Tag Archives: malaria

Medicinal Plants of Yalo, a Woreda in Ethiopia’s Afar Regional State


An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal and edible plants of Yalo Woreda in Afar regional state, Ethiopia

Teklehaymanot T
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2017 Jul 5;13(1):40
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5499056

Afar Regional State, Ethiopia
Afar Regional State, Ethiopia [Source: TUBS, Wikimedia Commons]
Tilahun Teklehaymanot of the Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University, conducted an ethnobotanical survey to document medicinal and edible plants used in Yalo, a woreda in Ethiopia’s Afar Regional State.

Writing in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, Professor Teklehaymanot describes the vulnerability of traditional knowledge in Afar:

“The people in the Afar region have the lowest health and education coverage in the country with the highest food insecurity. They are a traditional society that has native and unique information exchange system by word of mouth called ‘Dagu,’ which their livelihood is very much dependent on the information transferred through Dagu system. The information ranges from weather to availability of grazing lands for their animals, and peace and security of the region. Nevertheless, the cultural transformation, expansion of modern education and development in the area could detach the younger generation from such cultural values and pastoral systems that lead to loss of traditional knowledge in general, and knowledge of medicinal and edible plants in particular.”

Acalypha fruticosa
Acalypha fruticosa [Photo: J.M.Garg, Wikimedia Commons]
Working with 160 informants selected with the assistance of elders, the author documented 102 medicinal plant species used to treat human as well as livestock diseases. Particularly important plants (species reported by 15 and more informants and used as a remedy for multiple diseases) included Acacia mellifera, Acacia oerfota, Acalypha fruticosa, Acalypha indica, Balanites aegyptiaca, Balanites rotundifolia, Cadaba farinosa, Cadaba glandulosa, Cadaba rotundifolia, Celosia polystachia, and Indigofera oblongifolia.

The plants were used as remedies for a variety of conditions such as breast cancer, dyspepsia, epilepsy, herpes zoster, jaundice, lung infection, malaria, stomachache, bloody dysentery, and fever.

In his conclusion, the author recommends conservation to ensure sustainable use of the plants and protect the associated traditional knowledge.

“The edible plants are used as food security and generate the pastoralist economic. All the plants with medicinal and economic importance are collected from the wide and conservation is not practiced in the area. Hence, conservation of the plants in the home garden and in the natural vegetation is a necessity against the recurrent drought and climatic changes that negatively affect the vegetation of the area, to protect the associated traditional knowledge from fast disappearing and ensure sustainable use of the plants in the traditional healthcare system. The integration of edible plants in the food sufficiency strategies in the area has to be considered since animal productivity is severely affected by encroaching invasive plants and recurrent drought. The holistic soil and water conservation policy that is being implemented in other parts of the country has to be employed in the region to save the natural vegetation that is also the repository for the medicinal and edible plants for future pharmacological and nutritional studies.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

Send email to avery@williamaveryhudson.com for information about submitting qualified published research for sponsored posts on this blog.

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.

Review of Traditional Medicinal Plants Used to Treat Malaria in Ethiopia


Systematic review on traditional medicinal plants used for the treatment of malaria in Ethiopia: trends and perspectives

Alebie G, Urga B, Worku A
Malar J. 2017 Aug 1;16(1):307
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5540187

Investigators at Jigjiga University conducted a systematic web search analysis and review of research literature pertaining to medicinal plants used for traditional malaria treatment in Ethiopia.

