Tag Archives: ayurveda

Ethnomedicinal Knowledge of the Indigenous People of Malda District, West Bengal

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Indigenous knowledge of plants in local healthcare management practices by tribal people of Malda district, India

Saha MR, Sarker DD, Kar P, Gupta PS, Sen A
J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Oct-Dec;3(4):179-85
PubMed Central PMC4576813

Malda District, West Bengal, India
Malda District, West Bengal, India [Source: GDibyendu, Wikimedia Commons]
Investigators from the University of North Bengal conducted an ethnobotanical study aimed at exploring the indigenous knowledge of native tribes on the utilization of wild plant species for local healthcare management in Malda district of West Bengal.

From the Introduction:

“The region is covered with plentiful natural vegetation, which makes it verdant. River beds, ponds, marshy land etc. are good habitats for the wetland undergrowth. Most of the remote villages are covered by jungles, which consist chiefly of thorny scrub bush and large trees showing wide distribution of flora. The soil of the western region of the district is particularly suited to the growth of mulberry and mango, for which Malda has become famous. Various ethnic communities, including Santala, Rajbanshi, Namasudre, Polia, Oraon, Mundas, Malpaharias etc. are the inhabitants of this region. Of these Santala, Oraon is different from others due to their unique culture and tradition. They are quite popular to treat several types of local ailments of human and veterinary purposes.”

Consulting with traditional healers and practitioners, the team documented 53 medicinal plants frequently used to treat 44 types of ailments.

Andrographis paniculata
Andrographis paniculata [Source: J.M. Garg, Wikimedia Commons]
Predominant among the most important medicinal plants used in the treatment of several diseases are Andrographis paniculata, Amaranthus spinosus, Alstonia scholaris, Cuscuta reflexa, Jatropha gossypiifolia, Caesalpinia crista, Tamarindus indica and Sida rhombifolia.

Azoospermia was the most commonly treated disease, followed by different types of pains, ankle sprain, diabetes, dysentery, inflammation, menstrual disorder, rheumatism, skin disorders and leucorrhea.

This first study of ethnomedicinal knowledge of the ethnic people of Malda district could be a crucial first step toward the conservation of cultural traditions and biodiversity in the region:

“Now-a-days the traditional knowledge is in the way of erosion due to environmental degradation, deforestation, agricultural expansion and population pressure. Traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and their use by indigenous cultures are not only useful for conservation of cultural traditions and biodiversity but also for community healthcare and drug development at present and in the future. Therefore, recording of indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants is an urgent task.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Biomedicines of the Rongmei tribe of Manipur, India

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Indigenous traditional knowledge and usage of folk bio-medicines among Rongmei tribe of Tamenglong district of Manipur, India

Prakash N, Ansari MA, Punitha P, Sharma PK
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2014 Apr 3;11(3):239-47
PubMed Central PMC4202445

Tamenglong District (Manipur, India)
Tamenglong District (Manipur, India) [Source: Abhijitsathe, Wikimedia Commons]
Investigators from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research conducted a field survey to document and preserve ethnomedicinal knowledge of the indigenous Rongmei tribe of the village of Charoi Chagotlong (Tamenglong district, Manipur, India).

Justicia adhatoda/Adhatoda vasica
Justicia adhatoda/Adhatoda vasica [Source: ShineB, Wikimedia Commons]
The team identified 60 species of plants used for medicinal purposes, including Adhatoda vasica, Centella asiatica, Dioscorea bulbifera, Dioscorea pentaphylla, Eryngium foetidum, Euphorbia antiquarum, Ficus retusa, Michelia champaca, Oroxylum indicum, Rhus semialata, Zanthoxylum acanthopodium, and Zingiber officinale.

From the paper’s Discussion section:

“The villagers expressed concern at the possible loss of native plant species and indigenous traditional knowledge about the utility and usefulness of different plant species. They attributed it to strong dis-interest shown by the youths in the acquisition of traditional knowledge from the village elders. This decrease in usage of native species of edible plants is likely to continue in the future as more non native edible plants are made easily available to them in nearby shops. Traditional knowledge of medicinal plants can provide leads for further scientific studies on species and genetic diversification with certain desirable traits that can be used or transferred into the modern biomedicine for prevention and cure of certain chronic diseases. It is important not only to put such traditional knowledge on record and conduct further studies, but also to take steps to conserve the species and genetic diversity of folk biomedicine before they are lost to humans.”

