Printer Friendly

Ethnomedicinal applications of plants by the traditional healers of the Marma tribe of Naikhongchhari, Bandarban district, Bangladesh.


The knowledge of indigenous peoples may cover a wide variety of subjects, including the climate, ecosystem, and particularly the local fauna and flora. The latter includes knowledge of plants, which can be used as medicine, food, building materials, and other purposes (Leonti et al., 2003). Not only before the advent of modern medicine, but also as of now, the indigenous peoples generally depends on their own traditional medicinal healers for cure of their various ailments. The cumulative knowledge gathered by the healers over generations has resulted in each healer's possessing considerable expertise in the use of locally available medicinal plants for treatment of ailments. On the other hand, it has been estimated that less than 1% of indigenous cultures have been surveyed for the purpose of gathering of their knowledge of use of medicinal plants as well as other natural products (Pranee, 2000). This is unfortunate, because the advent of modern civilization and the increasing connections between modern civilization and indigenous cultures is resulting in rapid decimation of the culture and knowledge of the indigenous peoples(Kong et al., 2003; Shrestha and Dhillion, 2003), who have become ethnic minorities in the various countries that they inhabit.

The use of plants for medicinal purposes dates back to even as early as five thousand years ago (Sofowara, 1982). The introduction of allopathic medicine and synthetic drugs reduced the number of medicinal products obtained from plants. However, it has been pointed out that in many cases, the sources of modern pharmaceuticals have been plants used in indigenous cultures(Cotton, 1996). Since medicinal plants used by traditional healers have a history of usage, it can become the shortest route for scientists to discover plant-derived drugs. The average success rate of obtaining new medicines from botanical sources is one in 125(McCaled, 1997), whereas the comparative rate of success of obtaining useful medicines from synthetic chemicals is about one in 10,000(Chadwick and Marsh (eds), 1994). In recent times, there has, therefore been a shift of attention of researchers and pharmaceutical companies towards traditional medicine with renewed emphasis on discovery of pharmaceuticals from plants. A number of papers in scientific journals attest to the fact that ethnomedicinal surveys are increasingly being conducted among the indigenous peoples of various regions of the world.

Bangladesh has a number of indigenous peoples or tribes inhabiting various regions of the country. The Marmas form the second largest community inhabiting the forest regions of Chittagong Hill Tracts in the south-eastern part of the country. They belong to the Mongoloid race and their language is written in Burmese characters (it is to be noted that Burma or Myanmar is located on the eastern border of the Bandarban district). The Marma community is divided into several clans, who reside in the districts of Rangamati, Bandarban, and Khagrachari in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region. The Marmas practice a mixture of Buddhism and animism. Their primary health-care needs are administered to by their own traditional healers. At the same time, very little is known about the medicinal practices of the Marma tribe. The areas where they inhabit is quite densely forested and has a wealth of floral species, which are yet to be documented in their entirety, particularly regarding their medicinal values. A rapid way of obtaining such information is to gather knowledge from the healers of various tribes of the region as to the use of the plants for treatment of various ailments. It was the objective of the present study to conduct a survey among the Marma traditional healers of Bandarban district to gather information on ethnomedicinal applications of plants by these healers.

Materials and Methods

2.1. Study area

Bandarban district in Bangladesh is situated roughly between 92[degrees]10 - 92o40 E and 21[degrees]20 21[degrees]50-N. There is a Marma "Para" (village) located at Naikhongchhari, which falls in the extreme south-western part of the district. The study was conducted among the tribal healers of the Marmas settled in Naikhongchhari.

2.2. Data collection and sampling techniques

A total of three healers present within the Marma community of Naikhongchhari were interviewed for this survey. The names of the healers were Mong-ki-u-Marma, Zing-thu-y-Marma, and Mong Chala Marma. At their request, the healers were interviewed as a group. Interviews were conducted in the Marma language (one of the authors, Md. Shahadat Hossan being fluent in this language, since he grew up in that region) with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire. The basic method followed was that of Martin, (1995) and Maundu, (1995). Informed consent was obtained from the informants prior to any data collection. The informants were explained that we are collecting this data towards storage and dissemination of the indigenous knowledge of their tribes, and that this information may lead to new scientific research and discoveries as well as spurt conservation efforts to save their medicinal plants. The informants had no objections towards providing information except that they wanted the exact formulations and dosages not to be disseminated to protect their professional interests. In the method followed, the informants took the interviewers to localities from where they collected their plants. Plants were shown with detailed information as to their local names, formulations, dosages, route of administration, and ailments treated. It was observed that the medicinal plants collected by the Marma traditional healers were collected both from nearby areas to their habitat, as well as considerable distances (more than 5 km) away from their habitat and in dense forest areas. All plant specimens were collected, dried on field and brought back to Bangladesh National Herbarium for complete identification and where voucher specimens were also deposited.