Writing in Malaria Journal, the authors note that antimalarial ethnomedicinal research in Ethiopia remains limited:

“Despite the remarkable historic success of traditional medicinal practices and abundance of indigenous medicinal plant resources, anti-malarial ethno-pharmacological research in Ethiopia remains at primitive stage, with scope limited to evaluating crude extracts from various anti-malarial plants against Plasmodium berghei. A prominent gap is evident with regard to research geared towards identifying plant bioactive entities, and establishing the efficacy and safety of medical plants through in vitro assays using human Plasmodium parasites, in vivo assay involving higher animal models and randomized clinical trials. Absence of favourable medicinal plant research and development impedes optimum exploitation of potential economic benefits. Thus, despite holding one of the richest (diversity and quantity) resources in the continent, large-scale production and export of medicinal plants has remained limited in Ethiopia. Prevailing scenarios underscore a pressing need for enhancing pre-clinical and clinical research aimed at developing safe, effective and affordable alternative anti-malarial agents from indigenous plant resources. This requires collaborative engagement involving government bodies, researchers, traditional healers, and prospective business investors.”

Tamarindus indica
Tamarindus indica [Photo: WAH]
Collecting data from 82 studies identifying a total 200 different plant species used in traditional malaria treatments throughout Ethiopia, the team highlighted a rich diversity of indigenous medicinal plants commonly used for traditional treatment of malaria in Ethiopia. The most frequently cited species included Allium sativum, Carica papaya, Vernonia amygdalina, Croton macrostachyus, Lepidium sativum, Justicia schimperiana, Phytolacca dodecandra, Dodonaea angustifolia, Melia azedarach, Clerodendrum myricoides, Aloe sp., Azadirachta indica, Brucea antidysenteric, Calpurnia aurea, Eucalyptus globulus, Ajuga integrifolia, Carissa spinarum, Artemisia afra, Moringa stenopetala, Ruta chalepensis, Salvadora persica, and Tamarindus indica.

Decoction, concoction, eating/chewing, infusion, and pounding represented the most common methods of preparation. Some of the medicinal products were prepared from mixtures of two or more different plant species and various other additives were also used in some of the treatments:

“Additives were mostly used to moderate the power and/or improve the taste and enhance the efficacy and healing conditions of the remedy. This could possibly be attributed to synergistic effects of the mixtures that might contain a range of pharmacologically active compounds potentially augmenting the chance of the drug interacting with numerous, varied biological targets. Their interaction might influence selectivity, availability, absorption and displacement (distribution) of the remedy, and bioactivity, including enzyme activities. Thus, such traditional practices could provide the opportunity to understand drug interaction and mechanisms of actions, and pave the way to discovering lead structures for the development of novel anti-malarial drugs.”

Many of the species identified in the study have previously demonstrated promising antimalarial potential in preclinical and clinical investigations, among them Artemisia annua, Ajuga remota, Azadirachta indica, Argemone mexicana, Vernonia amygdalina, Asparagus africanus, Uvaria leptocladon, and Gossypium spp. In addition, promising candidate antimalarial compounds have been identified from some of the plants.

In their conclusion, the authors recommend coordinated multidisciplinary research to further develop the therapeutic potential of anti-malarial compounds from plant species used for the treatment of malaria in Ethiopia:

“Ethno-medicinal research on distribution and usage pattern of anti-malarial plants shows substantial variability across a spectrum of geographic and social strata in the country. Baseline information gaps are evident in key geographic settings, such as the Beshangul Gumuz and Gambella regions. Divergent preparation and use patterns of anti-malarial herbal remedies, as well as associated toxicity risks and countermeasures, generally demand deeper, exhaustive investigations. Experimental research and advanced chemical analysis are required to identify and validate the therapeutic potential of anti-malarial chemical compounds from promising plant species, with due consideration to efficacy and safety issues. Sustainable development and exploitation of indigenous medicinal plant resources entails coordinated multidisciplinary research programmes that give due credit to traditional practitioners and engage with commercial investors.”

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 by Traditional Medical Practitioners in Dega Damot District, Amhara, Ethiopia


Ethnopharmacologic survey of medicinal plants used to treat human diseases by traditional medical practitioners in Dega Damot district, Amhara, Northwestern Ethiopia

Wubetu M, Abula T, Dejenu G
BMC Res Notes. 2017 Apr 18;10(1):157
PubMed Central: PMC5395840

Amhara Region of Ethiopia
Amhara Region of Ethiopia [Source: TUBS, Wikimedia Commons]
Investigators at Debre Markos University and Addis Ababa University conducted an ethnopharmacologic survey of medicinal plants used to treat human diseases by traditional medical practitioners in Dega Damot district, in the Amhara region of northwestern Ethiopia.

