• Maria de Fátima Agra Universidade Federal da Paraíba
  • George Sidney Baracho Universidade de Pernambuco
  • Ionaldo J. Diniz Basílio Universidade Federal da Paraíba
  • Kiriaki Nurit Universidade Federal da Paraíba
  • Victor Peçanha Coelho Universidade Federal da Paraíba
  • Danila de Araújo Barbosa Universidade Federal da Paraíba


Caatinga, Cariri da Paraíba, etnomedicine, medicinal plants, local knowledge.


A survey on the diversity of medicinal plants in the flora of the “Cariri Paraibano”, Brazil, has been made. 70 plant species belonging to 59 genera and 32 families were recorded by their use in the popular medicine in the study area. Of these, seventeen families are represented by only one species, which correspond to about 53% of the total. The families with highest number of species are Fabaceae s. l. (12 species), Solanaceae (six species), Euphorbiaceae (five species), Asteraceae (four species), and Bromeliaceae and Convolvulaceae, both with three species each. The floristic diversity found in this survey is dominated by Angiosperms and only one species, Selaginella convoluta Spreng, belongs to the Pteridophytes group. About 60 species, corresponding to 86%, were indicated for more than one disease and ten species for only one. Amburana cearensis (Allemão) A.C.Sm. was indicated for more than five ethnomedicinal uses. The majority of commercialized plants used as medicinal is represented by native species. The “raizeiros” and vendors of medicinal plants have considerable knowledge about them as well as their uses for a wide diversity of diseases, which were obtained mainly from previous generations.