Medicinal Plants of the Tamang People


Medicinal plants used by the Tamang community in the Makawanpur district of central Nepal

Dol Raj Luitel, Maan B Rokaya, Binu Timsina, and Zuzana Münzbergová
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2014 Jan 10;10(1):5
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3904474
Makwanpur District, Nepal
Makwanpur District, Nepal (Wikimedia Commons User Author Hégésippe Cormier)

Researchers from the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (Kathmandu), the Institute of Botany of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Global Change Research Centre AS ČR, and Charles University undertook an ethnobotanical study to validate reported medicinal uses of plants by the indigenous Tamang community dwelling in the Makwanpur district of central Nepal.

The team identified 161 plant species used to treat 89 human ailments were documented. Traditional uses for 60 plant species were consistent with published pharmacological and phytochemical studies. The highest number of plant species was used for gastrointestinal-related diseases followed by cuts and wounds, and fever.

The authors recommend sustainable harvesting practices and cultivation of the medicinal plants, many of which are in danger of depletion:

Asparagus racemosus
Asparagus racemosus (Source: Wikimedia Commons User Neha Vindhya)

“Harvesting of plant species from the wild is a common trend worldwide. Seven of the species used by the Tamang people in Makawanpur are protected, including Acacia catechu, Bombax ceiba, Juglans regia, Shorea robusta, and Taxus wallichiana. None of these plant species was traded outside the study area. However, many of these plant species (e.g., Acacia catechu, Acorus calamus, Asparagus racemosus and Paris polyphylla) possess the potential to boost the economy in the future. The use of plants from the wild in these regions demonstrates that medicinal plants face the long-term danger of depletion, and therefore, their cultivation should be initiated to save this component of biodiversity, and maintain the existing ecosystems. In addition, populations of many medicinal plant species are often reduced by deforestation, habitat encroachment, shifting cultivation, forest fires, grazing, and other anthropogenic activities. Therefore, cultivation techniques for several medicinal plant species are currently being tested at Daman Botanical Garden and Tistung Botanical Garden (e.g., Acorus calamus, Amomum subulatum, Asparagus racemosus, Astible rivularis, Berginia ciliata, Lobelia pyrimidalis, and Mentha piperata) by the Department of Plant Resources under the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Nepal. Knowledge of the cultivation techniques required should be transferred to the local farmers in the study area.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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