Writing in BMC Research Notes, the authors note that although about 90% of the population in the district relies on traditional health products for primary health care, no studies have previously been conducted on the use and practice of traditional medicine in the region.

Allium sativum
Allium sativum [Source: William Woodville: “Medical botany” (London: James Phillips, 1793), Wikimedia Commons]
Working with 45 traditional medical practitioners chosen with the help of community leaders and local authorities, the team documented 60 species of medicinal plants used for the treatment of 55 disorders including evil eye, malaria, wounds, peptic ulcers, and rabies. Important medicinal plant species included Allium sativum (for evil eye), Phytolacca dodecandra (for rabies), and Croton macrostachyus (for malaria).

The authors note that drought, overgrazing, and firewood collection are among the threats to sustainability of medicinal plants in the area:

“According to the results of this study, drought is the most serious threat to medicinal plants followed by overgrazing. This is in conformity with the survey conducted in Gemad district and Kilte Awulalo, but according to a study done in Loma and Gena Bosa, agricultural expansion was the major threat followed by timber and other demands. This is probably due to the increasing number of population. However, study done in Hawasa city indicated urbanization as the most serious threat for 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.

In Kenya, Two More Plant Species Reported As Potential Antimalarials


Medicinal plants used for management of malaria among the Luhya community of Kakamega East sub-County, Kenya

Mukungu N, Abuga K, Okalebo F, Ingwela R, Mwangi J
J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Dec 24;194:98-107
PubMed Central: PMC5176009

Kakamega County in Kenya
Kakamega County in Kenya [Source: NordNordWest, Wikimedia Commons]
Researchers from the University of Nairobi conducted an ethnobotanical survey to document plants used in the management of malaria among Luhya people living in Kakamega County, Kenya. Two of the species, Rumex steudelii and Phyllanthus sepialis, have not previously been reported as malaria remedies.

In a paper published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the authors describe the need for investigation of antimalarial botanical medicines used by the people of this region:

“In Kenya, 80% of the population is at risk of contracting [malaria]. Pregnant mothers and children under five years are the most affected by this disease. Antimalarial drug resistance poses a major threat in the fight against malaria necessitating continuous search for new antimalarial drugs. Due to inadequate and inaccessible health facilities, majority of people living in rural communities heavily depend on traditional medicine which involves the use of medicinal plants for the management of malaria. Most of these indigenous knowledge is undocumented and risks being lost yet such information could be useful in the search of new antimalarial agents.”

Rotheca myricoides
Rotheca myricoides [Photo: Kurt Stüber, Wikimedia Commons]
Working with traditional medicine practitioners and other caregivers, the team documented 42 plant species used in the management of malaria, including Melia azedarach, Aloe spp, Ajuga integrifolia, Vernonia amygdalina, Rotheca myricoides, Fuerstia africana, Zanthoxylum gilletii, Leucas calostachys, Clerodendrum johnstonii, and Physalis peruviana.

Two of the species identified by the team have not previously been reported as treatments for malaria: Rumex steudelii and Phyllanthus sepialis. With two exceptions (Clerodendrum johnstonii and Physalis peruviana), the rest have been tested in the laboratory for antiplasmodial activities. Antiplasmodial compounds have been isolated from fewer than half of the plants so far.

The authors conclude with a call for conservation, both of traditional ethnomedicinal knowledge and of the medicinal plants themselves. They note that botanical medicines used for malaria are mainly obtained from the wild and that those which are cultivated are done so because they are not easily available in the wild (e.g., introduced plants) or face extinction (e.g., Ajuga integrifolia).

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.




