray brocket

Asthma, edema, rheumatism, snake bite, thrombosis, to assit children who take longer than usual to start walking, tootache, wounds, sprains

[8, 63, 97, 162, 164]

Ozotocerus bezoarticus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diarrhoea, verminosis, evil eye

[69])

Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann, 1780)

heart diseases, oftalmological problems, Didelphis virginiana

[91, 103]

Dasypodidae

  

Dasypus novemcinctus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Nine-banded armadillo

Thrombosis, insects bite, scorpions bite, edema, asthma, deafness, earache, evil eye, diarrhoea, whooping cough, tuberculosis, to accelerate parturition

[7, 8, 31, 42, 97, 162]

Dasypus kappleri Krauss, 1862

Earache

[84]

Euphractus sexcinctus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Six-banded armadillo

Wounds, earache, evil eye, asthma, sore throat, pneumonia, sinusitis, deafness, coarse throat

[7, 8, 31, 42, 97, 162]

Tolypeutes tricinctus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Brazilian three-banded armadillo

Thrombosis, rheumatism

[151, 162]

Priodontes maximus (Kerr, 1792)

Embolism, ant bite, visions, skin diseases

[148]

Chaetophractus vellerosus (Gray, 1865)

General diseases

[148]

Cabassous unicinctus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Tatu-rabo-de-couro

Unspecified

[88, 90]

Cabassous centralis (Miller, 1899) - Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo

Stomach ache

[104, 152]

Dasyproctidae

  

Dasyprocta prymnolopha Wagler, 1831 - Black-rumped agouti

Asthma, thrombosis

[4, 162]

Dasyprocta variegata - Brown agouti

Childbirth, Impotence, snake bite

[148]

Delphinidae

  

Sotalia fluviatilis Gervais & Deville, 1853) - Gray dolphin, gray river dolphin

Asthma, headache, rheumatism, hernia, womb disorders, sore throat, injuries caused by the spines of the 'arraia', swelling, haemorrhoids inflammation, wounds, earache, erysipelas, athlete's foot, tumour, cancer

[79, 31, 42, 143]

Sotalia guianensis (P. J. Van Bénéden, 1864) - Guianan river dolphin

Asthma, headache, rheumatism, hernia, womb disorders, sore throat, injuries caused by the spines of the 'arraia', swelling, haemorrhoids inflammation, wounds, earache, erysipelas, athlete's foot, tumour, cancer

[79, 31, 42, 143]

Didelphidae

  

Didelphis albiventris (Lund, 1840) - Common opossum

Boils, rheumatism

[8]

Didelphis marsupialis (Linnaeus, 1758) - Southern opossum

Acne, wounds, bronchitis, joint pain, stomach ache, rheumatism, diarrhoea, inflammation, erysipelas, pain in gestation, asthma, headache, oothache, earache, sore throat, flu, fever, body pain, fatigue, to accelerate parturition, mal aire, swelling

[8, 9, 31, 42, 85]

Didelphis virginiana Kerr, 1792

Rheumatism, skin spots, acne, anaemia, to accelerate parturition, mal aire, swelling

[91, 103]

Didelphis aurita (Wied-Neuwied, 1826) - Saruê

Unspecified

[88, 90]

Philander opossum (Linnaeus, 1758) - Gray Four-eyed Opossum

Unspecified

[152]

Megalonychidae

  

Choloepus hoffmanni Peters, 1858

Visions, hallucination, cramps

[148]

Erethizontidae

  

Coendou bicolor (Tschudi, 1844)

Hallucination, fever, ant bite, flu, whooping cough, scare, varicose veins

[30]

Coendou prehensilis (Linnaeus, 1758) - Brazilian porcupine

Bronchitis, thrombosis, epilepsy, stroke, abscesses, conjunctivitis, asthma

[79, 36, 42, 63, 73, 97, 115, 161, 162, 164]

Coendou villosus (Cuvier, 1822) - Ouriço-cacheiro

Unspecified

[111]

Sphiggurus mexicanus (Kerr, 1792)

Acne, wart

[91]

Sphiggurus insidiosus (Lichtenstein, 1818) - Luís-cacheiro

Unspecified

[89]

Chaetomys subspinosus(Olfers, 1818) - Luís-cacheiro

Unspecified

[89]

Equidae

  

Equus asinus Linnaeus, 1758 - Asino

Snake bite, whooping cough, asthma, Avoid pregnancy

[79, 42, 73, 91, 115, 162]