Results and Discussion

3.1. Plants and their distribution into families

A total of 58 plants distributed into 35 families were observed to be used by the Marma traditional healers of Naikhongchhari (Table 1). The Fabaceae family provided the largest number of species (seven), followed by the Compositae and Rubiaceae families (four plants each). The Marmas practice a sort of cultivation known as 'jhum' cultivation, where a tract of forest land is burned followed by cultivation for several years on the cleared forest land. After that, a fresh tract of forest land is burned with a repetition of the procedure. Mostly paddy and vegetables are cultivated on the burnt and cleared forest land. As such, the medicinal plants of the Marmas are collected mostly from the wild from primary growth vegetation or secondary growth vegetation, which takes place after they abandon their cultivated forest land in favor of new areas. It was observed that most Marma households plant several plants of Ananas comosus in their homes for their own use. Other plants like Dillenia indica, Emblica officinalis, Hibiscus rosa sinensis, Syzygium cumini, Aegle marmelos, Citrus limonum and Eletteria cardamomum are obtained from lands cultivated by nearby non-indigenous settlers, who cultivate these plants for personal consumption, commercial purposes or ornamental values. These plants also can be found in the wild but only scarcely; they do not form a major part of the primary or secondary natural vegetation of the area.The rest of the plants are collected from the wild.

3.2. Plant parts used and mode of preparation

We documented 74 uses of plant parts in this survey. Leaves formed the part of plant most frequently used (43.2%), followed by roots (28.4%) and flowers (13.5%). Seeds were used in only one instance, where the seeds of Syzygium cumini were found to be used for treatment of diabetes and urinary problems. The usual mode of preparation was crushing of the plant part followed by extraction of juice from the plant part, which would then be administered either orally or topically. The juice extracted from leaves of Justicia adhatoda was taken orally as treatment for helminthiasis, while the juice obtained from young leaves of Sansevieria roxburghiana was applied topically during ear infections. Occasionally, a plant part may be turned into paste and then applied topically, or the plant part may be taken directly orally. For instance, the roots of Acanthus ilicifolius were taken directly (i.e. chewed and swallowed with a little water) as a sexual stimulant, whereas a paste of the root was applied to areas affected by rheumatic pain. There were also instances where the plant part would be cooked and eaten as vegetable, not for nutritive purposes, but as remedy for a given ailment. This applied to the case of Acrostichum aureum, where the leaves were cooked and taken as a vegetable to increase physical strength, as a sexual stimulant, and as treatment for cloudy urination in women.

3.3. Medical applications

The various ailments treated by the Marma traditional healers appeared to be common ailments like gastrointestinal disorders (constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, ulcer, stomach pain), respiratory tract disorders (cough, mucus, asthma, breathing difficulties), urinary tract problems (difficulties in urination, cloudy urination), and skin disorders (scabies, itches, eczema). The maximum number of plant (fifteen) were used to treat various skin disorders, followed by gastrointestinal disorders (twelve), respiratory tract disorders (nine), urinary tract problems (seven), fever (seven), and jaundice (four). The Marma healers also had knowledge of plants for treatment of diabetes, malaria, and leprosy. Other ailments treated included eye problems (cataract, conjunctivitis), cold sores, vomiting tendency, insect bites, loss of sensation in hands or legs, toothache, cuts and wounds, lesions within the mouth, ear infections, and pain. Two plants, Dryopteris filix-max and Aegle marmelos, were also used as sedative. One plant (Abutilon indicum) had both human and veterinary applications, being used to treat diarrhea in both humans as well as cattle.

A plant part was found to be used to treat both single as well as multiple ailments. The roots of Acanthus ilicifolius were used for treatment of rheumatic pain, cloudy urination in women, and as a sex stimulant. The roots of Achyranthes aspera were used for treating diverse ailments like jaundice and respiratory problems. On the other hand, the roots of Morinda angustifolia or Morinda persicifolia were used for treatment of jaundice only. A combination of two plants or more were not used by the healers for treatment of any ailment. On the other hand, a combination of two parts from the same plant was found to be used. The leaves and roots of Oroxylum indicum were used in combination for treatment of sudden unconsciousness (as happens during epilepsy) and also applied topically for skin disorders. Juice from leaves and stems of Costus speciosus were used to treat ear pains or formation of pus in ears. Two different parts from the same plant could have separate applications; the seeds of Caesalpinia nuga were taken as an intoxicant, but leaf paste was applied to skin disorders.

3.4. Medicinal plants used as food supplements

The Marmas traditionally augment their cultivated food supply with resources obtained from the forests. These resources may include plants, animals, birds, and other products. Three plants were observed to be used as sources of nutrition besides serving medicinal purposes. These three plants were Elephantopus scaber, Erythrina variegata, and Alpinia nigra. The fruits of another plant, Eletteria cardamomum were used as a spice and did not serve any medicinal purpose. Apart from Eletteria cardamomum, various parts of the other three plants were cooked and eaten as vegetables. Some plants were also used as ingredients in wine, which the Marmas drink during their various festivals. These plants were Tabernaemontana divaricata (leaf, root, fruit), Eupatorium odoratum (root), Lygodium flexuosum (root), Alpinia nigra (leaf, root), and Eletteria cardamomum (fruit).