Antimalarial Plants of Eastern Uttar Pradesh


Ethnobotanical perspective of antimalarial plants: traditional knowledge based study

Qayum A, Arya R, Lynn AM
BMC Res Notes. 2016 Feb 4;9:67
PubMed Central: PMC4743172

Uttar Pradesh in India
Uttar Pradesh in India [Source: Wikimedia Commons, By Filpro]
Investigators from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy conducted an ethnobotanical study to find plants with antimalarial activities used by local people in the Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, and Maharajganj districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

The team documented 51 plants used for the treatment of malaria, including Adhatoda vasica, Cassia fistula, and Swertia chirata.

Justicia adhatoda (Adhatoda vasica)
Justicia adhatoda (Adhatoda vasica) [Photo: Wikimedia Commons, By ShineB]
The authors note that many important medicinal plants in the area are becoming rare and some of them are critically endangered because of overexploitation, loss of water reservoirs, and changes in land use.

From the conclusion:

“The work carried out revealed the plants recorded are highly valuable for antimalarial application and in future, bio-prospecting projects can be further initiated for sustainable harvesting towards developing antimalarial drug for curing malaria at large. It would help researchers to find out suitable lead molecules with antimalarial activity towards drug discovery. The study provides ample ground to believe that the traditional medicinal system practice using native medicinal plants is alive and well functioning in the selected area. Many communities use antimalarial plant parts and whole plant for their primary healthcare. It is primarily due to lack of modern medicines, medications, self-reliance on herbs, poor economic condition and more importantly faiths in TK System. The treatment of malaria with plants and plant parts causes little or no side effects and also it is very cheap and affordable. Some plants are nearly extinct in the region, the reason being change in land use pattern and shrinking of water bodies along with over harvesting of herbs. The bio-depletion of these antimalarial plants is due to the burgeoning population and unscientific management of the natural resources.”

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 Around Mabira Central Forest Reserve, Uganda


Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plant species used by communities around Mabira Central Forest Reserve, Uganda

Tugume P, Kakudidi EK, Buyinza M, Namaalwa J, Kamatenesi M, Mucunguzi P, Kalema J.
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2016 Jan 13;12:5
PubMed Central: PMC4712608

Investigators from Makerere University conducted an ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants in 14 villages adjacent to Mabira Central Forest Reserve in Central Uganda, an area about 20 km north of Lake Victoria shoreline immediately to the west of Victoria Nile.

More about the study area:

“The forest reserve occupies gently undulating landscape characterised by numerous flat-topped hills (relics of the ancient African peneplain), and wide shallow valleys…

“Commercial use of the forest began when some parts were harvested in the early 1900’s and until 1988, intensive coffee/banana agricultural encroachment badly damaged parts of the forest. About 21% and 26% of the reserve have been designated as strict nature reserve and buffer zone respectively and the forest in these areas is recovering following extensive plantings of native tree species.

“The human population living in the forest enclaves was approximately 825,000 with a density of 200–230 people per Km-2. The local people are mainly of the Bantu ethnic group of the following tribes; Baganda, Banyarwanda, Basoga, Bagisu, Bakiga, Banyankole, Bagwere and Batoro.

“The reserve has tea and sugarcane plantations around. Some local people reside in settlements for labourers on the tea and sugarcane estates. The extent of growing cash crops other than tea and sugar cane is limited by scarcity of land. However locals are engaged in cultivation of food crops mainly for subsistence consumption like maize, beans, bananas, ground nuts, sweet potatoes and vegetables. Livestock rearing is limited to a few households.”

The team documented 190 plant species used in the treatment of various health conditions. The ten most important medicinal plant species were Vernonia amygdalina, Mormodica feotida, Warbugia ugandensis, Prunus africana, Piptadeniastrum africana, Erythrina abyssinica, Albizia corriaria, Spathodea campanulata, Mondia whitei, and Alstonia boonei.

