A survey on the use of medicinal plants by folk medicinal practitioners in five villages of Boalia sub-district, Rajshahi district, Bangladesh.
Folk medicine, otherwise known as traditional, complementary or alternative medicine, co-exists with modern allopathic medicine in every country of the world. In fact, a number of important drugs in use in allopathic medicine owe their existence to observation of medicinal practices of indigenous peoples (Cotton, C.M., 1996). To name only a few of the important drugs in use today, aspirin, atropine, ephedrine, digoxin, morphine, quinine, reserpine and tubocurarine serve as examples (Gilani, A.H. and A.U. Rahman, 2005). In recent years, traditional medicine has received renewed interest from scientists because of the advent of multidrug resistant microorganisms, serious side-effects obtained with a number of synthetic drugs, and because of the incurable nature of a number of diseases, where modern medicine has failed to make any positive impact.
Bangladesh has a long history of various forms of traditional medicine. The Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine has been practiced for hundreds of years and have well developed systems and procedures for preparations, formulations, and dosages. Another variety of traditional medicine - that of folk medicine is practiced throughout Bangladesh among various tribes and local population. The folk medicinal practitioners (known as Kavirajes or Vaidyas) use medicinal plants almost exclusively for treatment of various ailments. Their preparations are simple and most often, a single plant part or plant is used for treatment of a single ailment. Formulations usually consist of decoctions, paste, or juice of the plant, which is orally administered or topically applied depending on the ailment. Since one of the objectives of modern science is to search for drugs among the medicinal plants of different countries, this folk medicinal data can prove to be a valuable source for obtaining first-hand information on medicinal plants used by Kavirajes for centuries. This avoids the complication of identifying the principal active constituent among the dozens or more plants that are used for treatment of any single ailment in the Ayurvedic or Unani medicinal systems.
Bangladesh is a country of more than 86,000 villages, each village usually being serviced by one or more Kavirajes, who form the primary health-care providers to the rural population. Each Kaviraj has his unique repertoire of medicinal plants, which he or she has gained through cumulative knowledge acquired by successive generations in the family. To obtain a primary idea about the folk medicinal practices of Bangladesh, one has therefore to collect data from individual Kavirajes for medicinal plant uses can vary widely between even Kavirajes of adjoining villages. We have been collecting ethnomedicinal data from village and tribal Kavirajes for the last two years with the aim of establishing a comprehensive data base of folk medicinal uses of medicinal plants (Rahmatullah, M., 2009; Rahmatullah, M., 2009; Rahmatullah, M., 2009; Nawaz, A.H.M.M., 2009; Rahmatullah, M., 2010; Hossan, M.S., 2010). The objective of this present study was to conduct an ethnomedicinal survey among the Kavirajes of Muktarpur, Shyampur, Belgharia, Naodar, and Yusufpur villages of Boalia sub-district in Rajshahi district, Bangladesh.
Materials and Methods
Rajshahi district lies in the north-west of Bangladesh. The climate of this district is characterized by monsoons, moderate temperature, high humidity and moderate rainfall. Boalia sub-district is one of the thirteen sub-districts of Rajshahi district. The villages of Muktarpur, Shyampur, Belgharia, Naodar, and Yusufpur fall within Boalia sub-district. The main occupation of the village population is agriculture and agricultural laborer. To access any modern health facilities or visit a specialized doctor, the people of the villages has to go to Rajshahi city. Most people prefer to treat their ailments through visiting the local Kavirajes as a first-stop measure. Kaviraj Nitai Chandra (who was the main source of our information) and his associates are well known in the above-mentioned villages and even practices in Rajshahi city, where he also administers to a substantial number of patients.
Informed consent was obtained from the Kavirajes prior to commencement of survey. Interviews were carried out with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and the guided filed-walk method as described by Martin (1995) and Maundu (1995). In this method, the Kavirajes took the interviewers on field-walks through areas from where they collected their medicinal plants, pointed out the plants, and described their uses. All information obtained including the local names of plants was cross-checked with the Kavirajes in later sessions. Plant specimens were collected and dried in the field and brought back to Bangladesh National Herbarium at Dhaka for complete identification.