The importance of ethnomedicinal surveys lies in the fact that they can form a basis for further scientific studies. At the same time, it is equally important to find out whether available scientific studies on plants used by indigenous peoples validate their use. A perusal of the available scientific literature shows that the use of a number of plants by the Marma traditional healers are validated by pharmacological activity studies on those plants. In this section, some of these studies shall be reviewed.

Anti-inflammatory activity of methanol extract of leaves of Acanthus ilicifolius (used for rheumatic pains by Marma healers) has been demonstrated through inhibition of carragenan-induced rat paw edema (Mani Senthil Kumar, et al., 2008). The anti-ulcer activity of Justicia adhatoda (used by Marma healers for gastrointestinal disorders) has been shown in two models, namely ethanol-induced and pylorus ligation plus aspirin-induced models in rats(Shrivastava et al., 2006). Achyranthes aspera is used by Marma healers for treatment of jaundice and respiratory problems. Alcohol extract of the plant has been shown to have anti-inflammatory activity in carragenan-induced hind paw edema and cotton pellet granuloma models in albino male rats(Vetrichelvan and Jegadeesan, 2003). Thus the plant could have a therapeutic effect in both liver inflammation (causing jaundice) and lung inflammation (leading to respiratory problems).

There are no direct studies available in the scientific literature on Anogeissus acuminata, used by the Marma healers for toothache and oral lesions. However, a related species Anogeissus leiocarpus, which is used in Nigeria as a chewing stick has been shown to possess anti-bacterial activity against dentally relevant bacteria(Taiwo et al., 1999). In vitro studies have demonstrated that the methanol extract of Ageratum conyzoides can inhibit Helicobacter pylori, which is a major causative factor of duodenal, peptic and gastric ulcers(Ndip et al., 2007). Notably, the plant is used by Marma healers to stop bleeding, and to lower acidity and stomach pains. The wound healing properties of methanolic extract of leaves of this plant has also been demonstrated in Wistar rats in skin excision studies(Oladejo et al., 2003). Analgesic activity of the plant has also been reported in both in vitro and in vivo studies(Sampson et al., 2000: Abena et al., 1993). Anti-inflammatory activity has been reported of aqueous extract of leaves of Eupatorium odoratum (otherwise known as Chromolaena odorata), used by the Marma healers to reduce stomach pain, and during gastric ulcer(Owoyele et al., 2005). Codiaeum variegatum is used by the Marma helaers for old fevers, coughs and colds. These symptoms can be a consequence of viral or bacterial infections of the respiratory tract. The plant reportedly showed anti-influenza A virus activity, which could be of relevance in its traditional use (Forero et al.,2008).

The plant, Acacia farnesiana is used in traditional Colombian medicinal system for treatment of malaria symptoms, one of its symptoms being fever. Extracts of this plant displayed good activity against Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistant (FcB2) strain in culture(Garavito et al., 2006). The Marma healers use this plant to treat fevers. Bronchodilatory and anti-inflammatory effects have also been reported for this plant(Trivedi et al., 1986), which properties could be of use in the treatment of symptoms associated with fever. Cassia alata is used by Marma healers to treat skin diseases like ring worm and eczema. The plant is also used in Nigerian traditional medicine for treatment of skin disorders(Ajose, 2007). Anti-microbial activity (both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal) has been reported for various parts of the plant like leaf, bark, flower, stem, and root bark(Somchit et al., 2003; Khan et al., 2001; Ibrahim and Osman, 1995; Palanichamy and Nagarajan, 1990; Fuzellier et al., 1982). The various extracts of Clitoria ternatea (used by Marma healers to treat boils and itches) possesses anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, insecticidal, anti-pyretic as well as other properties, which has been reviewed by Mukherjee et al (2008), including its use in the Indian system of traditional (Ayurvedic) medicine as a nootropic, anti-stress, anxioloytic, and sedative agent. Bambusa bambos (synonym Bambusa arundinacea) is used by Marma healers for treatment of rheumatic pain. The extracts of this plant has been in use in Indian traditional medicine for centuries to treat various inflammatory conditions. On top of it, both anti-inflammatory effects as well as anti-ulcer activities of this plant have been reported in rat models(Muniappan and Sundararaj, 2003). Since drugs used for treatment of inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis are mostly ulcerogenic, this plant can form a useful adjunct therapy when inflammatory drugs are used. At the same time, the plant can be directly used for treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and peptic ulcer.