Equus caballus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Horse

Cough, deep cuts, dermatosis, wounds

[8]

Felidae

  

Felis silvestris Schreber, 1775 - Domestic cat

Asthma, snake bites

[8]

Puma concolor (Linnaeus, 1771) - Mountain lion

Wounds, leishmaniosis, arthritis, pain in bones, rheumatism, distend, scare, stomach ache, evil eye, fever, avoid acne, contusions and muscular pain

[8, 87, 157]

Panthera onca (Linnaeus, 1758)

Wounds, leishmaniosis, Cough, fatigue, fever, pain in bones

[8, 87, 157]

Panthera tigris (Linnaeus, 1758) - Tigre

Unspecified

[4]

Leopardus jacobitus (Cornalia, 1865)

Self encorage

[148]

Leopardus colocolo (Molina, 1782)

Self encorage

[148]

Leopardus wiedii (Schinz, 1821)

Unspecified

[148]

Leopardus pardalis (Linnaeus, 1758) - Gato-maracajá

Unspecified

[30]

Octodontidae

  

Ctenomys opimus Wagner, 1848

To make the child's teeth stronger

[148]

Chinchillidae

  

Lagidium viscacia (Molina, 1782)

Bad memory

[148]

Lagidium peruanum Meyen, 1833

Earache

[182, 189]

Hydrochaeridae

  

Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris (Linnaeus, 1766) - Capybara

Thrombosis, conjunctivitis, venereal disease, rheumatism, earache, strengthen bones, liver pain, bronchitis, asthma, wounds, erysipelas, cough

[79, 42, 73, 85, 97, 115, 155, 161, 162]

Heteromyidae

  

Heteromys desmarestianus Gray, 1868

Unspecified

[38, 148]

Iniidae

  

Inia geoffrensis (Blainville, 1817) - Amazon river dolphin

Asthma, headache, rheumatism, hernia, womb disorders, sore throat, injuries caused by the spines of the 'arraia', swelling, haemorrhoids inflammation, wounds, earache, erysipelas, athlete's foot, tumour, cancer

[7, 8, 42, 73, 143]

Leporidae

  

Sylvilagus brasiliensis (Linnaeus, 1758) - Forest rabbit, tapeti

Thrombosis, conjunctivitis, boils, burns, ophthalmological problems, embolism, scare, fever, hallucination

[7, 8, 42, 73, 97, 143, 162]

Sylvilagus floridanus (J. A. Allen, 1890)

Unspecified

[152]

Sylvilagus cunicularius (Waterhouse, 1848)

To bring good luck

[103]

Oryctolagus cuniculus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Coelho

Unspecified

[4]

Lepus alleni Mearns, 1890

Stomach ache

[103]

Sciuridae

  

Sciurus spadiceus Olfers, 1818

Unspecified

[125]

Sciurus deppei Peters, 1863

Unspecified

[125]

Sciurus aureogaster F. Cuvier, 1829

Unspecified

[125]

Ammospermophilus interpres (Merriam, 1890

Inflammation

[103]

Mephitidae

  

Conepatus semistriatus (Boddaert, 1785) - Striped hog-nosed skunk

Rheumatism, acne, scabies, blood problems, bronchial diseases, skin problems, asthma, nervous disturbances

[79, 42, 73, 162]

Conepatus chinga (Molina, 1782) - Gambá, Molina's Hog-nosed Skunk

Thrombosis, rheumatism, general diseases

 

Conepatus leuconotus leuconotus (Lichtenstein, 1832)

Blood disorders, acne, stomach ache, mal aire, swelling, undescended testicles, rabies, whooping cough, bone pain Acné, dolor muscular

[105]

Mephitis macroura Lichtenstein, 1832

Stomach ache, mal aire, swelling, undescended testicles, Rabies, whooping cough, pain in bone, asthma

[8, 103, 125, 148]

Spilogale putorius (Linnaeus, 1758)

Stomach ache, mal aire, swelling, undescended testicles, rabies, whooping cough, pain in bone

[91]

Ambystomidae

  

Ambystoma mexicanum (Shaw and Nodder, 1798)

Bronchitis

[103]

Mustelidae

  

Lontra longicaudis (Olfers, 1818)

Thrombosis, ampollas

[162]

Mustela frenata Lichtenstein, 1831

Unspecified

[152]

Eira barbara (Linnaeus, 1758)

Unspecified

[152]

Taxidea taxus (Schreber, 1777)

Witchcraft

[103]

Camelidae

  

