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Journal of ethnopharmacology

The use of an integrated molecular-, chemical- and biological-based approach for promoting the better use and conservation of medicinal species: a case study of Brazilian quinas.


PMID 24971797

Abstract

Quina is a popular name originally attributed to Cinchona pubescens Vahl (=Cinchona succirubra) and Cinchona. calisaya Wedd., species native from Peru that have the antimalarial alkaloid quinine. In Brazil, bitter barks substitutes for the Peruvian species began to be used centuries ago, and they still are sold in popular markets. To assess the authenticity and the conditions on which samples of quinas have been commercialized, using the DNA barcode, chemical and biological assays. Starting with 28 samples of barks acquired on a popular market, 23 had their DNA extracted successfully. The regions matK and rbcL were amplified and sequenced for 15 and 23 samples, respectively. Phytochemical analyses were performed by chromatographic methods, and biological essays were done by antimalarial tests in vitro. The identified species belonged to six different families, many of them endangered or with no correlation with use in traditional medicine as a Brazilian quina. The absence of typical bitter chemical substances indicated that barks have been collected from other species or from very young trees. The results of biological essays confirm the lack of standardization of the sold materials. The integrated approaches proved to be efficient to evaluate medicinal plants sold in popular markets and can be useful for promoting their better use and conservation.

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