Vernonia amygdalina
Vernonia amygdalina [Photo: By Kwameghana (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
Vernonia amygdalina was found to be an especially important species, with a fidelity level of 100% and ranking highest in the treatment of malaria:

“Its leaf extract has been confirmed for having good anti-malarial effects and through in vitro studies. Vernonia amygdalina contains steroid glycosides, sesquiterpene and lactones which are active against Plasmodium falciparum. This species has also been found to be clinically effective for the treatment of malaria patients. In human trials, extracts of Vernonia amygdalina reduced parastaemia by 32%. Although Vernonia amygdalina is effective for malaria treatment, it can induce labour in pregnant women thus causing miscarriages and therefore should be avoided by them. Species with high fidelity level such as Vernonia amygdalina for malaria and Erythrina abyssinica for vomiting indicates that these species two were considered of great cultural significance. Erythrina abyssinica too has a wide range of use varying from treatment of malaria, syphilis, tuberculosis to amoebiasis in Uganda. In Kenya E. abyssinica is used to treat mumps, respiratory tract infections in Mexico and febrile illness in Ethiopia. Its usage for different ailments is possibly due to a wide range of bioactive compounds.”

In their conclusion, the authors found that “the diversity of medicinal plant species used and the associated indigenous knowledge are of great value to the local community and their conservation and preservation is paramount.”

“The study shows that [Mabira Central Forest Reserve] habours a wide diversity of plant species used as remedies for several ailments. Such plants are very useful especially to people who cannot afford modern medical care and in cases where access to modern heath facilities is not easy. Knowledge and use of herbal medicine for treatment of various ailments among the local people is still part of their life and culture and this calls for preservation of the integrity of the forest and indigenous knowledge of herbal medicine use. The documented plants have potential of being used in drug development.”

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 Eastern Madagascar


Medicinal plants used to treat the most frequent diseases encountered in Ambalabe rural community, Eastern Madagascar

Rakotoarivelo NH, Rakotoarivony F, Ramarosandratana AV et al.
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2015 Sep 15;11:68
PubMed Central: PMC4570514

Investigators from the Missouri Botanical Garden, University of Antananarivo, and Washington University in St. Louis inventoried medicinal plants used to treat diseases frequently occurring among residents of Ambalabe in eastern Madagascar.

Working with residents of Vatomandry District (which includes the rural community of Ambalabe and Vohibe Forest [a protected area established in 2008]), the team identified diarrhea, malaria, stomach-ache, cough, bilharzia (schistosomiasis), and dysentery as the most frequently occurring diseases and 83 medicinal plant species used to treat those diseases.

Litchi chinensis
Litchi chinensis [Photo: B.navez, WikiMedia Commons]
Plant species commonly used to treat the diseases included Mollugo nudicaulis, Litchi chinensis, Kalanchoe prolifera, and Paederia thouarsiana. Less than half of the medicinal plants were collected in Vohibe Forest, the rest were cultivated or collected around the villages, in house yards, and in crop fields.

In their conclusion, the authors note that while the local population retains important knowledge about medicinal plants, many of those species might be threatened:

“[T]his paper provides new information on medicinal plants used by the local population in Ambalabe community to fight against frequent diseases. Some species seemed new to sciences or sometimes have new uses never recorded. Further pharmacological studies will be needed to better understand the importance of traditional medicine. Besides, because 83 species were used to treat six most frequent diseases, their conservation should be considered as important to ensure sustainable future use, especially due to the fact that most of them were collected in the surroundings of the villages and in non-protected areas. Sustainable management techniques should be considered, especially for Malagasy endangered species.”

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 by Traditional Healers in Zimbabwe for the Treatment of Malaria


Medicinal plants used by traditional healers for the treatment of malaria in the Chipinge district in Zimbabwe

Ngarivhume T, Van’t Klooster CI, de Jong JT, Van der Westhuizen JH
J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Jan 15;159:224-37
PubMed PMID 25449454

Researchers at Walter Sisulu University, University of Amsterdam and University of the Free State conducted an explorative ethnobotanical survey of the Chipinge district in Zimbabwe to document how malaria is conceptualized and diagnosed by traditional healers from the Ndau people, and to record the medicinal plants used in the prevention and treatment of malaria, their mode of preparation and administration.