Lama glama (Linnaeus, 1758)

Unspecified

[148, 154]

Lama guanicoe (Müller, 1776)

Asthma, scare

[148, 154]

Vicugna vicugna (Molina, 1782)

Unspecified

[148, 154]

Cyclopedidae

  

Cyclopes didactylus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Rheumatism

[152]

Myrmecophagidae

  

Myrmecophaga tridactyla Linnaeus, 1758 - Giant anteater

Thrombosis, stroke, general body pain, Snake bite, urinary problem, heart pain, ant bite

[8, 115, 162]

Myrmecophaga tetradactyla (Linnaeus, 1758) - Collared anteater

Edema, thrombosis, itching, ant bite, rheumatism

[79, 42, 97]

Tamandua mexicana (Saussure, 1860) - Northern Tamandua

Unspecified

[152]

Procyonidae

  

Nasua nasua (Linnaeus, 1766) - South American coati

Sexual impotence, wounds, skin burns, snake bites, backache, cold, cough, leg pain, wounded foot, earache, neck strain, to help become pregnant, whooping cough

[79, 42, 63, 73, 111, 162, 164, 166]

Nasua narica (Linnaeus, 1766) White-nosed Coati English

Male impotence

[152]

Procyon cancrivorus (G. [Baron] Cuvier, 1798) - Crab-eating raccoon

Rheumatism, epilepsy, thrombosis, snake bite

[79, 42, 73, 97, 115]

Procyon lotor (Linnaeus, 1758)

Unspecified

[152]

Potos flavus (Schreber, 1774) - Kinkajou

Earache, snake bite, ant bite

[152]

Physeteridae

  

Physeter catodon Linnaeus, 1758 - Sperm whale, cachelot

Asthma, backache, rheumatism, sore throat, wounds

[79, 42, 119]

Muridae

  

Neotoma mexicana Baird, 1855

Unspecified

[38]

Peromyscus mexicanus (Saussure, 1860)

Abdominal distension

[40]

Mus musculus Linnaeus, 1758

Pertussis

[175]

Suidae

  

Sus scrofa (Linnaeus, 1758) - Wild boar

Acne, boils, tumours, asthma, athlete's foot, warble, wounds,

[79, 42, 73, 91]

Tapiridae

  

Tapirus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758) - Brazilian tapir

Rheumatism, arthrosis, osteoporosis, bursite, muscular pain, asthma, tonsillitis, cough, general body pain

[8]

Tapirus bairdii (Gill, 1865)

Unspecified

[152]

Tayassuidae

  

Pecari tajacu Linnaeus 1758 - Collared peccary

Thrombosis, bronchitis, stroke

[8, 85, 115, 162]

Tayassu pecari (Link, 1795) - White-lipped peccary

Thrombosis, stroke, cold, wounds

[8, 9, 115, 162]

Trichechidae

  

Trichechus inunguis (Natterer, 1883) - Amazonian manatee

Sprains, vaginal discharge, injuries caused by bang, burns, asthma, menstrual cramps, rheumatism, sore throat, wounds, muscle strain, suck a splinter out of skin or fresh, tumour, backache, hernia, arthrosis, luxation, insects bite

[79, 31, 42, 155]

Trichechus manatus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Manatee

Arthrosis, luxation, menstrual cramps, insects bites, sprains, vaginal discharge, injuries caused by bang, burns, asthma, rheumatism, sore throat, wounds, muscle strain

[79, 31, 42, 155]

The species catalogued comprised 13 taxonomic categories, belonging to 215 families. The groups with the largest numbers of medicinal species were: mammals (with 130 species), followed by birds (122), fishes (110), reptiles (95) and insects (54) (Figure 1). Most medicinal animals recorded are vertebrates. Species of this group are also used frequently at countries of Europe, Africa and Asia countries[16, 27, 33, 34, 37, 39, 195197]. Examples of animals used as medicine in Latin America is shown in Figure 2.
https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-7-9/MediaObjects/13002_2011_Article_218_Fig1_HTML.jpg
Figure 1

Number of animal species used as remedies per taxonomic category in Latin America.

https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-7-9/MediaObjects/13002_2011_Article_218_Fig2_HTML.jpg
Figure 2

Examples of animals used as medicine in Latin America. A: Chelonoidis carbonaria, B: Podocnemis expansa, C - Tupinambis merianae, D - Iguana iguana, E - Boa constrictor, F - Caudisona durissa, G - Cariama cristata, H - Cerdocyon thous.