Methanol extract of flowers of Leucas aspera (used by Marma healers to treat coughs) reportedly showed good anti-microbial activity(Mangathayaru et al., 2005). Anti-bacterial activity has also been observed in methanol extract of Urena lobata (Mazumder et al., 2001), used by Marma healers for treatment of skin lesions, and urinary tract disorders. Mimosa pudica, used by Marma healers for treatment of eczema and scabies, is widely used in Indian folk medicine for arresting bleeding and in skin diseases. The wound healing activity of methanol as well as aqueous extract of roots of the plant has recently been demonstrated(Kokane et al., 2009). A number of studies have established the potential of Syzygium cumini as an anti-diabetic agent; notably the seeds of the plant are used by Marma healers for treatment of diabetes. The plant is also used in Brazilian traditional medicine to treat diabetes. Aqueous leaf extract of this plant reportedly inhibited adenosine deaminase activity and reduced glucose levels in hyperglycemic patients(Bopp et al., 2009). Ferulic acid, obtained from ethereal fraction of ethanol extract of seed demonstrated diabetic therapeutic and anti-oxidative effects in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Ferulic acid also had a pancreatic b-cell regenerative effect (Mandal et al., 2008). Extracts of seed kernels inhibited a-glucosidase activity in vitro, and in Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats in vivo (Shinde et al., 2008). Ethanolic extract of seeds also was found to decrease blood sugar level in alloxan diabetic albino rats and showed improvement in the histopathology of pancreatic islets (Singh and Gupta, 2007).

Vitex negundo is used by Marma healers for treatment of rheumatic and joint pains. Analgesic activity has been demonstrated in ethanol extract of seeds(Zheng et al., 2009), as well as ethanolic extract of leaves in rats and mice (Gupta and Tandon, 2005). Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity has also been demonstrated in rats with aqueous extract of mature fresh leaves(Dharmasiri et al., 2003), while chloroform extract of defatted seeds reportedly exhibited anti-inflammatory activity (Chawla et al., 1992). The fruits of Elletaria cardamomum are used by the Marmas as spice and in wine but not for any therapeutic purposes. However, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-spasmodic actions have been reported for seed oil (al-Zuhair et al., 1996). The fruits also have gastroprotective effects, as demonstrated by inhibition of gastric lesions in rats induced by aspirin and ethanol (Jamal et al., 2006). Thus partaking of the fruits as spice or in wine may serve a prophylactic purpose, especially in the prevention of gastrointestinal disorders.

It is interesting that quite a few plants used by the Marma healers have been validated in their uses by modern scientific studies. This reinforces two viewpoints. The first is that indigenous peoples, through trials and errors conducted over centuries, possess considerable knowledge about the use of medicinal plants for treatment of ailments. The second is that for successful drug discoveries, it may be better to conduct scientific trials on the basis of knowledge gathered from indigenous communities. A number of plants used by the Marma healers are yet to be tested for their pharmacological activities and phytochemical constituents. Other plants need to be tested for yet to be discovered unknown pharmacological activities, and presence of phytochemicals, which can serve as the basis for efficacious drugs. Such scientific studies would highlight the importance of medicinal plants used by indigenous communities and strengthen efforts for their conservation, propagation and cultivation.


The present study was supported by internal funding from the University of Development Alternative.


Abena, A.A., G.S. Kintsangoula-Mbaya, J. Diantama and D. Bioka, 1993. Analgesic effects of a raw extract of Ageratum conyzoides in the rat. L'Encephale, 19(4): 329-332.

Ajose, F.O., 2007. Some Nigerian plants of dermatologic importance. International Journal of Dermatology, 46 Suppl 1: 48-55.

al-Zuhair, H., B. el-Sayeh, H.A. Ameen and H. al-Shoora, 1996. Pharmacological studies of cardamom oil in animals. Pharmacological Research, 34(1-2): 79-82.

Bopp, A., K.S. De Bona, L.P. Belle, R.N. Moresco and M.B. Moretto, 2009. Syzygium cumini inhibits adenosine deaminase activity and reduces glucose levels in hyperglycemic patients. Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, 23(4): 501-507.

Chawla, A.S., A.K. Sharma, S.S. Handa and K.L. Dhar, 1992. Chemical investigation and anti inflammatory activity of Vitex negundo seeds. Journal of Natural Products, 55(2): 163-167.

Chadwick, D.J. and J. Marsh (eds), 1994. Ethnobotany and the search for new drugs, Ciba Foundation Symposium 185, John Wiley and Sons.

Cotton, C.M., 1996. Ethnobotany: Principle and Application, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 399.

Forero, J.E., L. Avila, N. Taborda, P. Tabares, A. Lopez, F. Torres, W. Quiflones, M.A. Bucio, Y.

Dharmasiri, M.G., J.R. Jayakody, G. Galhena, S.S. Liyanage and W.D. Ratnasooriya, 2003. Anti inflammatory and analgesic activities of mature fresh leaves of Vitex negundo. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 87(2-3): 199-206.

Fuzellier, M.C., F. Mortier and P. Lectard, 1982. Antifungal activity of Cassia alata L. Annales Pharmaceutiques Francaises (Paris), 40(4): 357-363.

Ibrahim, D. and H. Osman, 1995. Antimicrobial activity of Cassia alata from Malaysia. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 45(3): 151-156.

Gupta, R.K. and V.R. Tandon, 2005. Antinociceptive activity of Vitex negundo Linn leaf extract. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 49(2): 163-170.