The authors recommend focused efforts to promote the preservation of ethnomedicinal knowledge within the Rongmei community and exploration of their biomedicines for the prevention and cure of various human diseases.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Formulations of Kuch Healers in Bangladesh

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Medicinal formulations of the Kuch tribe of Bangladesh

Rahmatullah M, Haque ME, Mondol MR, Hasan M, Aziz T, Jahan R, Seraj S
J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Jun;20(6):428-40
PubMed PMID: 24738615

Sherpur District of Bangladesh
Sherpur District of Bangladesh [source: Nafsadh, Wikimedia Commons]
Mohammed Rahmatullah and colleagues at the University of Development Alternative conducted an ethnomedicinal study to document medicinal formulations of tribal medicinal practitioners in the Kuch (also known as Koche or Koch) indigenous community of the Sherpur district of Bangladesh.

Interviews conducted with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and guided field-walks resulted in documentation of 49 plants used in various preparations.

Justicia adhatoda
Justicia adhatoda [source: ShineB, Wikimedia Commons]
The team found similarity between use by Kuch healers and Indian traditional medicinal practice for 12 of the species: Justicia adhatoda, Acorus calamus, Costus speciosus, Mimosa pudica, Litsea glutinosa, Stephania glabra, Piper longum, Drynaria quercifolia, S. dulcis, Centella asiatica, Cissus quadrangularis, and Curcuma caesia.

The authors note the precarious existence of the community:

“The Kuch (otherwise known as Koche or Koch) tribe is a small indigenous community whose present territory includes primarily the Sherpur district and also scattered locations of the Rangpur, Dinajpur, Joypurhat, and Naogaon districts in northern Bangladesh. According to an 1872 population census, the tribal population numbered around 1 million and the tribe was then also present in the Pabna, Bogra, and Rajshahi districts of the country. In a population census conducted in 1913, the population was 156,000. The present population is estimated to be around 3000. Thus, there appears to have been a drastic decline in the tribal population in the last 140 years, which the Kuch attribute to frequent warfare and resulting moves to new areas. As result the tribe has had to adapt to their new places of residence, which is not easy because they face hostility from previous residents. Food shortage under these conditions leads to eventual decline in the economic status of the tribe, with consequent malnutrition, diseases, and mortality. In addition, the tribe faces continuous assimilation with the mainstream population….

“The Kuch, although they owned vast tracts of land in the past, are landless at present. They work as agricultural laborers in lands belonging to the mainstream Bengali-speaking population. As a consequence, their economic status is extremely poor. The men work in the fields and women supplement their family income by making various items from bamboo and selling them in the local village markets. Their main diet consists of rice consumed with dried fish and vegetables. Meat is primarily obtained from hunting rabbits, boars, and porcupines from forest areas. Fermented rice wine forms a major part of their diet and religious festivals. A favorite food is khaji or kanthamuri, which consists of steamed dried fish in combination with powdered rice and vegetables.”

The authors conclude that the medicinal plants of the Kuch tribe show potential for further scientific studies, particularly in research for treatments for malaria and, with limitations, diabetes.

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants Used by the Deb Barma Clan of Bangladesh

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A survey of medicinal plants used by the Deb barma clan of the Tripura tribe of Moulvibazar district, Bangladesh

Kabir MH, Hasan N, Rahman MM, Rahman MA, Khan JA, Hoque NT, Bhuiyan MR, Mou SM, Jahan R, Rahmatullah M
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2014 Feb 6;10:19
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3996145

Moulvibazar District, Bangladesh
Moulvibazar District, Bangladesh [source: Nafsadh, Wikimedia Commons]
Mohammad Humayun Kabir and colleagues at the University of Development Alternative conducted a survey of the ethnomedicinal practices of the Deb barma clan of the Tripura tribe, residing in Dolusora Tripura Palli of Bangladesh’s Moulvibazar district.

The survey is part of a larger project to document the medical ethnobotany of Bangladesh:

“Towards building up a comprehensive database of medicinal plants of the country and their traditional uses, we had been interviewing and documenting the traditional medicinal practices of folk and tribal medicinal practitioners for a number of years. The Tripura (also known as Tripuri, Tiprah or Tipperah) tribe is one such indigenous community in Bangladesh, whose various clans can be found in the Chittagong and Sylhet Divisions in the southeast and northeast parts, respectively, of the country. The various clans of the Tripura tribe include Deb barma (also known as Tiprah), Reang or Bru, Jamatia, Koloi, Noatia, Murasing, Halam, Harbang, and Uchoi. We have previously documented the ethnomedicinal practices of the Harbang clan of the Tripura tribal community residing in Chittagong Division of Bangladesh.”