Most animals used as medicine were native to the Latin America, with the exception of Hippocampus spinosissimus, H. trimaculatus and Panthera leo and domestic exotic species (eg. Bos taurus, Capra hircus and Ovis aries). This finding demonstrates the importance of local biodiversity in furnishing folk medicines, in agreement with previous studies [7, 8, 42] which observed that faunal composition, accessibility, and availability directly influence the types of zootherapeutic items used in any given region. The use of the local fauna generally reduces the acquisition costs of commercial agents, and our results are in agreement with Apaza et al. [32], who noted a reduction in the cost of acquiring animal products in regions with abundant faunal resources. The medicinal use of wild exotic animals in Latin America indicates existence of international trade routes for medicinal species, a situation previously reported by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - CITES [198]. One excellent example are the seahorses. According to Baum and Vincent [79], the largest market for dried seahorses in Central America was for use as Traditional Chinese Medicine. These authors reported that three retailers in Panama City's Chinatown imported an estimated total of 18-27 kg dried seahorses annually from Hong Kong. These included H. spinosissimus and H. trimaculatus, which are found in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, South-east Asia and Australia.

Some widespread species are used in different countries, such as Tupinambis spp. and Boa constrictor (in Argentina and Brazil), Tapirus terrestris (in Brazil and Bolivia) and Caudisona durissa in Mexico and Brazil [8, 32, 38, 189]. Despite the fact that technical studies recording the use of animals in traditional medicine are all relatively recent, an analysis of historical documents and archaeological research indicated that animals have been used in traditional medicines since ancient times in Latin America [36, 99, 152154, 199]. In Brazil, for example, animal species have been used medicinally by indigenous societies for millennia. During his voyage through the interior of Brazil in the nineteenth century, Von Martius [200] recorded many natural medicines used by the Amerindian tribes he encountered, such as fresh caiman fat applied to alleviate rheumatism [115]. Even today, caiman fat (Cayman latirostris, Melanosuchus niger and Paleosuchus palpebrosus) is used in rural and urban communities to treat rheumatism [8]. Some examples of animals that have been used in Brazil since colonial times include: Iguana iguana (Iguanidae), Caiman latirostris, Crotalus durissus, and Micrurus ibiboboca. Similarly, a historical revision of the therapeutic uses of animals as described in Colonial chronicles from Mexico [99] revealed a total of 27 birds used as medicinal resource, showing their importance on this issue for the Ancient Mexican people.

Illnesses and remedies

Animal-derived remedies were used for treating various diseases (See Table 1). A single illness could be treated by various animal species (e.g., 215 animal species were used in the treatment of asthma and 95 in the treatment of rheumatism), and many species were prescribed for treating multiple illnesses, as in the case of the products obtained from the teju (Tupinambis teguixin) and the snake boa (Boa constrictor), which were indicated to treat 29 and 30 conditions, respectively. The reported multiple therapeutic actions and the use of various animals for the same condition presumes different properties either of parts used or of modes of preparation, corroborating the remark by Iwu [201] that different chemical constituents are enhanced by different factors, such as preparation, dosage, or part used. Additionally, the possibility of using various remedies for the same ailment is popular because it permits adapting to the availability of the animals [7]. The fact that some medicinal animals are being used for the same purpose suggest that different species can share similar medicinal properties and might indicate the pharmacological effectiveness of these zootherapeutic remedies.

Ingredients reportedly used in the preparation were fat, flesh, bone, bone marrow, cartilage, skin, tail, feather, liver, bile ("fel"), milk, rattle (from rattlesnakes), spine, shell, honey, wax, scale, rostral expansion, otolith, penis, carapace, blood, gizzard, beak, cocoon of insects, teeth, tongue, egg, egg shells, tibia, secretions, head, heart, urine, foot, legs, nest, guts, bezoar, ear, paw, spawn, nails, horn, sucking dish, eye, or more rarely, whole animals (Figures 3 and 4). Zootherapeutic products are consumed in several ways. Hard parts, such as teeth, nails, shells, rattles from snakes, fish scales, bone and cartilage generally are sun-dried, grated and crushed to powder, being then administered as tea or taken during meals, while fat, body secretion and oil are either ingested or used as an ointment. The influence of Westernization was also reflected in the presentation of some zootherapeutic products, which were either manufactured or pre-packaged. Examples are the fat extracted from the manatee (Trichecus sp.), sold as tablets, and the fat of Amazon River turtle (Podocnemis expansa (Schweiger, 1812)--Podocnemididae) sold as a manufactured soap in Brazil [42].
https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-7-9/MediaObjects/13002_2011_Article_218_Fig3_HTML.jpg
Figure 3