Jamal, A., K. Javed, M. Aslam and M.A. Jafri, 2006. Gastroprotective effect of cardamom, Elletaria cardamomum Maton. fruits in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 103(2): 149-153.

Khan, M.R., M. Kihara and A.D. Omoloso, 2001. Antimicrobial activity of Cassia alata. Fitoterapia, 72(5): 561-564.

Kong, J.M., N.K. Goh, L.S. Chia and T.F. Chia, 2003. Recent advances in tradittional plant drugs and orchids. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 24(1): 7-21.

Kokane, D.D., R.Y. More, M.B. kale, M.N. Nehete, P.C. Mehendale and C.H. Gadgoli, 2009. Evaluation of wound healing activity of root of Mimosa pudica. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 124(2): 311-315.

Leonti, M., O. Sticher and M. Heinrich, 2003. Antiquity of medicinal plant usage in two Macro-Mayan ethnic groups (Mexico). Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 88(2-3): 119-124.

McCaleb, R.S., 1997. Medicinal plants for healing the planet: Biodiversity and Environmental Health, In: Biodiversity and Human Health, F. Grifo and J. Rosenthal (eds), Revised Edition, Island Press, pp: 230.

Martin, G.J., 1995. Ethnobotany: a 'People and Plants' Conservation Manual, Chapman and Hall, London, pp: 268.

Mani Senthil Kumar, K.T., B. Gorain, D.K. Roy, Zothanpuia, S.K. Samanta, M. Pal, P. Biswas, A. Roy, D. Adhikari, S. Karmakar and T. Sen, 2008. Anti-inflammatory activity of Acanthus ilicifolius. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 120(1): 7-12.

Maundu, P., 1995. Methodology for collecting and sharing indigenous knowledge: a case study. Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor, 3: 3-5.

Mandal, S., B. Barik, C. Mallick, D. De and D. Ghosh, 2008. Therapeutic effect of ferulic acid, an ethereal fraction of ethanolic extract of seed of Syzygium cumini against streptozotocin-induced diabetes in male rat. Methods & Findings in Experimental & Clinical Pharmacology, 30(2): 121-128.

Mangathayaru, K., J. Lakshmikant, N. Shyam Sundar, R. Swapna, X.F. Grace and J. Vasantha, 2005. Antimicrobial activity of Leucas aspera flowers. Fitoterapia, 76(7-8): 752-754.

Mazumder, U.K., M. Gupta, L. Manikandan and S. Bhattacharya, 2001. Antibacterial activity of Urena lobata root. Fitoterapia, 72(8): 927-929.

Mora-Perez, M.T. Rugeles, P. Joseph-Nathan and F. Echeverri, 2008. In vitro anti-influenza screening of several Euphorbiaceae species: structure of a bioactive Cyanoglucoside from Codiaeum variegatum. Phytochemistry, 69(16): 2815-2819.

Mukherjee, P.K., V. Kumar, N.S. Kumar and M. Heinrich, 2008. The Ayurvedic medicine Clitoria Ternatea--from traditional use to scientific assessment. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 120(3): 292-301.

Muniappan, M. and T. Sundararaj, 2003. Antiinflammatory and antiulcer activities of Bambusa arundinacea. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 88(2-3): 161-167.

Ndip, R.N., A.E. Tarkang Malange, S.M. Mbullah, H.N. Luma, A. Malongue, L.M. Ndip, K. Nyongbela, C. Wirmum and S.M. Efange, 2007. In vitro anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of extracts of selected medicinal plants from North West Cameroon. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 114(3): 452-457.

Oladejo, O.W., I.O. Imosemi, F.C. Osuagwu, O.O. Oyedele, O.O. Oluwadara, O.E. Ekpo, A. Aiku, O. Adewoyin and E.E. Akang, 2003. A comparative study of the wound healing properties of honey and Ageratum conyzoides. African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences, 32(2): 193-196.

Owoyele, V.B., J.O. Adediji and A.O. Soladoye, 2005. Anti-inflammatory activity of aqueous leaf extract of Chromolaena odorata. Inflammopharmacology, 13(5-6): 479-484.

Palanichamy, S. and S. Nagarajan, 1990. Antifungal activity of Cassia alata leaf extract. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 29(3): 337-340.

Prance, G.T., 2000. Ethnobotany and the future of conservation. Biologist (London), 47(2): 45-68.

Sampson, J.H., J.D. Phillipson, N.G. Bowery, M.J. O'Neill, J.G. Houston and J.A. Lewis, 2000. Ethnomedicinally selected plants as sources of potential analgesic compounds: indication of in vitro biological activity in receptor binding assays. Phytotherapy Research, 14(1): 24-29.

Shrestha, P.M. and S.S. Dhillion, 2003. Medicinal plant diversity and use in the highlands of Dolakha district, Nepal. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 86(1): 81-96.

Shrivastava, N., A. Srivastava, A. Banerjee and M. Nivsarkar, 2006. Anti-ulcer activity of Adhatoda vasica Nees. Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy, 6(2): 43-49.

