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Medicinal plants used by folk medicinal practitioners in three randomly surveyed villages of Rajbari district, Bangladesh

Afroz, R., Islam, N., Biswas, K.R., Ishika, T., Rahman, M., Swarna, A., Khan, T., Monalisa, M.N., Seraj, S., Rahman, M.A., Mou, S.A. and Rahmatullah, M. (2011) Medicinal plants used by folk medicinal practitioners in three randomly surveyed villages of Rajbari district, Bangladesh. American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 5 (2). pp. 226-232.

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Medicinal plants form an important and often the only component in the formulations used by the folk medicinal practitioners of Bangladesh for treatment of various ailments. Folk medicinal practitioners, otherwise known as Kavirajes, perform an integral role in the delivery of primary health-care to substantial segments of both rural and urban population of the country. Their traditional medicinal practice, which is generally referred to as folk medicinal practice, is different from other forms of traditional medicine in Bangladesh like Ayurveda and Unani forms of traditional medicine. Kavirajes use simple formulations of medicinal plants, and their practice is often confined to the immediate family and passed on through successive generations. Thus over the centuries, Kavirajes have gained not only extensive knowledge on medicinal plants but also each Kaviraj has his or her own unique list of plants, which he or she uses in formulations. Bangladesh has over 86,000 villages with each village containing one or two practicing Kavirajes. To get a comprehensive view of the medicinal plants of Bangladesh, it is therefore important to conduct extensive interviews of individual Kavirajes of both urban and rural areas. Towards obtaining such comprehensive information, the present ethnomedicinal survey was conducted among the Kavirajes of three randomly surveyed villages of Rajbari district in Bangladesh to document their use of medicinal plants and the ailments treated by those plants. Information was obtained from the Kavirajes with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and the guided field-walk method. The results showed that the Kavirajes of the three villages surveyed used a total of 46 plants distributed into 31 families in their formulations. The Fabaceae family provided 6 plants, while the Acanthaceae, Lamiaceae and Zingiberaceae families provided three plants each. Leaves constituted the major plant part used, constituting over 50% of the total uses. Other major plant parts used were roots and stems. The various ailments treated included gastrointestinal disorders, cuts and wounds, fever, respiratory tract disorders, snake bites, pain, menstrual problems, physical weakness, diabetes, mental disorders, cardiovascular disorders, skin disorders, chicken pox, burns, spermatorrhea, bone fractures, and cattle ailments. Medicinal plants from time immemorial have proved an excellent source of medicines and this trend has continued even in recent times. As such, the medicinal plants documented in the present survey have enormous potential for further scientific research, which can lead to discovery of better medicines. At the same time, a resurgence of interest in medicinal plants can lead to their wide-spread conservation, which is important because a number of medicinal plants have become endangered through spread of human habitat and loss of primary and secondary forests.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: American-Eurasian Network for Scientific Information
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