Examples of animal products used as remedies in Latin America (Brazil). A - Tamanquaré (Uranoscodon superciliosus), B - Rattle of rattlesnake (Caudisona durissa), boas' head (Boa constrictor) and cayman's head (Cayman sp), C - Cayman's skin (Cayman sp.) and D - Shark jaws and teeth.

https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-7-9/MediaObjects/13002_2011_Article_218_Fig4_HTML.jpg
Figure 4

Medicinal animal products sold in Brazilian cities. A - Dried seahorses, B - Soap is produced from fat of turtle P. expansa and honey bee, C - Fat derived from sheep (Ovis aries) and Turtle (P. expansa), D - Anaconda fat (Eunectes murinus), E - Boa fats (Boa constrictor) and manatee (Trichecus sp.), F - Plastic bottles with raccoon fat (Procyon cancrivorus), rattlesnake (Caudisona durissa), caymans (Paleosuchus palpebrosus or Cayman crocodilus) and armadillo (Euphractus sexcintus), G - Head and fat of boa (B. constrictor) and rattle and fat of rattlesnake (C. durissa), and H: Oyster powder (Crassostrea rhizophorae), fats of different animals prompt to be commercialized right in big pots of plastic and in small flasks.

In many cases, the therapeutic use of animal remedies appears to be based on morphological or behavioral peculiarities of the animal in question. In México, for example, a tea made from the toasted and ground penis of the coatimundi (Nasua narica or N. nasua) is considered the most potent remedy for male impotence [8, 40]. Descola [202] has recorded a similar remedy among the Achuar Jivaro of the Ecuadorian Amazon and provides an enlightening account of its probable origin: "The penis of the coati rejoices in a long fine bone that keeps it constantly rigid. This anatomical peculiarity has made a forceful impression upon the imagination of the Indians, and the men make the most of it, grating the bone into a decoction of green tobacco to make a love philtre. Quaffed at the right moment, it is reputed to prevent any flagging of the male member." In Brazil, reptiles that move slowly ("lerdos") are used to calm people ("lerdar"). For example, the products produced from U. superciliosus (dust and water) are used to "amansar" (to calm an aggressive person or ease the anger of someone betrayed by their wife or husband) [142]. There is an association between the biological characteristics of a lizard and the effects its use is expected to generate [134]. This observation is similar to that of Radbill [203] who pointed out that in homeopathic or imitative magic, it is assumed that certain qualities attributed to animals can be transferred to humans, and that this transfer can occur by inhalation, ingestion or application of the body parts of those animals.

It is worth mentioning that such "natural modeling" does not necessarily preclude empirical efficacy. In Oxchuc, México, the two most common medicines given to speed delivery in cases of protracted labor are made from the toasted tail and shell of the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) and the tail of the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) [40]. Both animals are characterized by odd reproductive habits: Nine-banded armadillos regularly give birth to litters of identical quadruplets, and the opossum produces 10 to 20 offspring per year (no doubt owing to its 13-day gestation period, one of the shortest in the animal kingdom [204]. While these reproductive anomalies undoubtedly influenced their therapeutic use, the tail of the Virginia opossum has demonstrated uterotonic action in recent laboratory and clinical trials. This action probably derives from the presence of prostaglandins, which are known to be oxytocic in very small doses [205].

Some diseases affect both animals and humans and can be treated with similar remedies. This way, some animals are used in ethnoveterinary medicine and are also used for the treatment of human diseases. Barboza et al. [193] and Souto et al. [62] recorded the utilization of animals (zootherapeutics) as sources of medicines in folk veterinary medicine in semiarid northeast Brazil and verified that 46 animal species (43 vertebrates and 3 invertebrates) are used in the prevention or treatment of veterinary diseases in that region. Souto et al. [62] pointed that parallels between zootherapeutic practices in human and animal ethnomedicine not only include the types of animals used and the prevalence of use of those wildlife resources, but also in the modes of administration of these remedies and the ethnomedical techniques employed. This view of ethnomedicinal symbioses was highlighted by McCorkle and Martin [206], who noted that nearly all the ways in which ethnopharmaceuticals are administered (both externally and internally) are shared in animal and human treatments. Souto et al [62] recorded that local residents in the semi-arid region of Brazil administer zootherapeutic medicines topically (powders, ointment of fats, and others), or orally to their livestock and pets in a manner very similar to human Complementary Alternative Medicine practices. The main techniques of preparing and administering animal-based remedies in local traditional medicine systems are commonly reported in Complementary and Alternative Medicinal practices in most parts of Brazil [79, 31, 132]. The close relationships between ethnoveterinary and human ethnomedicines can be easily explained from this perspective, as the main stock animals (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, etc.) are mammals [132] that often have health problems very similar to humans and identical symptoms [62].