On the basis of interviews of the tribal healer and the tribal community regarding their ethnomedicinal practices, with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and guided field-walks, the team documented 44 medicinal plants used by the tribal healer for treatment of a variety of ailments, including malaria, skin infections, tuberculosis, respiratory disorders, bleeding from external cuts and wounds, chest pain, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, burning sensations during urination, bone fracture, snake bite, toothache, headache, bleeding from gums, paralysis, skin disorders, helminthiasis, chicken pox, diabetes, jaundice, eye disorders and weakness.

Persicaria glabra
Persicaria glabra [source: J. M. Garg, Wikimedia Commons]
Several plants were found to be unique in their use for medicinal purposes by the Deb barma healer, including Physalis micrantha, Persicaria glabra, Smilax macrophylla, Sansevieria hyacinthoides, Garcinia cowa, Pouzolzia zeylanica and Lantana camara, and are proposed for scientific examination for their relevant pharmacological activities.

From the Conclusion:

“…In recent years, the Deb barma clan members may have started to prefer allopathic system more than their traditional medicinal system. If this happens, the ethnomedicinal wisdom of the Deb barma clan may be lost forever, if not documented. Since already the usage of a number of their traditional medicinal plants has been validated through scientific research, it is important that the yet to be studied plants be examined scientifically as to their pharmacological properties and their phytochemical constituents. Such studies can be beneficial to human beings if new and more efficacious medicines can be discovered from these plants.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Properties of Sri Lanka Cinnamon

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Medicinal properties of ‘true’ cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review

Ranasinghe P, Pigera S, Premakumara GA, Galappaththy P, Constantine GR, Katulanda P
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Oct 22;13:275
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3854496

Priyanga Ranasinghe of the University of Colombo (Sri Lanka) and colleagues at the University of Colombo and the Industrial Technology Institute conducted a comprehensive systematic review of the scientific literature to provide a comprehensive summary of the potential medicinal benefits of Sri Lanka cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum (C. verum).

The authors begin by making an important distinction between two main varieties of cinnamon, C. zeylanicum and C. cassia, based on the coumarin content of the two:

Sri Lanka cinnamon (C. verum/C. zeylanicum)
Sri Lanka cinnamon (C. verum/C. zeylanicum) [Source: USDA photo, Wikimedia Commons]

“Cinnamon is a common spice used by different cultures around the world for several centuries. It is obtained from the inner bark of trees from the genus Cinnamomum, a tropical evergreen plant that has two main varieties; [C. zeylanicum] and [C. cassia] (also known as Cinnamomum aromaticum/Chinese cinnamon)…. [C. zeylanicum], also known as Ceylon cinnamon (the source of its Latin name, zeylanicum) or ‘true cinnamon’ is indigenous to Sri Lanka and southern parts of India…. One important difference between [C. cassia] and [C. zeylanicum] is their coumarin (1,2-benzopyrone) content. The levels of coumarins in [C. cassia] appear to be very high and pose health risks if consumed regularly in higher quantities. According to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), 1 kg of [C. cassia] powder contains approximately 2.1-4.4 g of coumarin, which means 1 teaspoon of [C. cassia] powder would contain around 5.8-12.1 mg of coumarin. This is above the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for coumarin of 0.1mg/kg body weight/day recommended by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The BfR in its report specifically states that [C. zeylanicum] contains ‘hardly any’ coumarin. Coumarins are secondary phyto-chemicals with strong anticoagulant, carcinogenic and hepato-toxic properties… The EFSA advocates against the regular, long term use of [C. cassia] as a supplement due to its coumarin content. In addition, according to currently available evidence coumarin does not seem to play a direct role in the observed biological effects of [C. cassia]. Hence, although [C. cassia] has also shown many beneficial medicinal properties, [its] coumarin content is likely to be an obstacle against regular use as a pharmaceutical agent, unlike in the case of [C. zeylanicum].”