Shinde, J., T. Taldone, M. Barletta, N. Kunaparaju, B. Hu, S. Kumar, J. Placido and S.W. Zito, 2008. a-Glucosidase inhibitory activity of Syzygium cumini (Linn.) Skeels seed kernel in vitro and in Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats. Carbohydrate Research, 343(7): 1278-1281.

Singh, N. and M. Gupta, 2007. Effects of ethanolic extract of Syzygium cumini (Linn) seed powder on pancreatic islets of alloxan diabetic rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 45(10): 861-867.

Sofowara, A., 1982. Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicinal in Africa, John Wiley and Sons, New York, pp: 256.

Somchit, M.N., I. Reezal, I.E. Nur and A.R. Mutalib, 2003. In vitro antimicrobial activity of ethanol and water extracts of Cassia alata. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 84(1): 1-4.

Taiwo, O., H.X. Xu and S.F. Lee, 1999. Antibacterial activities of extracts from Nigerian chewing sticks. Phytotherapy Research, 13(8): 675-679.

Trivedi, C.P., N.T. Modi, R.K. Sarin and S.S. Rao, 1986. Bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory effect of glycosidal fraction of Acacia farnesiana. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 30(3): 267-268.

Vetrichelvan, T. and M. Jegadeesan, 2003. Effect of alcohol extract of Achyranthes aspera Linn. on acute and subacute inflammation. Phytotherapy Research, 17(1): 77-79.

Zheng, C.J., W.Z. Tang, B.K. Huang, T. Han, Q.Y. Zhang, H. Zhang and L.P. Qin, 2009. Bioactivity guided fractionation for analgesic properties and constituents of Vitex negundo L. seeds. Phytomedicine, 16(6-7): 560-567.

(1) Mohammed Rahmatullah, (1) Md. Shahadat Hossan, (1) Abu Hanif, (1) Prozzal Roy, (1) Rownak Jahan, (1) Mujib Khan, (2) Majeedul H. Chowdhury, (3) Taufiq Rahman

(1) Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Development Alternative House No. 78, Road No. 11A, Dhanmondi, Dhaka-1205 Bangladesh

(2) New York City College of Technology The City University of New York Broooklyn, NY 11201, USA

(3) Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road CB2 1PD, Cambridge, UK

Corresponding Author: Dr. Mohammed Rahmatullah, Pro-Vice Chancellor University of Development Alternative House No. 78, Road No. 11A (new) Dhanmondi R/A, Dhaka-1205 Bangladesh E-mail: Fax: 88-02-8157339
Table 1: Medicinal plants and their applications by the
traditional healers of the Marma tribe residing at Naikhongchhari
of Bandarban district, Chittagong Hill Tracts

Serial   Botanical name            Family             Local name

1        Acanthus ilicifolius L.   Acanthaceae        Fereng-jubang

2        Justicia adhatoda L.      Acanthaceae        Hong-shu-bang

3        Acrostichum aureum L.     Adiantaceae        Mou-chai-pang

4        Adiantum philippense L.   Adiantaceae        Kijau-pai-bang

5        Dracaena spicata Roxb.    Agavaceae          Boang-khola

6        Sansevieria               Agavaceae          Lankh-hi-pang
         roxburghiana Schult. &
         Schult. f.

7        Achyranthes aspera L.     Amaranthaceae      Chikring-lu

8        Alstonia scholaris        Apocynaceae        Chalai-bang
         (L.) R.Br.

9        Tabernaemontana           Apocynaceae        Chanle-pang
         divaricata (L.) R. Br.
         ex Roemer & J.A.

10       Oroxylum indicum (L.)     Bignoniaceae       Krong-sa-bang

11       Ananas comosus (L.)       Bromeliaceae       Naindra-bang

12       Casuarina equisetifolia   Casuarinaceae      Pailong-pang

13       Anogeissus acuminata      Combretaceae       Sai-ki-bang
         Wall.ex C.B.Clarke

14       Ageratum conyzoides L.    Compositae         Wyla-bang

15       Elephantopus scaber L.    Compositae         Pau-ma-fang

16       Eupatorium odoratum L.    Compositae         Kaingja-pongja

17       Mikania cordata           Compositae         Japai-nueh
         (Burm.f.) B. L.

18       Cuscuta reflexa Roxb.     Convolvulaceae     alt. Cuscutaceae

19       Costus speciosus          Costaceae          Pret-mun-pang
         (J. Konig.) Sm.

20       Kalanchoe pinnata         Crassulaceae       Rokia-pang-bang
         (Lam.) Pers.

21       Coccinia grandis (L.)     Cucurbitaceae      Nichu-bang
         J. Voigt

22       Hodgsonia macrocarpa      Cucurbitaceae      Keha-pang

23       Dillenia indica L.        Dilleniaceae       Debru-bang

24       Dryopteris filix-max      Dryopteridaceae    Kraing-ha
         (L.) Schott

25       Codiaeum variegatum       Euphorbiaceae      Boangkhela
         (L.) A.Juss.                                 -paingda