Cultural beliefs

Historically, traditional cultures recognized the importance of belief and expectancy within the healing encounter and created complex rituals and ceremonies designed to elicit or foster the expectancy and participation of healer and patient, as well as the community as a whole. Spiritual healing techniques have been a fundamental component of the healing rituals of virtually all societies since the advent of man [207, 208].

Folk-illnesses exist within the cultures that create them, "etiology, diagnosis, preventive measures and regimens of healing" [209] being provided by the culture. Cultural issues are recognized as important components of the provision of effective health care [210]. As noted by Straker [211], the supernatural world is as relevant in the diagnosis of illness as the natural world, with the main causes of illness being magical, mystical and animistic forces. Maher [212] showed that Aboriginal people have categorized illness as natural, environmental, direct supernatural, indirect supernatural and emergent or western causes. Pieroni and Quave [213] found, in a study carried at Ginestra/Zhure, Italy, that the aetiologies of various folk-illness are commonly linked to spiritual transmission, and that the treatments were often magical or psychotherapeutic in nature. Furthermore, for many illnesses deriving from relations with the supernatural, modern medicine is considered ineffective[214].

Besides their role in healing, natural products often have magical-religious significance, reflecting the different views of health and disease that exist within different cultures. In this context, animal parts are used to prepare clinical remedies as well as to make amulets or charms used in magical/religious diagnoses. Popular beliefs usually affect the way species are used in zootherapy [7, 8, 29, 134, 146]. One form of spiritual treatment involves the use of amulets containing reptile parts to protect the user from the "evil-eye" or from diseases. An example is caiman teeth (C. latirostris, M. niger, and P. palpebrosus) used as protection against snake bites [8].

The influence of magical beliefs integrated into traditional medicine is apparent [8]. In Brazil, for example, different animal species are used in magical-religious practices of Afro-Brazilian cults [29, 65, 142, 215, 216] in the context of rituals that emphasize the holistic nature of traditional medicine and that are designed to address spiritual, physical, and social-psychological problems [42]. Because medical systems are organized as cultural systems, the use of animal substances should be understood according to a cultural perspective [64].

Socio-economic aspects of zootherapy

In addition to the belief systems, socioeconomic aspects also influence zootherapeutic practices [8]. Latin America has one of the greatest disparities in income distribution in the world. Overall, the health profile of the Latin American population can be classified as undergoing a slow epidemiological transition. At one extreme of the spectrum there is a high incidence of (and mortality from) chronic noninfectious diseases such as cardiovascular problems and cancer, which predominate in large metropolitan areas. On the other hand, infectious diseases still impose a heavy burden on the poverty-stricken parts of the population. The reasons for this dichotomy are two-fold: uneven socioeconomic development within countries and the extreme diversity of regional environments [217].

Studies suggest that Indigenous peoples of Latin America still have inadequate access to mainstream health services, and health prevention and promotion programmes, and that services that do exist are often culturally inappropriate [218, 219]. The traditional medicine is widely available and affordable, yet in remote areas, and generally accessible to most people. In many developing countries, a large part of the population, especially in rural areas, depends mainly on traditional medicine for their primary health care, because it is cheaper and more accessible than orthodox medicine [8]. Traditional medicine is also more acceptable because it blends readily into the peoples' socio-cultural belief system [220222]. Hence, resorting to the use of medicinal animals and plants, which were easily accessible and relatively cheap is an important component to healthcare in these gettings [8].

Health Concerns

Traditional drugs and traditional medicine in general represent a still poorly explored field of research in terms of therapeutic potential or clinical evaluation. There is a current preoccupation about this, since it is well-established that all sorts of vegetable, animal and mineral remedies used in a traditional setting are capable of producing serious adverse reactions. It is essential, however, that traditional drug therapies be submitted to an appropriate benefit/risk analysis. De Smet [223] draws attention to the fact that some side-effects of traditional medicines have proven to be more severe than the disease that they are treating. Such considerations must be taken into account, further highlighting the need for clinical studies of traditional remedies.