Reviewing the literature, the authors found that available in-vitro and in-vivo evidence suggests that C. zeylanicum has anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, anti-oxidant and free radical scavenging properties, and that it lowers blood glucose, serum cholesterol and blood pressure. They caution, however, that because of the paucity of studies in humans, and other limitations of the current evidence, further randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trials will be required to establish therapeutic safety and efficacy of C. zeylanicum as a pharmaceutical agent.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Ethnomedicinal Herbs of Phyllanthus Species

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An overview of important ethnomedicinal herbs of Phyllanthus species: present status and future prospects

Sarin B, Verma N, Martín JP, Mohanty A
ScientificWorldJournal. 2014 Feb 3;2014:839172
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3932249

Bharti Sarin of the University of Delhi and co-authors from the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources and Universidad Politecnica de Madrid present an overview of studies on pharmacognostics, phytochemistry, species identification, and genetic diversity of Phyllanthus herbs.

From the introduction:

“The genus Phyllanthus (Phyllanthaceae) consists of approximately 1000 species, spread over the American, African, Australian, and Asian continents. All three major habits [sic], that is, trees, shrubs, and herbs, are seen amongst the Phyllanthus species. Most of the herbs belonging to genus Phyllanthus have been shown to contain different combinations of secondary metabolites which render them with medicinal properties. The major class of bioactive compounds like alkaloids, flavonoids, lignans, phenols, tannins, and terpenes has been isolated from these herbs.”

Phyllanthus urinaria
Phyllanthus urinaria [Source: Raffi Kojian – http://Gardenology.org, Wikimedia Commons]
The team focused on 12 species: P. ajmerianus, P. amarus, P. debilis, P. fraternus, P. kozhikodianus, P. maderaspatensis, P. rheedii, P. rotundifolius, P. scabrifolius, P. tenellus, P. urinaria, and P. virgatus. Except P. ajmerianus, P. rotundifolius, and P. scabrifolius, the 12 have been scientifically investigated and shown to be of pharmacological value. Many of the herbs form an integral part of the Ayurveda system of medicine:

“The ethnic tribes of India and other Asian countries have used the herbs of Phyllanthus species since ancient times, as traditional home remedies. The decoctions of various parts of the herbs are used for treating hepatic, urinary, and sexually transmitted diseases, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and wounds. Taking cue from the ethnic medications and potential of herbal treatments, the modern society is now eager to resort to green medicines which are without adverse side effects.”

Considering the medicinal properties of the Phyllanthus herbs, the authors recommend that these species should be assessed for pharmacognostics and pharmacological properties, and the assessment of genetic diversity of these species, which will have implications for formulating conservation strategies in the future.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Properties of Gymnema sylvestre

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Phytochemical and pharmacological properties of Gymnema sylvestre: an important medicinal plant

Tiwari P, Mishra BN, Sangwan NS
Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:830285
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3912882

Pragya Tiwari, B. N. Mishra, and Neelam S. Sangwan of the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants and Gautam Buddh Technical University review the phytochemistry and pharmacological activities of the Ayurvedic medicinal herb Gymnema sylvestre and its phytoconstituents.

From the abstract:

Gymnema sylvestre
Gymnema sylvestre [Source: Vinayaraj, Wikimedia Commons]

Gymnema sylvestre (Asclepiadaceae), popularly known as “gurmar” for its distinct property as sugar destroyer, is a reputed herb in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. The phytoconstituents responsible for sweet suppression activity includes triterpene saponins known as gymnemic acids, gymnemasaponins, and a polypeptide, gurmarin. The herb exhibits a broad range of therapeutic effects as an effective natural remedy for diabetes, besides being used for arthritis, diuretic, anemia, osteoporosis, hypercholesterolemia, cardiopathy, asthma, constipation, microbial infections, indigestion, and anti-inflammatory. G. sylvestre has good prospects in the treatment of diabetes as it shows positive effects on blood sugar homeostasis, controls sugar cravings, and promotes regeneration of pancreas. The herbal extract is used in dietary supplements since it reduces body weight, blood cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and holds great prospects in dietary as well as pharmacological applications.”

The team reviews published literature on the medicinal plant’s history; taxonomy; phytochemical profile; biosynthesis and genomics; mechanism of action; pharmacological activities (antidiabetic, antiarthritic, anticaries, antibiotic/antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer/cytotoxic, antihyperlipidemic, immunostimulatory, hepatoprotective, wound healing, ethnobotanical); and bioavailability/toxicity.

