Plants with possible hypolipidemic activity: a review of books published in Brazil between 1998 and 2008.
The aim of this study was to survey medicinal plants indicated for the treatment of hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia and/or atherosclerosis. This study was performed from a review of 32 books published in Brazil between 1998 and 2008, resulting in a list of 85 species belonging to 53 families, especially Asteraceae and Fabaceae, with 54 exotic and 31 native species. The species most often cited were Allium sativum (Alliaceae), Cynara scolymus (Asteraceae), Curcuma longa (Zingiberaceae), Allium cepa (Alliaceae), Echinodorus grandiflorus (Alismataceae), Taraxacum officinale (Asteraceae), Vernonia condensata (Asteraceae), Cuphea carthagenensis (Lythraceae) and Curcuma zedoaria (Zingiberaceae). Native species cited in at least 2 books were investigated for some scientific evidence related to possible hypolipidemic and hypocholesterolemic effects and/or action against atherosclerosis. Scientific studies related to these effects were found only for the native species Cuphea carthagenensis and Echinodorus grandiflorum, indicating the need for studies capable of assuring the safety and the efficacy as to the use of these species.