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Abstract Detail

Plant Secondary Chemistry: from Biochemistry to Applications

Arnason, John Thor [1].

The ethnobotany and phytochemistry of Cree and Maya medicinal plants.

In our collaborative studies with Cree and Maya healers, our common objective was evaluation of the safety and efficacy of traditional medicines in modern scientific terms. To achieve this objective, elucidation of the active secondary metabolites of medicinal plants and their bioactivity was a primary step. Our studies of traditional knowledge of boreal plant species used in James Bay Cree territories has led to the identification of several novel antidiabetic compounds with metformin-like, and rosiglitizone-like activity isolated from Sorbus decora, Sarracenia purpurea and Larix larcina. Several standardized traditional medicines were highly effective in treatment of diabetes in animal models and may be a culturally acceptable method of addressing the growing diabetes problem on reserves. In the Maya ethnobotany in Belize, the frequency of traditional use of epileptic plants was found to be a significant indicator of plants active as GABA-T inhibitors, a known target for drugs treating this condition. As well use of plants for treatment of the culture bound syndrome, “susto”, was found to be a predictor of GABAA receptor binding activity, a known target for anxiety. In animal trials using standard anxiolytic models, Piper amalago extract was significantly active. Plants used for treatment of migraine were very active in reducing inflammation. The most active plant was Neurolaena lobata from which several terpenes were isolated which had more active than the positive control, parthenolide, the active principle of feverfew. These recent findings show the potential mental health benefits of traditionally used Maya plants.

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1 - University of Ottawa, Biology, 30 Marie Curie, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5, Canada

Traditional Medicine

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY01
Location: Hall C/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 11:15 AM
Number: SY01008
Abstract ID:485
Candidate for Awards:None

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