Medicinal fungi used by rural communities in Northeastern Brazil

Cavalcanti, Laise Holanda; de Barros, Roseli Farias Melo; Lopes, João Batista; de Sousa, Santina Barbosa

Abstract

The use of fungi for diversified purposes is part of the history of mankind. We sought to report what is known about fungal species used for medicinal purposes by rural populations in Northeastern Brazil. To this end, semi-structured forms were applied to 176 informants from four rural communities located in the southern region of Piauí. The fungi were deposited in the Graziela Barroso Herbarium (TEPB) of the Federal University of Piauí. The use value (UV) and relative importance (RI) of each species were calculated and similarity was estimated with the Sorensen index. Medicinal use was identified for four basidiomycete species belonging to the families Agaricaceae [Podaxis pistillaris (L.) Fr.], Hymenochaetaceae (Fomitiporia sp.) and Polyporaceae [Hexagonia hydnoides (Sw.) M. Fidalgo and Pycnoporus sanguineus (L.) Murrill]. Indicated for intestinal colic in infants, P. sanguineus was the species that presented the greatest current and potential UV and greater cultural importance. Studies on the chemical and pharmacological composition of the mentioned species were found, indicating their antibacterial, antiparasitic, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant potential. Knowledge about these fungi has been transmitted from generation to generation, with greater similarity among individuals of the female sex and adult age. The results showed that there is ethnomycological knowledge in rural communities still to be explored in the semi-arid region of Brazil and highlighted the importance of studies about the ethnological knowledge of medicinal fungi.

Keyword(s)

Cultural conservation; Cultural importance of fungi; Ethnomycology; Folk medicine


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