Tag Archives: ethnomedicine

Wild Edible Plants of Nepal

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Diversity of use and local knowledge of wild edible plant resources in Nepal

Yadav Uprety, Ram C Poudel, Krishna K Shrestha, Sangeeta Rajbhandary, Narandra N Tiwari, Uttam B Shrestha, Hugo Asselin
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2012 Apr 30;8:16
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3448512
Nepal
Nepal (Source: Wikimedia Commons user Shahid Parvez, Based on a file by en:User:Ssolbergj)

Researchers from the Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal, Tribhuvan University, and Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue used focus group discussions and key informant interviews to document 81 species of wild edible plants including Angiosperms (74), Pteridophytes (5), and Fungi (2).

Priority edible plant species included Aegle marmelos, Asparagus racemosus, Buchanania latifolia, Dioscorea deltoidea, Diplazium esculentum, Murraya koenigii, Phyllanthus emblica, Piper longum, Syzygium cumini and Zizyphus mauritiana.

Aegle marmelos
Aegle marmelos (Source: Wikimedia Commons User: J.M.Garg)

Besides their value as food, nearly half (47%) of the species were reported to have additional use(s). Among them, 19 species (24%) were also used as medicine.

Of particular interest, the authors found that “young people who spend most of the time in the forest as herdsmen are particularly knowledgeable of wild fruit plants.”

From the Conclusion:

“We provide empirical evidence from a relatively large area of Nepal about diversity and status of WEP [wild edible plants], as well as methodological insights about the proper knowledge holders to consult. Regarding the unique and important knowledge they have on WEP, young people should be included when recruiting participants to ethnobotanical studies or to any type of consultation about WEP. The habit of using wild edible plants is still alive and is a traditional culinary practice that demonstrates rich traditional knowledge of local people. WEP were found to be important for livelihood as well as showing great potential for crop improvement. Priority species should be promoted for income generation activities through sustainable collection and trade. Communities should engage in minimizing the threats to these valuable resources.”

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.

Ethnomedicinal plants of Garhwal Himalaya

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Ethnomedicinal and ecological status of plants in Garhwal Himalaya, India

Munesh Kumar, Mehraj A Sheikh and Rainer W Bussmann
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Oct 19;7:32
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3212913
Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand, India (Source: CC-by-sa PlaneMad/Wikimedia)

Researchers from HNB Garhwal University and Missouri Botanical Garden interviewed older, experienced men and women of Garhwal Himalaya in the state of Uttarakhand, India, about their use of ethnomedicinal plants and cataloged 57 species across the different climatic regions, including 14 tree species, 10 shrub species, and 33 herb species.

The plants were used to treat various ailments, including diarrhea, dysentery, bronchitis, menstrual disorders, gonorrhea, pulmonary affections, migraines and leprosy.

From the Results and Discussion:

“Ethnobotany is not new to India with over 400 different tribal and other ethnic groups. Ethnobotanical information on medicinal plants and their uses by indigenous cultures is useful not only for the conservation of traditional knowledge and biodiversity, but also to promote community health care, and might serve in drug development. The information can provide a guide for drug development, assuming that a plant that has been used by indigenous people over a long period of time may well have an allopathic application.”

Sida cordifolia
Sida cordifolia (Source: Wikimedia Commons User:J.M.Garg)

Dominant species included Acacia catechu, Quercus leucotrichophora, Adhatoda vasica, Rhus parviflora, Sida cordifolia and Vernonia anthelmintica.

With rapidly growing demand for these medicinal plants, however, most of these plant populations have been depleted. The authors recommend that attention be given to the conservation of medicinal plants in Garhwal Himalaya to ensure their long-term availability to the local inhabitants, and that more data be collected on the use of individual species of ethnomedicinal plants to provide an in-depth assessment of the plants’ availability and to design conservation strategies to protect individual species.

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.

