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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 202508, 19 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/202508
Review Article

Natural Products from Ethnodirected Studies: Revisiting the Ethnobiology of the Zombie Poison

1Laboratory of Applied Ethnobotany, Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, 52171-900 Recife, PE, Brazil
2Laboratory of Pharmacology and Molecular Chemistry, Department of Biological Chemistry, Cariri Regional University, Pimenta 63105-000, Crato, CE, Brazil
3Laboratory of Herpetology and Paleoherpetology, Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, 52171-900 Recife, PE, Brazil
4Laboratory of Ictiology, Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, 52171-900 Recife, PE, Brazil
5Ethnozoology, Conservation and Biodiversity Research Group, Department of Biology, State University of Paraíba, João Pessoa 58429-500, PB, Brazil

Received 29 June 2011; Accepted 4 August 2011

Academic Editor: Ana H. Ladio

Copyright © 2012 Ulysses Paulino Albuquerque et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Wade Davis's study of Haitian “zombification” in the 1980s was a landmark in ethnobiological research. His research was an attempt to trace the origins of reports of “undead” Haitians, focusing on the preparation of the zombification poison. Starting with this influential ethnopharmacological research, this study examines advances in the pharmacology of natural products, focusing especially on those of animal-derived products. Ethnopharmacological, pharmacological, and chemical aspects are considered. We also update information on the animal species that reportedly constitute the zombie poison. Several components of the zombie powder are not unique to Haiti and are used as remedies in traditional medicine worldwide. This paper emphasizes the medicinal potential of products from zootherapy. These biological products are promising sources for the development of new drugs.