The Kavirajes of the five villages of Boalia sub-district used 48 medicinal plants distributed into 30 families for treatment of various ailments. The Fabaceae family comprised the largest family contributing 5 plants, followed by the Euphorbiaceae and Meliaceae families with 4 plants each. The Combretaceae and Lamiaceae families contributed 3 plants per family. The results are summarized in Table 1.
The various plant parts used included whole plant, leaves, roots, stems, barks, fruits, seeds, flowers, and tubers. Leaves constituted the major plant part used (27.6% of total uses), followed by fruits (15.3%), seeds (14.3%), whole plant (13.3%), roots (9.2%), flowers (6.1%), stems (2.0%), and tubers (2.0%). In most cases, juice obtained from crushed plants or plant parts were administered either orally or topically depending on the ailment. It was observed that the whole plant may be used by the Kavirajes for treatment of ailments totally unrelated to one another. Tetragonia tetragonoides (Pall.) Kuntze (whole plant) was used as a tonic as well as for treatment of colic or eye diseases. Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f. (whole plant) was used as a laxative, an appetizer and for treatment of alopecia, asthma, and tuberculosis. The Kavirajes were reticent to give out exact formulations; instead, they mentioned only the parts of the plants used and the ailments treated.
The number of ailments claimed to be treated by the Kavirajes were extremely diverse. Besides common ailments like gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory tract disorders, and skin disorders (which were common among the village population), the Kavirajes also treated diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disorders, nerve disorders, epilepsy, and edema. 25 plants were used for treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, 13 plants for treatment of skin disorders, and 12 plants for treatment of respiratory tract disorders. 8 plants each were used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, while 10 plants were used to treat sexually transmitted diseases. Other ailments treated included alopecia, tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, typhoid, piles, helminthiasis, reproductive disorders (impotency), urinary tract disorders (e.g. leucorrhea), fever, anemia, cuts and wounds, leprosy, pain, hernia, goiter, hepatic disorders, eye disorders, and stone formation in any part of the body. The Kavirajes did not use combination of plants for treatment of any ailment. A single plant or plant part was used for treatment of ailments, which could be from one to several. However, occasionally different plant parts from the same plant were observed to be used for treatment of different ailments.
Not all of the medicinal plants used by the Kavirajes were collected from the wild. Quite a few were cultivated around the homesteads or for commercial purposes. Plants that were cultivated for their edible fruits included Mangifera indica L., Annona squamosa L., Borassus flabellifer L., Cocos nucifera L., Carica papaya L., Terminalia belerica (Gaertn.) Roxb., Terminalia chebula Retz., Phyllanthus emblica L., Tamarindus indica L., and Punica granatum L. The fruits of Momordica charantia L. are cooked and eaten as vegetable, while Rosa damascena Mill. was cultivated for its flowers, which were sold commercially. The tubers of Curcuma longa L. were used as a spice and added to almost every vegetable, fish or meat dish cooked.
Our various ethnobotanical surveys conducted thus far in Bangladesh highlights the fact that use of medicinal plants differ considerably between the Kavirajes of adjoining areas or even villages. The present survey is no different in that regard if a comparative analysis of medicinal plants used by Kavirajes is made between the five villages of Boalia sub-district (present survey) and six villages of Bagha sub-district, which was completed in a previous survey (Rahmatullah, M., 2010). Notably, both Boalia and Bagha are adjoining sub-districts by the river Padma in Rajshahi district, Bangladesh. Of the 48 plants reported in the present survey and the 54 plants reported in the previous survey (Rahmatullah, M., 2010), only six plants were seen to be commonly used and then again with the exception of two plants, the rest were used to treat dissimilar ailments in the two sub-districts. The comparative analysis is shown in Table 2. It may be seen from Table 2, that even with the two plants, Vernonia patula (Dryand.) Merr. was used for treatment of impotency, helminthiasis, fever, and coughs in the villages of Boalia sub-district, but used to treat only erectile dysfunction (impotency) in the six villages of Bagha sub-district. Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers, was used for treatment of headache, asthma, and to dissolve stones formed in any part of the body in Boalia sub-district, and used for treatment of kidney and gall bladder stones in Bagha sub-district. The treatment mode was also different in the two sub-districts. For treatment of erectile dysfunction (impotency) in Bagha sub-district, a combination of bark of Litsea liyuyingi Liou Ho mixed with roots of Ipomoea mauritiana Jacq., bark of Terminalia arjuna (Roxb. ex DC.) Wight & Am, bark of Bombax ceiba L., roots of Trigonella foenum-graecum L., and roots of Vernonia patula was used, whereas in Boalia sub-district only the whole plant of Vernonia patula was used to treat impotency. Similarly, for treatment of kidney and gall bladder stones, in Bagha sub-district leaves of Kalanchoe pinnata were used in combination with Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. leaves, while at Boalia subdistrict, Kalanchoe pinnata was used alone for treatment of stone formation in any part of the body. These differences in plant use in the two sub-districts were more prominent with the other four medicinal plants. To cite just one instance, Terminalia arjuna (Roxb. ex DC.) Wight & Arn. was used for treatment of hypertension, anemia, and leprosy in Boalia sub-district, but used for treatment of erectile dysfunction in Bagha sub-district.