26       Emblica officinalis       Euphorbiaceae      Sosha-bang

27       Acacia farnesiana L.      Fabaceae           Aao-wia-pang

28       Caesalpinia nuga          Fabaceae           Krong-khai-bang
         (L.) W. T. Aiton

29       Cassia alata L.           Fabaceae           Pui-bang

30       Cassia fistula L.         Fabaceae           Nafi-keda-pang

31       Clitoria ternatea L.      Fabaceae           Koai-khi-bang

32       Desmodium macrophyllum    Fabaceae           Tongkhto-chibang
         Desv.                                        -khrung-pang

33       Erythrina variegata L.    Fabaceae           Kasai-pang

34       Bambusa bambos (L.)       Gramineae alt.     Khai-wang-wah,
         Voss.                     Poaceae            Medi-wah

35       Eleutherine plicata       Iridaceae          Tong-krai-choi,
         Herb.                     Alho do Mato.      Chikra-choi

36       Leucas aspera (Willd.)    Labiatae           Paing-sung-pang

37       Lygodium flexuosum        Lygodiaceae        Makla-pang
         (L.) Sw.

38       Abutilon indicum (L.)     Malvaceae          Flur-bang

39       Hibiscus rosa sinensis    Malvaceae          Chuila-bai-pang

40       Urena lobata L.           Malvaceae          Fow-fi-i

41       Melastoma malabathricum   Melastomaceae      Koiam-pay-bang

42       Stephania japonica        Menispermaceae     Toak-nueh-pang
         (Thunb.) Miers

43       Mimosa pudica L.          Mimosaceae         Shra-pang

44       Syzygium cumini (L.)      Myrtaceae          Chabri-shae-bang

45       Nymphaea nouchali         Nymphaeaceae       Kra-pang

46       Polygonum hydropiper L.   Polygonaceae       Mra-che-bang

47       Adina cordifolia          Rubiaceae          Pang-kha-bang
         (Roxb.) Hook. f. ex

48       Hedyotis scandens Roxb.   Rubiaceae          Rema-pang

49       Morinda angustifolia      Rubiaceae          Chui-tili-bang

50       Morinda persicifolia      Rubiaceae          Chui-tili-bang
         Harv. var. sublinearis

51       Aegle marmelos (L.)       Rutaceae           Orai-pang

52       Citrus limonum Risso      Rutaceae           Khra-pang

53       Scoparia dulcis L.        Scrophulariaceae   Mikram-boi-pang

54       Pterospermum              Sterculiaceae      Noah-labai-pang
         semisagittatum Buch.-
         Ham. ex Roxb.

55       Clerodendrum viscosum     Verbenaceae        Khrong-kha-bang

56       Vitex negundo L.          Verbenaceae        Moru-bang

57       Alpinia nigra (Gaertn.)   Zingiberaceae      Choia-bang
         B.L. Burtt.

58       Elettaria cardamomum      Zingiberaceae      Lia-bong-pang
         (L.) Maton

Serial   Plant part(s) used and Uses
Number   [Administration: O = oral, T = topical]

1        Root. Root is taken as a sexual stimulant [O],
         root paste is applied for rheumatic pains [T]
         and root juice taken by women during cloudy
         urination [O].

2        Leaf. Leaf juice is administered [O]
         for helminthiasis, diarrhea and during
         constipation (note that excess taking of leaf
         may cause diarrhea).

3        Leaf. Leaf is cooked and taken as a vegetable
         to increase physical strength, for treatment of
         cloudy urination in women, and
         as a sexual stimulant [O].
4        Leaf, root. Juice from roots and leaves are
         administered as sexual stimulants [O].

5        Leaf. Leaf juice is taken to cure long-term
         fever, coughs and mucus in nose [O].

6        Leaf. The juice from the top portion of young
         leaf is applied to abscesses within the ear and
         pus formation within the ear [T].

7        Root. Root is taken for jaundice and
         respiratory problems [O].

8        Bark. The bark exudate is given for
         cold sores (caused by Herpes labialis),
         fevers, and diabetes [O].

9        Leaf, root, fruit. Leaf, root and fruit is used
         to make wine and taken for ulcer and
         breathing problems [O].

10       Leaf, root. Root and leaf is given for sudden
         unconsciousness (given after regaining of
         consciousness to prevent further episodes) as
         happens during epilepsy [O], a paste of leaf
         and root is applied for skin disorders [T],
         and taken as a sexual stimulant [O].

11       Leaf. The top portion of young leaf is given
         during pneumonia, asthma, and respiratory
         problems [O].

12       Root. Root is chewed to maintain
         healthy teeth [O].

13       Bark. Bark powder is used for toothache,
         loosening of tooth, and for lesions within the
         mouth or around the tooth [T].

14       Leaf. Leaf paste is applied to stop
         bleeding [T],
         leaf juice is taken to lower acidity
         and reduce stomach pains [O].