Cassia abbreviata
Cassia abbreviata [Source: Jeppestown, Wikimedia Commons]
Based on interviews with 14 traditional healers from four villages (selected with the assistance of the headman of the Muzite area and a representative of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association), the team identified 28 plants used by the healers to manage malaria. Cassia abbreviata was the species cited most often, followed by Aristolochia albida and Toddalia asiatica.

The traditional healers, while aware of the pitfalls of appropriation, chose to work with the investigators:

“The healers were aware of the possibility of unfair bioprospecting practices from institutions such as pharmaceutical companies and were concerned about legal protection of their intellectual property and a possible lack of proper compensation, similar to the findings described by Uprety et al. (2012) amongst the aborigines of Canada. We were thus surprised by the absence of significant resistance from the healers to supply us with traditional knowledge and plant material. We attribute this to the involvement of the local headman and ZINATHA and the prior informed-consent forms that explained the objectives, benefits, risks and general procedures of the survey in Shona before the start of the project.”

In their conclusion, the authors suggest priorities for further research and development:

“The data gathered in this survey could assist in identifying plant species and extraction methods to develop herbal drugs against malaria in Zimbabwe. The most widely used plants for the treatment of malaria reported in this study such as Cassia abbreviata and Aristolochia albida should be prioritized for further research. In vitro screening programmes, based on this and other ethnobotanical study results, could be important in validating the traditional use of herbal remedies and for providing leads in the search for new active principles…. Scientific validation of herbal medicine may eventually lead to more widespread use of traditional medicines in cheaper health care systems, as in India and China, provided that thorough toxicological investigations, clinical studies and randomized controlled trials are carried out. African traditional knowledge and medicine thus have the potential to play a large role in primary healthcare, particularly in poor and isolated rural areas. This underscores the value of traditional knowledge and the need to collect and preserve traditional health practices.”

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 of the Ehotile People, Côte d’Ivoire


Medicinal plants and traditional healing practices in ehotile people, around the aby lagoon (eastern littoral of Côte d’Ivoire)

Malan DF, Neuba DF, Kouakou KL
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2015 Mar 14;11(1):21
PubMed Central PMC4391329

Aby Lagoon, Côte d’Ivoire
Aby Lagoon, Côte d’Ivoire [Source: J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2015; 11: 21]
Researchers from Université Nangui Abrogoua and Institut Botanique Aké-Assi d’Andokoi surveyed the ethnomedicinal knowledge of the Ehotile people, one of the smallest and oldest ethnic groups around the Aby Lagoon of Côte d’Ivoire.

The authors note that “the land occupied by Ehotile is one of the most degraded of the Ivorian Coast. Scarce natural vegetation that has withstood the plantations of coconut, oil palm or rubber is composed of the marshy patches and the islands of the Ehotile Islands National Park.”

The team documented 123 species employed by the Ehotile in the treatment of 57 diseases, including malaria, sexual asthenia, troubles linked to pregnancy, dysmenorrhea and hemorrhoids.

Ocimum gratissimum
Ocimum gratissimum [Source: Forest & Kim Starr, Wikimedia Commons]
Among the most salient medicinal species used were Harungana madagascariensis, Alstonia boonei, Ocimum gratissimum and Xylopia acutiflora. Exploitation for medicinal purposes of Harungana madagascariensis and certain other plant species has led to their scarcity or their disappearance.

From the conclusion:

“Despite the virtual disappearance of natural formations in Ehotile land, medicinal plants are important in the Ehotile health system. Medicinal plants are known and used alone or in addition to medical prescriptions to treat several ailments. However, some of them are becoming rare, and it is feared that this scarcity will result in the inevitable loss of associated knowledge and practices.”

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


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.