Numerous infectious diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans [224]. Zoonoses constitute other animal health problems that affect public health. These represent an important threat for the welfare of human populations. In the urban and rural areas of the countries under development, zoonoses continue to present high frequencies [225]. In this context, the possibility of transmitting infections or ailments from animal preparations to the patient should be seriously considered [224]. Several organs and tissues including bones and bile can be a source of Salmonella infection causing chronic diarrhoea and endotoxic shock. The possibility of transmission of other serious and widespread zoonoses such as tuberculosis or rabies should be considered whenever animal tissues from unknown sources are handled and used as remedies [226].

Several species of animals have become a favorite target of hunters because its bones, organs and tissues are used in traditional medicine [136, 143]. Indeed, numerous species of animals are hunted (poached) rather for their meat than for their supposed medical use [136, 140]. Nevertheless, there is often an overlap between the two purposes, and transmission of disease can occur in both instances. One excellent example of this regards the primates [140]. Several species of monkeys have been identified as harboring infectious diseases transmissible to man with potentially grave consequences [224, 227]. The related risks can be illustrated by a recent case from a Safari Park in Great Britain, where a colony of otherwise clinically healthy Macaque monkeys had to be humanely destroyed once it had been discovered that the monkeys harbored the simian herpes B virus [228]. While the agent is not harmful to monkeys, it causes mortality in 80% of affected humans. Certain researchers seriously consider the hypothesis that the worldwide epidemic of the HIV virus (causing the AIDS infection in humans) might have been initiated by transmission of a virus from monkeys several decades earlier [229].

The effectiveness of most of the medicines from wild animals/wild animal parts has not been scientifically studied and proven and their potency in many cases may be questionable. As pointed out by Pieroni et al. [230] the chemical constituents and pharmacological actions of some animal products are already known to some extent and ethnopharmacological studies focused on animal remedies could be very important in order to clarify the eventual therapeutic usefulness of this class of biological remedies. However, research with therapeutic purposes into the products of the animal kingdom has been neglected until recently [25, 231]. In comparison to research done on plant drugs, modern pharmacology has done far fewer studies on animal products and minerals [232].

Historically, traditional use of plants as medicines has been extensively recognized, studied, and reviewed. However, such attention has not been paid to the potential of animals as a source of medicinally relevant substances. A excellent example of this potential is provided by insects. Trowell [233] points out that there are at least 16 times as many insect species as there are plant species, yet plant chemistry has been studied 7000 times as much as insect chemistry when comparing the amount of research per species. Nonetheless, the vast biodiversity which exists in the arthropod world, compared to all other organisms on earth, certainly suggests that arthropods should be given a more serious look [234]. Nevertheless, in last years, there has been increasing attention paid to animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates, as sources for new medicines [235].

Environmental Approach

Various authors have discussed the conservation implications of the use of medicinal products derived from wild animal species [16, 33, 34, 143, 236]. In Latin America, as evidenced in the present review, the medicinal fauna is largely based on wild animals, including many endangered species.

The use of medicinal animals is common in both rural and urban areas. Biological remedies are openly commercialized in towns and cities, principally in public markets. It is common to find specific places in these markets where plants and animals are sold for medicinal purposes [31, 32, 38, 42, 66, 67, 131, 133, 135, 138, 144, 237]. The commercialization of animals for medicinal purposes is a widespread phenomenon, with significant implications for their conservation and sustainable use [1]. Previous authors [238242] have suggested that market expansion induces people to make greater use of wild animals for traditional medicine and that the practice has spread in developed nations of Asia and the Pacific (e.g., Taiwan, Australia). But other research suggests that the increasing use of animals for traditional medicine can also take place without economic prosperity. For example, Kritsky [242] reported that the use of insects for traditional medicine in China increased during the Cultural Revolution. Based on an ethno-zoological survey of the use of medicinal birds, Joseph [243] concludes that the use of birds to treat human ailments increased in Madhya Pradesh, Central India, because people could not afford modern treatments.

The worldwide market for animal parts and their medicinal derivatives is contributing to the loss of some species. The increased use of medicinal animals has led to over-exploitation of species like rhinos, tigers, musk deer, bears, monkeys and pangolins. In spite of international regulations and several national laws against poaching and heavy penalties for culprits, the extremely high prices offered for the parts of some species serve as strong incentives for illegal trade in animal parts to flourish [1, 2].

