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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4901329, 22 pages
Research Article

Trends in Medicinal Uses of Edible Wild Vertebrates in Brazil

1Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, 58429-500 Campina Grande, PB, Brazil
2Centro de Ciências Biológicas e Sociais Aplicadas (CCBSA), Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, 58071-160 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil
3Unidade Acadêmica de Biologia e Química, Universidade Federal de Campina Grande, 58175-000 Cuité, PB, Brazil

Correspondence should be addressed to Maria Franco Trindade Medeiros

Received 5 April 2017; Accepted 3 July 2017; Published 15 August 2017

Academic Editor: Ghee T. Tan

Copyright © 2017 Rômulo Romeu Nóbrega Alves 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.


The use of food medicines is a widespread practice worldwide. In Brazil, such use is often associated with wild animals, mostly focusing on vertebrate species. Here we assessed taxonomic and ecological trends in traditional uses of wild edible vertebrates in the country, through an extensive ethnobiological database analysis. Our results showed that at least 165 health conditions are reportedly treated by edible vertebrate species (), mostly fishes and mammals. However, reptiles stand out presenting a higher plasticity in the treatment of multiple health conditions. Considering the 20 disease categories recorded, treatment prescriptions were similar within continental (i.e., terrestrial and freshwater) and also within coastal and marine habitats, which may reflect locally related trends in occurrence and use of the medicinal fauna. The comprehension of the multiplicity and trends in the therapeutic uses of Brazilian vertebrates is of particular interest from a conservation perspective, as several threatened species were recorded.