Noting the increasingly endangered status of G. sylvestre, the authors recommend alternative methods of cultivation and conservation of this and other medicinal plants with pharmacological importance:

“One major factor that comes into play is that many medicinal plants of commercial importance face threat of extinction due to increase in demand and destruction of their habitats due to urbanization and industrialization. The prime initiative should focus on the cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants with pharmacological importance. Although, the herb has immense prospects in drug development, but it faces threat of extinction due to continuous deforestation and absence of established lines and varieties. The in vitro propagation of plants, in plant tissue culture offers a promising alternative for the production of valuable secondary metabolite. G. sylvestre, being a valuable medicinal plant and source of bioactive substances, needs to be propagated and conserved. In vitro propagation of plants with high bioactive content and cell culture technologies for large-scale production of such secondary metabolites with medicinal significance will be highly prospective and will provide new dimensions to this area of research.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

The Medicinal Plants of India’s Paddar Valley

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Ethno-botanical study of medicinal plants of Paddar Valley of Jammu and Kashmir, India

Gupta SK, Sharma OM, Raina NS, Sehgal S
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med
2013 May 16;10(4):59-65
PubMed Central: PMC3794392
Jammu and Kashmir, India
Jammu and Kashmir, India (Source: Wikimedia Commons user Shivansh.ganjoo)

Researchers from the University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Jammu and the Department of Forests, Government of Jammu and Kashmir undertook an ethnobotanical survey of the Paddar valley, gathering specimens and traditional knowledge regarding prescription and preparation of medicine by using local herbs in various villages.

The authors describe the region and its ethnobotanical significance in their introduction:

“Western Himalayas are considered as a storehouse of herbal wealth supporting the vast network of traditional Indian System of Medicine. There is a wealth of information on the identity and distribution of different plant species of the region in the form of regional floras, reports of botanical expeditions, monographic accounts of families, genera and similar other publications. Ethno-botanical studies on medicinal plants are of paramount importance, particularly in the harsh climates like cold arid regions wherein modern system of medicine is not so developed. Such indigenous system of traditional knowledge conserves cultural and ecological diversity besides community healthcare and drug development. Ethno-botanical studies are also expected to provide new material for the ever-expanding pharmaceutical industry. Paddar Valley is the farthest corner of District Kishtwar, comprising 32 villages on south-eastern side touching its borders with Himachal Pradesh, Zanskar Valley of Ladakh and Marwah-Wadwan Valley. Paddar is known for blue diamond ‘Sapphire’ deposits and other forest products like kala zeera and guchhi. The area is drained by the Chenab river system which, flowing in from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, enters the area through Paddar, the trans-Himalayan trekking trails leading to the Suru and Zanskar valleys of Ladakh pass amidst breathtaking mountain sceneries. …

“The region provides a wide variety of plants (herbs, shrubs and trees) owing to its diversified landscapes. Every year, thousands of people undertake Machail pilgrimage along Bhot nala, a tributary of River Chenab. The local inhabitants largely depended upon the local flora for food and medicine. The information on these plant species is utilised to understand the human-plant relationship, as well as a guide for drug development under the assumption that a plant which has been used by indigenous people over a long period of time may have an allopathic application. Due to the remoteness of the area and dearth of doctors, the ‘hakims’ resorted to different medicinal plants as a treatment to different diseases. The decline in their cultural peculiarities and their traditional knowledge about the local floras are spontaneous and fast due to better facilities of transportation, communication and education.”

Hyssopus officinalis
Hyssopus officinalis (Source: Wikimedia Commons user H. Zell)

The team identified a number of plants used to treat a variety of conditions. The medicinal species included Bunium persicum, Arnebia euchroma, Inula racemosa, Codonopsis rotundifolia, Onosoma hispidia, Rheum australe, Aquilegia fragrans, Aconitum heterophyllum, Ephedra gegardiana, Hyssopus officinalis, Morina longifolia, and Picrrorhiza kurroo. Local use of the plant species, their local names and parts used are detailed in a table.