Antimalarial Plants Used in Portuguese-Speaking Countries

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A review of antimalarial plants used in traditional medicine in communities in Portuguese-speaking countries: Brazil, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe and Angola

Jefferson Rocha de A Silva; Aline de S Ramos; Marta Machado; Dominique F de Moura; Zoraima Neto; Marilene M Canto-Cavalheiro; Paula Figueiredo; Virgilio E do Rosário; Ana Claudia F Amaral; Dinora Lopes
Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz
2011 Aug;106 Suppl 1:142-58
PubMed PMID: 21881769
Chromolaena odorata
Chromolaena odorata (Source: Wikimedia Commons user Ashasathees)

Researchers from the Universidade Federal do Amazonas (Brazil), Farmanguinhos (Brazil), Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal) and Instituto Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz (Brazil) compiled an extensive catalog of phytochemical studies of medicinal plants used to treat malaria in traditional medicine from the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Their analysis indicates that seven families (Apocynaceae, Asteraceae, Cucurbitaceae, Fabaceae, Meliaceae, Myristicaceae and Pi-peraceae) have species commonly used in these countries to treat malaria. “The Euphorbiaceae, Rubiaceae and Solanaceae families are represented by botanical species used primarily within African countries. Further, there are reports of other families of plants restricted to some countries: Angola (Annonaceae and Cochlospermaceae), Guinea-Bissau (Combretaceae and Hypencaceae) and Brazil have the most references to species belonging to the seven botanical families.”

A detailed table lists the studied species, tested parts and scientific data from vitro and in vivo research.

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.

Folk Medicine in Bolívar-Colombia

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Folk medicine in the northern coast of Colombia: an overview

Harold Gómez-Estrada, Fredyc Díaz-Castillo, Luís Franco-Ospina, Jairo Mercado-Camargo, Jaime Guzmán-Ledezma, José Domingo Medina & Ricardo Gaitán-Ibarra
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Sep 22;7:27
PubMed Central: PMC3224600
Bolívar-Colombia
Bolívar-Colombia (Source: Wikimedia Commons User:Shadowxfox)

Researchers from the Universidad de Cartagena undertook a three-year study of ethnopharmacology and folk-medicine use among the population of the department of Bolívar on the Atlantic Coast of Colombia.

Based on interviews with more than a thousand participants, the authors identified 39 plant species used in traditional medicine for a variety of diseases, including Crescentia cujete L. (flu), Eucalyptus globulus Labill. (flu and cough), Euphorbia tithymaloides L. (inflammation), Gliricidia_sepium_(Jacq.) Kunth (pruritic ailments), Heliotropium indicum L. (intestinal parasites), Malachra alceifolia Jacq. (inflammation), Matricaria chamomilla L. (colic) Mentha sativa L. (nervousness), Momordica charantia L. (intestinal parasites), Origanum vulgare L. (earache), Plantago major L. (inflammation) and Terminalia catappa L. (inflammation).

From the Background:

“Colombia accounts for approximately 10% of the world’s biodiversity and is home to about 50,000 species of plants, of which only 119 are included in the Colombian Vademecum of Medicinal Plants. The diverse topography of the Colombian territory and the country’s wide range of climates have favored the formation of varied habitats. Despite the country’s natural richness, the status of scientific knowledge on Colombian flora is still incipient in many aspects.”

Tables index the medicinal plants by name and illnesses treated.

While shedding light on the importance of medicinal plants in Bolívar, the study also helps set the stage for new research efforts for drugs based on local uses 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.

Plant Use of the Oromo

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Plant use in Odo-Bulu and Demaro, Bale region, Ethiopia

Rainer W Bussmann, Paul Swartzinsky, Aserat Worede & Paul Evangelista
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Sep 24;7:28
PubMed Central: PMC3196683
Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Oromia Region
Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Oromia Region (Source: Wikimedia Commons User:Golbez)

Researchers from Missouri Botanical Garden, The Murulle Foundation, Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris and Colorado State University report on the plant use of the indigenous Oromo people in Southern Ethiopia.

The authors documented 46 species used for human medicine and 13 species used for veterinary purposes. The medicinal plants served to treat stomach problems and diarrhea, for wound treatment, as toothbrushsticks, as anthelmintics, for skin infections and to treat sore muscles.