When the differences between treatments of completely different ailments with the same plant by different Kavirajes in different areas of Bangladesh are taken into account, a comprehensive survey of the use of medicinal plants pertaining to the whole country cannot be over-emphasized. Terminalia arjuna is used in Boalia sub-district villages for treatment of hypertension, anemia, and leprosy, while it is used for treatment of erectile dysfunction in Bagha sub-district. Experimental studies have shown that the bark of this plant has considerable inotropic and hypotensive effects thus increasing coronary artery flow and protecting myocardium against ischemic damage (Dwivedi, S., 2007). However, other pharmacological activities of the plant related to its folkloric use are yet to be identified. The same is true for many other plants obtained in the present survey, pharmacological activity studies of which are yet to be carried out. At the same time, a survey of the scientific literature suggests that the uses of a number of plants by the Kavirajes are validated by scientific evidence. The medicinal plants used in the folk medicinal system of Bangladesh thus presents considerable potential for further scientific studies and discovery of newer drugs, more so, because our survey indicated considerable patient satisfaction with the Kavirajes' mode of treatment.
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Rahmatullah, M., D. Ferdausi, M.A.H. Mollik, R. Jahan, M.H. Chowdhury and W.M. Haque, 2010. A Survey of Medicinal Plants used by Kavirajes of Chalna area, Khulna District, Bangladesh. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 7(2): 91-97.
Rahmatullah, M., M.A.H. Mollik, M.H. Rashid, R. Tanzin, K.C. Ghosh, H. Rahman, J. Alam, M.O. Faruque, M.M. Hasan, R. Jahan, M.A. Khatun, 2010. A comparative analysis of medicinal plants used by folk medicinal healers in villages adjoining the Ghaghot, Bangali and Padma Rivers of Bangladesh. American Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture (in press).
(1) Mohammed Rahmatullah, (1) Md. Ariful Haque Mollik, (2) Mst. Afsana Khatun, 1Rownak Jahan, Anita Rani Chowdhury, (1) Syeda Seraj, (1) Mohammad Shahadat Hossain, Dilruba Nasrin, (1) Zubaida Khatun
(1) Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Development Alternative, Dhanmondi, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
(1) Present address: Dept. of Pharmacy, Lincoln College, Mayang Plaza, Block A, No 1, Jalan SS 26/2, Taman Mayang Jaya, 47301, Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Corresponding Author: Professor Dr. Mohammed Rahmatullah, Pro-Vice Chancellor University of Development Alternative House No. 78, Road No. 11A (new) Dhanmondi R/A, Dhaka-1205 Bangladesh Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 88-02-8157339
Table 1: Medicinal plants used by the Kavirajes of Muktarpur, Shyampur, Belgharia, Naodar, and Yusufpur villages in Boalia sub-district, Rajshahi district, Bangladesh S1. Plant Name Family Local name No. 1 Tetragonia tetragonoides Aizoaceae Shonta (Pall.) Kuntze 2 Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f. Aloaceae Ghrit-kumari 3 Amaranthus spinosus L. Amaranthaceae Kanta-khudurey 4 Mangifera indica L. Anacardiaceae Aam 5 Annona squamosa L. Annonaceae Ata 6 Lasia spinosa (L.) Thwaites Araceae Kata-kochu 7 Borassus flabellifer L. Arecaceae Tal 8 Cocos nucifera L. Arecaceae Dab 9 Blumea