15       Root. Root is administered as a sexual
         stimulant, to cure difficulties of urination,
         source of nutrition [O], and cure itches [T].

16       Root. Root is taken to reduce stomach pains,
         during gastric ulcer, and to make wine [O].

17       Leaf. Leaf paste is applied to stop bleeding
         and stimulate clot formation [T].

18       Jigro-bang Stem. Stem is cooked and taken as a
         egetable and acts as a sexual stimulant [O].

19       Leaf, stem. Juice from leaf and stem is applied
         during ear pains or formation of pus in ears,
         and eczema or itches around the nails [T].

20       Leaf. Leaf paste is applied for muscle pain,
         scabies, boils, and rheumatism [T].

21       Fruit. Fruit is taken for respiratory problems
         and lung disorders [O].

22       Fruit. Fruit is taken for fevers and malaria [O].

23       Leaf, fruit. Fruit is taken to stimulate appetite
         [O]; leaf paste is applied to scabies [T].

24       Leaf. Leaves are cooked and taken
         as vegetable to increase physical strength; also
         used for headache and as a sedative [O].

25       Leaf. Leaf juice is taken for old fevers, coughs
         and colds [O].

26       Fruit. Fruit is eaten to stimulate appetite [O].

27       Root. Root is administered to treat fever, and
         crying in children [O].

28       Leaf, fruit. The seeds of the fruit are taken
         as an intoxicant [O]; leaf paste is applied to
         skin disorders [T].

29       Leaf. Leaf paste is applied for ringworm
         and eczema [T].

30       Bark, fruit. Fruit and bark is given during
         fevers and to stimulate appetite [O].

31       Leaf. Leaf juice is applied to boils and itches
         in children [T].

32       Leaf. Leaf juice is taken for stomach acidity,
         stomach aches, and abnormal heart palpitations

33       Bark. Bark is taken for helminthiasis,
         and as a vegetable (i.e. cooked and eaten).

34       Leaf, root. A combination of leaf and root
         paste is applied for rheumatic pain and eczema
         [T]; combination of leaf and root juice is taken
         for cough and leprosy [O].

35       Root. Root juice is taken for difficulties in
         urination, and elephantitis [O].

36       Leaf, flower. A combination of leaf and flower
         juice is given to women who have recently
         delivered, and taken to cure old coughs [O].

37       Root. Root is taken for rheumatism, for fever
         and convulsions in children and to
         make wine [O].

38       Root. Root is given for diarrhea and other
         gastrointestinal disorders in both human
         and cattle [O].

39       Flower. Flower juice is used to treat
         cataract [T].

40       Leaf, flower. A paste of flowers and leaves is
         applied to chapped lips, and skin lesions [T];
         they are taken during urinary tract
         disorders [O].

41       Root. Root juice is taken during jaundice [O].

42       Root. Root juice is used for coughs, throat
         pains and in children to treat colic and ear
         lesions [O].

43       Leaf. Leaf paste is applied to eczema,
         scabies and abscesses [T].

44       Seed. The seeds of the fruit are taken for
         diabetes and urinary problems [O].

45       Stem. The immediate upper portion above the
         root is given to menstruating women and men
         having urination difficulties [O].

46       Leaf, root. Leaf and root paste is used for
         eczema, scabies [T] and as an
         anthelmintic [O].

47       Leaf. Leaf juice is used to treat boils and eye
         disorders like conjunctivitis [T].

48       Leaf. Leaf juice is applied as treatment for
         itches, scabies and eczema [T].

49       Root. Root is taken as treatment for
         jaundice [O].

50       Root. Root is taken as treatment for
         jaundice [O].

51       Leaf, root. The leaves and roots are taken
         as sedative [O].

52       Fruit. Fruit juice is a source of vitamins, and
         used to stimulate appetite, to cure fever, skin
         disorders, to prevent hair loss, to stop
         vomiting tendency, and to cure lesions within the
         mouth [O].

53       Leaf, root, fruit. A combination of leaf, fruit
         and root juice is given to children with
         respiratory problems and to stimulate appetite.

54       Leaf. Leaf paste is applied to poisonous
         insect bites [T].

55       Leaf. Leaf juice is taken for stomach aches [O].

56       Leaf. Leaf paste is applied to rheumatic and
         joint pains [T].

57       Leaf, root. The roots and leaves are cooked
         and taken as a vegetable, to make wine, and to
         increase flavor in foods [O] and a paste of leaf
         and root is applied for loss of sensation in
         hands and legs [T].

58       Fruit. The fruit is used as a spice and in
         wine [O].
COPYRIGHT 2009 American-Eurasian Network for Scientific Information
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Original Article
Author:Rahmatullah, Mohammed; Hossan, Md. Shahadat; Hanif, Abu; Roy, Prozzal; Jahan, Rownak; Khan, Mujib; C
Publication:Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:Sep 1, 2009
Previous Article:Brouwer fixed point theorem and applications.
Next Article:An ethnobotanical survey and pharmacological evaluation of medicinal plants used by the Garo tribal community living in Netrakona district,...

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters