Tag Archives: ethnobotany

Traditional Pharmacopoeia of the Monpa

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Ethnobotany of the Monpa ethnic group at Arunachal Pradesh, India

Nima D Namsa, Manabendra Mandal, Sumpam Tangjang & Subhash C Manda
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Oct 14;7:31
PubMed Central: PMC3206407
Arunachal Pradesh, India
Arunachal Pradesh, India (Source: CC-by-sa PlaneMad/Wikimedia)

Researchers from Tezpur University, Indian Institute of Science, Mahatma Gandhi University and Jadavpur University conducted field research with members of the indigenous Kalaktang Monpa community to document “the uses of plants in traditional herbal medicine for human and veterinary ailments, and those used for dietary supplements, religious purpose, local beverage, and plants used to poison fish and wild animals.”

The first author, Nima D Namsa, grew up and belonged to the Monpa community and knows the language and some of the traditional plants used by the local people.

The team documented 50 plants species used for treating human and veterinary ailments, and highlighted several of these species, including the following:

Gymnocladus assamicus is a critically rare and endangered species used as disinfectant for cleaning wounds and parasites like leeches and lice on livestocks…. Some of the edible plants recorded in this study were known for their treatment against high blood pressure ([Clerodendrum] colebrookianum), diabetes mellitus (Momordica charantia), and intestinal parasitic worms like round and tape worms (Lindera neesiana, Solanum etiopicum, and Solanum indicum)…. Three plant species (Derris scandens, Aesculus assamica, and Polygonum hydropiper) were frequently used to poison fish during the month of June-July every year and the underground tuber of [Aconitum ferox] is widely used in arrow poisoning to kill ferocious animals like bear, wild pigs, gaur and deer. The most frequently cited plant species; Buddleja asiatica and Hedyotis scandens were used as common growth supplements during the preparation of fermentation starter cultures.”

Tables detail the ethnobotanical uses of the plants documented in the study area, and compare indigenous plant use with pharmacological properties of reported medicinal plants.

From the conclusion:

“There was no written document of traditional healing knowledge and transmission to the future generation take place only through oral communication. The immediate and serious threat to the local medical practice in the study area seems to have come from the increasing influence of modernization, deforestation due to anthropogenic activities and migration of the younger generations to urban areas leaving a gap in the cultural beliefs and practices of indigenous society. However, there was a potential threat to the medicinal flora of the area as a result of the increasing trend of shifting cultivation (annual clearing of forest) and cultural changes signaling the need for serious efforts to create public awareness so that the appropriate measures are taken to conserve the suitable environments required to protect the medicinal plants in the natural ecosystems. More detailed ethnopharmacological investigations need to be conducted in this area particularly in regard to conservation strategies and sustainable use of medicinal 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.

Ethnobotany of the Dobur Uie

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Ethnobotany of religious and supernatural beliefs of the Mising tribes of Assam with special reference to the ‘Dobur Uie’

Uma Kanta Sharma & Shyamanta Pegu
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Jun 2;7:16
PubMed Central: PMC3135499
The state of Assam, India
The state of Assam, India
(Source: CC-by-sa PlaneMad/Wikimedia)

Researchers from Dhemaji College worked with local participants to collect ethnobotanical data on plants used for medicine by the Mising people of Assam, a richly biodiverse and ethnically diverse region of northeastern India with “a great traditional knowledge base in plant resources”, as noted by the authors:

“There is no specific work done so far on the plants used by the tribal people of Assam in different religious and cultural practices. It is in this background that the present study has been undertaken, which is aimed at the documentation of the plants related with religious and cultural practices in the Dobur Uie ritual of Mising people of Assam and their conservational practices.”

In the Dobur Uie ritual, the Mising people eat medicinal plants along with their daily meal. A number of these plants (n=30) are catalogued in the article, including vernacular names, description, parts used, religious virtue, medicinal use and local status (e.g., “available”, “rare”, “very rare”). The plants are used in the treatment of common ailments like diarrhea, dysentery, indigestion, flatulence, stomach problems and liver problems.

Deforestation and over-exploitation are serious concerns, resulting in rapid depletion of many of these plants from the forest ecosystem.

From the authors’ conclusion:

“…the reducing trend of [religious and wild vegetable] plants in the forest is now becoming a serious concern for the Mising community as their cultural identity is intertwined with these plants. Domestication of religious and wild vegetable plants is a good sign for conservation point of view. Every Mising family grows some wild vegetable plants like Gomphostemma parviflora [Gomphostemma parviflorum?], Clerodendrum colebrookianum, Ficus racemosa, Sarcochlamys pulcherrima etc. in their gardens for consumption and sale. These plants can help overcome the deficiency of nutritional constituents, especially in rural areas. It is important to promote consciousness about the food habits and accept wild food plants like the cultivated ones. Thus they become conscious about conserving their surrounding plant resources…. We suggest that the traditional knowledge of the Mising people could provide useful information in finding new drugs that contribute to human welfare. So the most urgent need is to rescue and record the traditional knowledge on plants in the form of digitized database before its extinction.”

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 Used in Beni-Suef, Upper Egypt

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Survey on medicinal plants and spices used in Beni-Sueif, Upper Egypt

Sameh F AbouZid and Abdelhalim A Mohamed
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Jun 27;7:18
PubMed Central: PMC3141364

 
Researchers from Beni-Suef University interviewed local people to collect ethnobotanical data on plants and spices used for medicine by the community of Beni-Suef, a richly biodiverse area with a wide variety of plant species.

A recent study cited by the authors found that nearly a quarter of Egyptians use medicinal plants as remedies, in roughly equal numbers in urban and rural areas.

The authors identify 48 species of medicinal plants used by local people, including Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (cardiovascular); Trigonella foenum-graecum L. (immunological); Mentha piperita L. (gastrointestinal) and Pimpinella anisum L. (respiratory). A table lists all species, the plant parts used and ailments treated.

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.

Assessment of Anticancer & Antimalarial Properties of Apocynaceae Used in Traditional Medicine

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Wong SK, Lim YY, Abdullah NR, Nordin FJ.
Assessment of antiproliferative and antiplasmodial activities of five selected Apocynaceae species.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Jan 14;11:3.

Read free full text at BioMed Central.

Investigators at Monash University Sunway Campus (Selangor, Malaysia) assessed leaf extracts of five selected species of the Apocynaceae family for antiproliferative and antiplasmodial activities. The plants – which are used by traditional medicine practitioners to treat gastrointestinal ailments, fever, malaria, pain and diabetes, among other conditions – included Alstonia angustiloba (Pulai tree), Calotropis gigantea (Calotropis gigantea), Dyera costulata (jelutong), Kopsia fruticosa (shrub vinca, pink kopsia, kopsia merah, pink gardenia) and Vallaris glabra (bread flower).

The authors found that leaf extracts of C. gigantea and V. glabra inhibited the growth of all six cancer cell lines studied, showing “great promise as potential candidates for anticancer drugs.” In addition, V. glabra displayed effective activity against Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly of the Plasmodium species that cause malaria in humans.

Read free full text at BioMed 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.

Evaluation of antibacterial & anticancer activities of South African medicinal plants

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Bisi-Johnson MA, Obi CL, Hattori T, et al.
Evaluation of the antibacterial and anticancer activities of some South African medicinal plants.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Feb 17;11:14.

Free full text via BioMed Central.

Investigators from Walter Sisulu University, South Africa, evaluated antibacterial and anticancer activity of six medicinal plants used in the treatment of diarrhea stomach disorders: Eucomis autumnalis (autumn pineapple flower, autumn pineapple lily), Cyathula uncinulata (bohome, burweed, globe cyathula, klits, maime, rondeklits, tchimate, wolbossie), Hypoxis latifolia (broad-leaved hypoxis, igudu, ilabatheka, ilabetheka, ingcobo, inkomfe, yellow star), Lantana camara (Spanish flag, West Indian lantana, LAVA), Aloe arborescens (Krantz aloe, candelabra aloe) and Aloe striatula (hardy aloe, coral aloe).

The results indicated that E. autumnalis had a profound cytotoxic effect, and the investigators called for caution in its use. However, they found that the antibacterial activities and non-cytotoxic effects of A. arborescens and A. striatula validates their continuous usage in ethnomedicine.

Free full text via BioMed 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.

Anti-Diarrheal Mechanism of the Traditional Remedy Uzara

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Schulzke JD, Andres S, Amasheh M, et al.
Anti-diarrheal mechanism of the traditional remedy Uzara via reduction of active chloride secretion.
PLoS One. 2011 Mar 30;6(3):e18107.
Free full text via PubMed Central.

Investigators from Charité, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and Ulm University studied the effects on the human colon of the traditional remedy Uzara, a traditional African medicine that has been used to treat diarrhea in Europe for a century.

From the Introduction:

“Uzara originates from the root of the South African plant Xysmalobium undulatum (family Asclepiadaceae) which is also known as wild cotton, milk bush or bitterhout…. X. undulatum has been used internally and externally, as decoction or as root powder, in traditional African medicine. Treated symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, afterbirth cramps, and headache, but also wounds and abscesses. In Germany, Uzara was introduced into the pharmaceutical market in 1911.”

The authors found that Uzara “exerts its antidiarrheal effects through [previously reported] inhibition of intestinal motility and also through effects on the intestinal epithelium via inhibition of active secretion.” They concluded that the data infer that Uzara is “suitable for treating secretory diarrhea caused e.g. by bacterial toxins as well as motility-related diarrhea, but may not be effective against chronic malabsorptive diarrhea” with possible exceptions yet to be studied.

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 Sabaots of Mt. Elgon, Kenya

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Okello SV, Nyunja RO, Netondo GW, Onyango JC.
Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by Sabaots of Mt. Elgon Kenya.
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2009 Oct 15;7(1):1-10
Free full text via PubMed Central

Researchers from Maseno University conducted an ethnobotanical study of medicinal plant species used to manage human ailments by the Sabaot people in Kopsiro Division, Mt. Elgon District, Kenya. The study documented 107 plants reported to be of medicinal value in a forest region that is in danger of being completely destroyed.

From the conclusion:

“Traditional medicine in Kopsiro division offers cheap, accessible and convenient remedy that suits the traditional lifestyle of the local community in comparison to the conventional medicine. Most medicinal plant species reported in this study were found to be under threat and this calls for urgent conservation measures so as to maximize the sustainable use of these vital resources in the study area.”

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 Kavirajes of Chalna area, Khulna district, Bangladesh

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Rahmatullah M, Ferdausi D, Mollik AH et al.
A survey of medicinal plants used by Kavirajes of Chalna area, Khulna district, Bangladesh.
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2009 Dec 30;7(2):91-7.

Free full text via PubMed Central

Researchers at the University of Development (Bangladesh) and New York City College of Technology conducted an ethnomedicinal survey of traditional healers (Kavirajes) of the Khulna District in southern Bangladesh. The team obtained information on 50 plant species used for a variety of conditions including skin diseases, intestinal tract disorders, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, animal and snake bites, diabetes, leprosy, and sexually transmitted diseases, impotence, heart disorders and helminthiasis.

Noting that many of the medicinal plants are gathered in the Sunderbans mangrove forest, which is under great threat by deforestation, the authors urge that modern scientific studies of these plants be conducted as soon as possible, to make possible discoveries of novel pharmacologically active compounds and also to provide incentive for preservation of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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.

Ethnobotanical study of indigenous knowledge on medicinal plant use by traditional healers in Oshikoto region, Namibia

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Cheikhyoussef A, Shapi M, Matengu K, Ashekele HM.
Ethnobotanical study of indigenous knowledge on medicinal plant use by traditional healers in Oshikoto region, Namibia.
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2011 Mar 9;7:10.
PubMed PMID: 21388534.

Investigators from the University of Namibia did an ethnobotanical survey in 2008 to collect information from traditional healers in the Oshikoto region. A total of 47 respondents were interviewed with most of them aged 66 and above.

They found that traditional healers in Oshikoto region possess rich ethno-pharmacological knowledge on the use of medicinal plant species for the treatment of various diseases and disorders, with the highest number of species being used for mental diseases followed by skin infection and external injuries. This study allows for identifying many high value medicinal plant species, indicating high potential for economic development through sustainable collection.

Free full text is available via 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 in Oyam district, Northern Uganda

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Kamatenesi MM, Acipa A, Oryem-Origa H. Medicinal plants of Otwal and Ngai Sub Counties in Oyam district, Northern Uganda. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2011 Jan 17;7:7. PubMed PMID: 21241484; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3029220.
[Free full text via PubMed.]

Investigators at Makerere University undertook an ethnobotanical study in four parishes in Oyam district, Northern Uganda, where insurgency has been prevalent for the past 20 years.

They report 71 plant species used in the treatment of various diseases, with Asteraceae being the most represented.

From the Conclusion:

“The use of medicinal plant species in primary health care is still a common practice in Ngai and Otwal Sub-County. The inadequate health services and abject poverty still make these people dependent on herbal medicine for their day to day health needs. The generation gap caused by the over 20 years of insurgency in the area has brought about knowledge gap between the young and the old with regard to medicinal plant species.”

Importantly, the authors include recommendations:

  • There is need for ex-situ conservation of the useful medicinal plant species.
  • There is need for community awareness and education concerning the values of medicinal plant species of the area especially among the young people.
  • Further studies should be done on the medicinal plant species to determine their pharmacological potentials.
  • Government should develop policy to integrate use of medicinal plant species in health care at national level.

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.