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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 857292, 11 pages
Review Article

Traditional Uses, Chemical Constituents, and Biological Activities of Bixa orellana L.: A Review

1Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology, Federal University of Paraíba, 58051-900 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil
2Department of Pharmacy, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, 59010-180 Natal, RN, Brazil
3Department of Molecular Biology, Federal University of Paraíba, 58051-900 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil
4State Company of Agricultural Research of Paraíba, Rua Eurípedes Tavares 210, Tambiá, 58013-290 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil
5Department of Chemistry, Federal University of Paraíba, 58051-900 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil

Received 11 February 2014; Revised 17 May 2014; Accepted 31 May 2014; Published 23 June 2014

Academic Editor: Tsutomu Hatano

Copyright © 2014 Daniela de Araújo Vilar 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.


Bixa orellana L., popularly known as “urucum,” has been used by indigenous communities in Brazil and other tropical countries for several biological applications, which indicates its potential use as an active ingredient in pharmaceutical products. The aim of this work was to report the main evidence found in the literature, concerning the ethnopharmacology, the biological activity, and the phytochemistry studies related to Bixa orellana L. Therefore, this work comprises a systematic review about the use of Bixa orellana in the American continent and analysis of the data collected. This study shows the well-characterized pharmacological actions that may be considered relevant for the future development of an innovative therapeutic agent.