lacera DC Asteraceae Kukur-sungha 10 Vernonia patula Asteraceae Jowhanti (Dryand.) Merr. 11 Cannabis sativa L. Cannabaceae Bhang 12 Carica papaya L. Caricaceae Pepe 13 Terminalia arjuna (Roxb Combretaceae Arjun . ex DC.) Wight & Am. 14 Terminalia belerica Combretaceae Bohera (Gaertn.) Roxb. 15 Terminalia chebula Retz. Combretaceae Horitoki 16 Kalanchoe pinnata Crassulaceae Patharchuni (Lam.) Pers. 17 Coccinia grandis (L.) J. Voigt Cucurbitaceae Telakucha 18 Momordica charantia L. Cucurbitaceae Korla 19 Dioscorea bulbifera L. Dioscoreaceae Lota-bori 20 Acalypha indica L. Euphorbiaceae Phool-jhuri 21 Codiaeum variegatum Euphorbiaceae Tri-phorthok (L.) A.Juss. 22 Euphorbia milii 'Lutea' Hort Euphorbiaceae Dodhi-kata 23 Phyllanthus emblica L. Euphorbiaceae Amloki 24 Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. ex DC. Fabaceae Shishu 25 Mimosa pudica L. Fabaceae Lajjaboti 26 Saraca indica L. Fabaceae Ashok 27 Cassia tora L. Fabaceae Araj 28 Tamarindus indica L. Fabaceae Tetul 29 Hyptis suaveolens Lamiaceae Tokma (L.) Poit. 30 Ocimum gratissimum L. Lamiaceae Seth-tulshi 31 Ocimum tenuiflorum L. Lamiaceae Krishna-tulshi 32 Punica granatum L. Lythraceae Dalim 33 Aphanamixis polystachya Meliaceae Pitraj (Wall.) R. Parker 34 Azadirachta indica A. Juss. Meliaceae Neem 35 Cereus grandiflorus Meliaceae Kuth-raaz (L.) P. Mill. 36 Swietenia mahagoni Meliaceae Mahogany (L.) Jacq. 37 Ludwigia hyssopifolia Onagraceae Modho-naow (G. Don) Exell apud A.R. Fernandes 38 Oxalis lobata Sims Oxalidaceae Amrul 39 Phyllanthus reticulatus Poir. Phyllanthaceae Chitki 40 Piper cubeba L.f. Piperaceae Kabab-chini 41 Hygroryza aristata (Retz.) Poaceae Bera-saaz Nees ex Wight & Am. 42 Zea mays L. Poaceae Bottha 43 Rosa damascena Mill. Rosaceae Golap 44 Anthocephalus chinensis Rubiaceae Kodom (Lam.) A. Rich. ex Walp. 45 Glycosmis pentaphylla Rutaceae Dard-brash (Retz.) Corr. 46 Mimusops elengi L. Sapotaceae Bokul seed 47 Solanum surattense Burm.f. Solanaceae Kontikari 48 Curcuma longa L. Zingiberaceae Holud S1. Utilized part Ailments and formulations No. 1 Whole plant Tonic, colic, eye diseases. 2 Whole plant Laxative, appetizer, alopecia, asthma, tuberculosis. 3 Whole plant Gonorrhea, laxative, expectorant. 4 Leaf, fruit, Eye diseases, antidote to poison, edema, seed cholera, dysentery, diabetes. 5 Leaf, fruit, Abortifacient, helminthiasis, colic, itch. seed 6 Tuber Edema, piles, constipation. 7 Root, fruit Cancer, edema, epilepsy, boil. 8 Root, fruit, Syphilis, jaundice, diabetes, cholera. fruit juice 9 Leaf, flower Edema, colic, helminthiasis. 10 Whole plant Impotency, helminthiasis, fever, coughs. 11 Leaf, root Cancer, hypertension, antidote to poison, itch, rheumatoid arthritis. 12 Whole plant Tuberculosis, constipation, helminthiasis, cooling, leucoderma, ecbolic (a drug that increases uterine contractions and facilitates delivery), fever. 13 Leaf, bark, Hypertension, anemia, leprosy. fruit 14 Leaf, bark, Constipation, sexual diseases. fruit 15 Leaf, bark, Asthma, heart diseases, eye diseases, seed itch, night blindness. 16 Leaf, stem, Headache, asthma, stone bark dissolving in any part of the body. 17 Leaf, root Diabetes, edema, eye diseases. 18 Root, seed, Cancer, night blindness, rheumatoid fruit arthritis, helminthiasis. 19 Root, fruit Goiter, hernia, tumor, carminative. 20 Leaf, flower Helminthiasis, colic, vomit-inducing. 21 Whole plant Syphilis, coughs, wounds, eye diseases. 