Plants known as „Node-to-dog“ (Heteropterys aphrodisiaca O. Mach. (Malpighiaceae) and its medicinal use in southwestern Mato Grosso, Brazil
There are several species of medicinal plants known as „Node-to-dog“. The most used is the Heteropterys aphrodisiaca O. Mach. (Malpighiaceae). We conducted field and laboratory studies and also review on popular usage, occurrence and bioactivity of H. aphrodisiaca in southwestern Mato Grosso (MT-sw), Brazil from 2003–2009. The plant occurs in savannah and field areas. It is widely used as an aphrodisiac by local communities. Its beautiful flowers are ornamental, yellow, often visited by wild bees. The plant has long, expanded and nodulated roots, hence the name of „node-to-dog“. It spreads easily by seeds, adapts well in adverse environments and resists fires, regenerating after. Experiments on more appropriate systems of cultivation, developed in Cáceres (MT-sw), revealed that the species adapts equally well in mono and polyculture. The root of the adult plant is used in folk medicine to treat nervous disorders, sexual problems, high cholesterol, and is physical invigorating. The root is macerated in wine for consumption as an appetizer. There are substances in the H. aphrodisiaca promising to treat fatigue, memory loss and Alzheimer's disease. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence, in root extracts, of polyphenols, tannins, alkaloids; cardiotonic, aromatic and flavonoid glycosides; and of saponins. In MT-sw it is a commonly used medicinal plant and the roots are sold in boxes.
Acknowledgement: Fapemat – financial support, and for UNEMAT – institutional support; to the collaborators colleagues from the research group FLOBIO – (Plants carrying Bioactive substances)