From the Introduction:

“Plants have been an integral part of life in many indigenous communities, and Africa is no exception. Apart from providing building materials, fodder, weapons and other commodities, plants are especially important as traditional medicines. Many tribes and cultures in Africa have an elaborated plant knowledge-base. Most of this knowledge is still entirely transferred orally within the family unit or community. Western influences have, however, led to an accelerating decline of
this tradition. For example, Western style healthcare supplied by some governments has been expanded in the last decades, but it is still often not readily available and many regions remain completely underserved. Subsequently, most rural communities still use herbal remedies as readily and cheaply available alternatives. This knowledge is however, rapidly dwindling due to desired changes towards a more Western lifestyle, and the influence of modern tourism and other agents of globalization.”

The authors interviewed 12 respondents (all male, as “access to female informants was not possible”). A comprehensive table lists all plants encountered in the region, including uses and other notes.

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.

Plants Used to Manage HIV/AIDS Opportunistic Infections in Katima Mulilo, Namibia

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Chinsembu KC, Hedimbi M. An ethnobotanical survey of plants used to manage HIV/AIDS opportunistic infections in Katima Mulilo, Caprivi region, Namibia. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2010 Sep 11;6:25.
[PubMed PMID: 20831821; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2944155.]

Noting that Katima Mulilo has the highest burden of HIV/AIDS in Namibia, and that many HIV-infected persons in the region use ethnomedicines to manage AIDS-related opportunistic infections, biologists from the University of Namibia surveyed plant species used by traditional healers to treat AIDS-related opportunistic infections.

They identified 71 plant species from 28 families, mostly the Combretaceae (a family of tropical trees and shrubs, 14%), Anacardiaceae (cashew or sumac family, 8%), Mimosaceae (a family of spiny woody plants, 8%), and Ebanaceae (persimmon or ebony family, 7%), used to treat conditions such as herpes zoster, diarrhea, coughing, malaria, meningitis, and tuberculosis.

The authors note that harmonization of the use of ethnomedicines with HIV/AIDS policy “remains a sensitive and contentious issue… because traditional medicines can easily become a scapegoat for denial and inertia to roll-out ART [antiretroviral therapy] as was the case during President Thabo Mbeki’s South Africa [and that] because in many resource-poor settings in Sub-Saharan Africa, government-sponsored ART programmes discourage the use of traditional medicines, fearing that the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs may be inhibited by traditional medicines … that their interactions could lead to toxicity [or that] reliance on traditional medicines can also lead to a discontinuation of ART therapy.”

“Thus many African governments including Namibia still have contradictory attitudes towards traditional medicines for AIDS, discouraging it within ART programmes, and supporting it within their initiatives of public health and primary health care. Despite this contradictory scenario, indigenous plants and mushrooms have been embraced as potential reservoirs that may contain a large repertoire of novel anti-HIV active compounds.”

The article contains a comprehensive list of plants used to treat HIV/AIDS-related disease conditions, including scientific name, common name, local name, parts used, disease conditions treated, and mode of application. Issues of intellectual property and ecological sustainability are discussed.

Free full text is available via 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.

Hot chilis to cool cancer

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Oyagbemi AA, Saba AB, Azeez OI. Capsaicin: a novel chemopreventive molecule and its underlying molecular mechanisms of action. Indian J Cancer. 2010 Jan-Mar;47(1):53-8 [open access]

Researchers at the University of Ibadan undertook a review of the literature on the plant genus Capsicum (Solanaceae), a principal ingredient of hot red and chili peppers, as a cancer-suppressing agent.

From the conclusion:

“The use of phytochemicals present in fruits and vegetable has gained worldwide acceptance as a novel source of chemopreventive agents against cancer cells. These non-nutrient phytochemicals either block or reverse multistage carcinogenesis. Capsaicin, a pungent ingredient present in chili pepper has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiproliferative and anti-cancer potentials. Capsaicin has chemopreventive effect against a wide of chronic inflammatory diseases, including cancer. Other potential benefits of capsaicin should be explored with the aim of brightening our understanding of the molecular mechanism associated with its anti-cancer activities.”

Chilis!

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.