22 Whole plant Eczema, sexual diseases, diarrhea. 23 Leaf, fruit Appetizer, gonorrhea, toothache, itch. 24 Leaf, bark, Eczema, sexual diseases, leucoderma. seed 25 Leaf, root, Diarrhea, hypertension, antidote to flower poison. 26 Leaf, bark Sexual diseases, analgesic, appetizer. 27 Leaf, seed Helminthiasis, liver diseases, typhoid. 28 Leaf, fruit, Diabetes, appetizer, jaundice, eczema, seed conjunctivitis. 29 Leaf, seed Liver diseases, cancer, constipation. 30 Whole plant Heart diseases, eye diseases, cooling. 31 Whole plant Bronchitis, liver diseases, cancer. 32 Leaf, fruit, Diabetes, heart diseases, dysentery, seed stimulant, tumor. 33 Leaf, bark, Rheumatoid arthritis, analgesic, itch, seed antidote to poison. 34 Leaf, bark Cancer, skin diseases, helminthiasis, wounds, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis. 35 Whole plant Tonic, nervous disorders, heart diseases. 36 Leaf, bark, Impotency, malaria, appetizer. seed 37 Whole plant Sedative, skin diseases, dysentery. 38 Whole plant Dysentery, diarrhea, coughs, stimulant. 39 Leaf, bark Edema, constipation, cooling. 40 Leaf, fruit, Rheumatoid arthritis, impotency, sexual seed diseases. 41 Whole plant Expectorant, antiseptic, hepatitis. 42 Root, fruit Hypertension, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pneumonia. 43 Leaf, root, Tonsillitis, heart diseases, cooling. flower 44 Leaf, flower Fever, coughs, eye diseases, labor pain. 45 Stem, fruit Toothache, rheumatoid arthritis. 46 Leaf, flower, Leucorrhea, tuberculosis, diarrhea. 47 Leaf, fruit, Laxative, rheumatoid arthritis, night seed blindness, malaria. 48 Tuber Jaundice, diarrhea, dysentery, small pox, eczema, gonorrhea, sedative. Table 2: A comparative analysis of ailments treated by medicinal plants (in common) between two adjoining sub-districts Boalia and Bagha of Rajshahi district, Bangladesh Botanical name Family Ailments treated in Boalia sub-district (present survey comprising of the villages of Muktarpur, Shyampur, Belgharia, Naodar, and Yusufpur) Vernonia patula Asteraceae Impotency, (Dryand.) Merr. helminthiasis, fever, coughs. Terminalia arjuna Combretaceae Hypertension, anemia, (Roxb. ex DC.) Wight & Am. leprosy. Kalanchoe pinnata Crassulaceae Headache, asthma, stone (Lam.) Pers. dissolving in any part of the body. Coccinia grandis Cucurbitaceae Diabetes, edema, eye (L.) J. Voigt diseases. Ocimum gratissimum L. Lamiaceae Heart diseases, eye diseases, cooling. Anthocephalus chinensis Rubiaceae Fever, coughs, eye (Lam.) A. Rich. ex Walp. diseases, labor pain. Botanical name Ailments treated in Bagha sub-district (previous survey comprising of the villages of Narayanpur, Kalidaskhali, Durduria, Khayarhat, Alaipur, and Baghaas reported in ) Vernonia patula (Dryand.) Merr. Erectile dysfunction. Terminalia arjuna Erectile dysfunction. (Roxb. ex DC.) Wight & Am. Kalanchoe pinnata Kidney and gall bladder stones. (Lam.) Pers. Coccinia grandis Headache. (L.) J. Voigt Ocimum gratissimum L. Cough, cold. Anthocephalus chinensis Infertility in men or women, infections (Lam.) A. Rich. ex Walp. in diabetic patients, bloating in cattle.
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|Title Annotation:||Original Article|
|Author:||Rahmatullah, Mohammed; Mollik, Ariful Haque; Khatun, Afsana; Jahan, Rownak; Chowdhury, Anita Rani; S|
|Publication:||Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2010|
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