It must be emphasized, however, that many factors affect animal populations in the world, and the use of these animals for medicinal purposes is only part of the problem. As such, the medicinal use of animals must be considered together with other anthropogenic pressures, such as habitat loss. The depletion of medicinal resources not only poses a challenge for conservation but represents a serious threat to the health of many human communities, and that efforts to stabilize the status of these species are important not only to conservationists but to millions of people whose health depends of the use of traditional remedies [136, 140, 224]. Moura and Marques [74] pointed that one characteristic in common among all zootherapeutic products, whether whole animals or their parts, is their lack of use for other purposes. In this sense, it is remarkable that in most cases, the medicinal products of animals are by-products from animals hunted for other purposes; thus, these multiple uses (including medicinal) of fauna and their impact on animal populations must be properly assessed and taken into consideration when implementing recovery plans for these species, especially those that are highly exploited [79, 31, 140]. Medicinal species whose conservation status is a cause of concern should receive urgent attention, and aspects such as habitat loss/alteration should be discussed in connection with present and future use of these species in folk medicine [8]

Zootherapy is intertwined with sociocultural and religious beliefs that must be understood by those engaged in modern conservation and protection of biodiversity. Celso [244] pointed out that natural medicine is one important use of biodiversity. Some traditional medicinal systems, like the Chinese Traditional Medicine, is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and accepted by one-fourth of the world human population, and the reliance on traditional medicinal uses of animals by communities around the world should be addressed when designing strategies to conserve biodiversity. Conservation permits the continuing use of the resources in ways that are non-destructive and sustainable, while from the pharmaceutical point of view, it provides time to eventually demonstrate fully the potentially medicinal value of the resources [245].

Connections between traditional medicine, biodiversity and human health have recently been addressed by different authors [1, 22, 246248]; have drawn attention to the fact that biodiversity loss can have indirect and direct effects on human well-being as well. The reliance on traditional uses of animals as food and as medicine by communities around the world highlights the need for further interdisciplinary research in ethnozoology which can be used in strategies to conserve biodiversity [53, 249]. Furthermore, loss of wildlife resources, aside from threatening people's health and well-being, affects their cultural integrity. In Latin America, despite the many individual efforts of the governments to preserve the biodiversity for future generations, traditional knowledge, especially that derived from indigenous knowledge (such as Traditional Medicine), is also disappearing [45]. In this sense, understanding the contexts of traditional therapeutic uses of animals, is central for elucidating their potential impact in public health and biodiversity conservation.

Conclusions

Latin America has a wealth of biological resources and is home to a large number of different ethnic and cultural groups, many of which have developed their own, distinct health care systems. As a result, the region is rich in traditional medicinal knowledge and zootherapy represents an alternative to official medicinal practices in rural areas and has also become part of urban popular medicine. Our results reveal that at least 584 animals are used for medicinal purposes in Latin America, underlining the importance of zootherapy as alternative therapeutic in region.

Animals provide the raw materials for remedies used to treat physical and/or spiritual diseases. Besides being influenced by cultural aspects, the relations between humans and biodiversity in the form of zootherapeutic practices are conditioned by the social and economic relations between humans themselves. In a region like Latin America, where the majority of the population has no access allopathic medicine, local medicinal animals and plant knowledge systems is of significance. The population uses traditional medicine due to the relatively low cost and difficult access to modern health facilities. Nevertheless, the interest in and intrinsic value of zootherapy not be only be attributed to the lack of access to modern medicinal services. Even in cities where modern health services are more accessible and specialized; many people continue to go to traditional healers showing the cultural acceptability of such practices.

Threatened species represented important medicinal resources in Latin America. This shows the need to integrate traditional knowledge into strategies to conserve and manage faunistic resources. Sustainability of harvesting of medicinal animals is challenged by many factors, from both social and ecological perspectives. It is important to respect differing views of the value of wildlife, while, at the same time, conserving biodiversity.

Using animal products as components of bioprospecting has implications for medicine, the environment, economy, public health and culture. Although widely diffused, zootherapeutic practices remain virtually unstudied, and so far there has been neither a demonstration of the clinical efficacy of the popularly used remedies nor an evaluation of the sanitary implications of the prescription of animal products for the treatment of diseases in the Latin America. New studies of medicinal fauna, which seek a better understanding of this form of therapy - including ecological, cultural and pharmacological aspects, are necessary.

Declarations

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, Avenida das Baraúnas
(2)
Prefeitura Municipal de João Pessoa, Escola Municipal Arnaldo de Barros Moreira

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