Noting that many of these species are endangered, the authors recommend conservation, development, and sustainable marketing of these valuable resources:

“Over-exploitation of these species has not only degraded the local vegetation and the disappearing of natural beauty but also endangered certain species, and one has to travel miles to find them. The direct causes such as cutting of forests for commercial and subsistence purposes and indiscriminate grazing, as well as indirect causes such as insecure land tenure, poverty and population growth, were the most vital factors affecting the local flora. Harsh climatic and high altitude conditions and inaccessibility are the factors which force the people to depend on wild flora for healthcare. There is a negligible attitude towards the cultivation of these herbs. Some of these plants are only found to grow in the forest and grassy slopes and very few find place in the people’s home gardens. Therefore, there is a dire need for the protection of this wealth of nature before it disappears from this planet. Moreover, this type of study would be essential for regeneration, conservation and reforestation of this niche area. The altitudinal variation in vegetation was also observed in the zone. The present study disclosed that the growing season was too small starting from April up to September only. The bottlenecks in enhancing the livelihood of the people by using traditional knowledge included inaccessibility of the area, lack of processing and adequate storage after harvest, legal restrictions due to forest legislations, inadequate market and assured prices.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants of the Pahan & Teli Communities of Bangladesh

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Survey and scientific evaluation of medicinal plants used by the Pahan and Teli tribal communities of Natore district, Bangladesh

Mohammed Rahmatullah, Zubaida Khatun, Abid Hasan, Waheda Parvin, Md Moniruzzaman, Asha Khatun, Mostafi Jumrut Mahal, Md Shaiful Alam Bhuiyan, Sadia Moin Mou, and Rownak Jahan
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med
2012 Apr 2;9(3):366-73
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3746669
Natore District, Bangladesh
Natore District, Bangladesh (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Armanaziz adapted by Himalayan Explorer)

Researchers from the University of Development Alternative undertook a study to document traditional usage of medicinal plants by the Pahan and Teli indigenous communities of Natore district in western Bangladesh and to evaluate the medicinal uses against modern research-based pharmacological activity studies on the plants.

From the abstract:

“The Pahans and the Telis are two of the smallest indigenous communities in Bangladesh. The Pahans, numbering about 14,000 people are widely scattered in several northern districts of the country, while the Telis are such a small community that nothing has been reported on their numbers and lifestyle. Both tribes are on the verge of disappearance.”

Withania somnifera
Withania somnifera (Source: Wikimedia Commons User Wowbobwow12)

The team identified 13 plants used by Pahan tribal practitioners for treatment of 14 ailments, and 15 plants used by Teli practitioners for treatment of 17 different. One plant, Withania somnifera, was found to be in common use by Pahan and Teli practitioners alike. The authors recommend extensive scientific research of this plant, along with Moringa oleifera, Vitex negundo, Mucuna pruriens, Curculigo orchioides and Cocculus hirsutus.

The authors note that both Pahan and Teli traditional medicinal practices may have been influenced to some extent by Ayurvedic medicine.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary

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Ecological status and traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary of Garhwal Himalaya, India

Jahangeer A Bhat, Munesh Kumar, Rainer W Bussmann
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2013 Jan 2;9:1
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3560114
Kedarnath Wild Life Sanctuary entrance from Chopta
Kedarnath Wild Life Sanctuary entrance from Chopta (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Flikr user: Dirk Hartung)

Researchers at H.N.B. Garhwal University and Missouri Botanical Garden documented the traditional uses of medicinal plants, their ecological status and importance in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest protected area of Garhwal Himalaya to serve as baseline information on medicinal plants and help strengthen the conservation of this important resource.

Podophyllum hexandrum
Podophyllum hexandrum (Source: Wikimedia Commons User: Pekaje)

The authors report 152 medicinally important plant species in the area, of which 18 species fall into the rare, endangered (critically endangered) and vulnerable status categories: Aconitium hetrophyllum, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Podophyllum hexandrum, Rosa sericea, Roscoea alpina, Salvia hians, Saussurea auriculata, Sorbus aucuparia, Sorbus cuspidata, Synotis alatus, Bistorta amplexicaulis, Coriaria nepalensis, Hypericum choisianum, Morina longifolia, Jurinea dolomiaea, Swertia chirayita, Polygonatum verticillatum and Zanthoxylum armatum.

From the Conclusions:

“Considering the ecological importance and population status of important ethnomedicinal species, we recommend the preparation of micro-plans for each important medicinal species, including data on best harvesting practice and quantity to be harvested. Most of this data is unknown for most medicinal plants. Propagation of plants using tissue culture techniques and conventional methods to allow for their transplantation into natural habitats and niche areas of the species will be an important step towards their conservation. Additional ecological studies, including population assessments using standard ecological methods are needed to effectively plan the conservation and management for threatened, rare and endangered species. The development of agro-production techniques for certain species of Garhwal Himalaya can help to meet the requirement of raw material for commercial use and reduce the pressure on the existing populations in natural habitats.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.