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Ethnomedicinal wisdom and famine food plants of the Hajong community of Baromari village in Netrakona district of Bangladesh.

Introduction

The Hajongs are a small indigenous community or tribe residing in the hilly forested regions of north central districts of Bangladesh like Mymensingh, Netrakona, Sherpur and Jamalpur. They claim to have arrived in their present residence from Tibet through Assam in India. They are Hindus by religion and claim to be 'Sonaton" Hindus, i.e. original Hindus who believe in the four Vedas. Their worship reflects their Hindu religion, since they worship typical Hindu deities like Shiva, Vishnu, Laxmi, and Kali. According to their neighboring tribe, the Garos, 'Ha' means soil and 'jong' means insect. Since the Hajongs are mainly agriculturalists, according the Garos, the name Hajong is derived from the above two words, which cumulatively suggest people working with the soil. According to the Hajongs, the word 'Hajong' means dressing up, particularly being attired in battlefield dress.

Although the Hajongs are Hindu by religion, their marriage festivals are not like the Hindus. Prior to marriage, a 'puja' is held worshipping the goddess Padma. Marriages do not take place in the Bengali calendar year months of Jaistha and Bhadra. Priests are not required for marriages, the marriage ceremony being performed by the community Headman. A male person can marry twice or more.

Although the Hajongs, in recent years, are fast losing their cultural identity because of association with the mainstream Bengali-speaking population, they still cling to some of their traditional rituals and customs, including their traditional medicinal practices. This medicinal practice, is to our knowledge, not previously been documented. Indigenous communities, through long association with plants acquired by living in forested areas, possess quite extensive knowledge about the medicinal properties of plants and other denizens of the forest. Documentation of this knowledge is important because many useful modern drugs like atropine, reserpine, strychnine, quinine and artemisinin, to name only a few have come from close observations of indigenous community practices (Balick and Cox, 1996; Cotton, 1996; Gilani and Rahman, 2005). Such information from ethnic groups or indigenous traditional medicine has also played a vital role in the discovery of novel chemotherapeutic agents from plants (Katewa et al., 2004). We had been conducting extensive ethnomedicinal surveys among the traditional practitioners of folk medicine (Kavirajes) in Bangladesh as well as tribal medicinal practitioners (TMPs) of various tribes for the last few years to document this ethnomedicinal knowledge (Nawaz et al., 2009; Rahmatullah et al., 2009a-c; Chowdhury et al., 2010; Hasan et al., 2010; Hossan et al., 2010; Mollik et al., 2010a,b; Rahmatullah et al., 2010a-g; Akber et al., 2011; Biswas et al., 2011a-c; Haque et al., 2011; Islam et al., 2011; Jahan et al., 2011; Rahmatullah et al., 2011a,b; Sarker et al., 2011; Shaheen et al., 2011; Das et al., 2012; Rahmatullah et al., 2012a-d). The objective of the present study was to conduct an ethnomedicinal survey among a Hajong community located in Baromari village of Durgapur Upazila (sub-district) in Netrakona district of Bangladesh. In our previous ethnomedicinal surveys, we have found wide variations in the selection of medicinal plants by Kavirajes living even in adjacent villages, or TMPs of the same tribe but living in different locations. As such, we feel that it is important to survey all TMPs or Kavirajes to get a comprehensive view of medicinal plants used in folk and tribal medicines of Bangladesh.

Materials and Methods

The present survey was conducted among the Hajong community residing in Baromari village of Durgapur Upazila in Netrakona district, Bangladesh. The Hajong community had three TMPs namely Behula Hajong was of 35 years age, Sukhlal Adhikary of 80 years age, and Pithraj Hajong of 50 years age. Informed consent was initially obtained from the TMPs. The TMPs were apprised in details about the purpose of our visit and consent obtained to disseminate the information provided both nationally and internationally. After some initial objections, the TMPs agreed to furnish as much information available to them regarding their traditional medicinal practices. Interbiews were conducted in the Bengali language, which was the language of the interviewers and also spoken and understood by the Hajongs. Actual interviews were conducted with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and the guided filed-walk method of Martin (1995) and Maundu (1995). In this method, the TMPs took the interviewers on guided field-walks through areas from where they collected their medicinal plants, pointed out the plants and described their uses. Plant specimens were photographed and collected from the spot, dried, and brought back to Dhaka for complete identification by Mr. Manjur-Ul-Kadir Mia, ex-Curator and Principal Scientific Officer of the Bangladesh National Herbarium. Information on plant species used by the Hajong community as famine food was collected from various community members and the plant species identified as mentioned above.

Various animal parts or whole animals (like snails) were photographed and the identity of the animals in question established from thorough conversations with the TMPs. The scientific names and proper identification was established from competent authorities.

Results and Discussion

A total of 31 plant species distributed into 21 families was observed to be used by the Hajong TMPs for treatment of various ailments. These are shown in Table 1. Of the 31 plant species used by the TMPs, four could not be identified, suggesting that the hilly forested regions inhabited by the Hajongs may provide more plant species new to science. There were not too many ailments treated by the TMPs. The ailments treated included respiratory tract disorders, pain, cuts and wounds, urinary problems, jaundice, oral lesions, gastrointestinal disorders, tuberculosis, and itches. However, the Hajong healers were also cognizant of complicated diseases like cardiovascular disorders, cancer, and tumor and had specific medicinal plant formulations for their treatment. While cardiovascular disorders were recognized by the TMPs as patients having chest pain or irregular heartbeats, it could not be ascertained with certainty as to how the TMPs diagnosed cancer without any clinical diagnostic procedures. Cancer was defined by the TMPs as gradual wasting away of body without any explainable cause or any disease which the TMPs were not able to diagnose. However, in some instances cancer patients came from a nearby Christian missionary-run hospital where such patients were diagnosed properly. Tumors were defined by the TMPs as unexplained visible swellings; however, sometimes patients diagnosed with tumors were diagnosed as such at the nearby missionary run hospital. What was surprising was that even though the TMPs did not have any proper diagnostic procedures for the afore-mentioned diseases, they somehow had plant species and formulations, which they claimed to be effective treatments against these diseases.

Justicia adhatoda was used by the TMPs for treatment of coughs, chest pain, and pneumonia. It is interesting to note that another reported ethnomedicinal use of leaves of this plant (by the Kannikkar tribals of Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu in India) was for treatment of rheumatic pain (Sutha et al., 2010). The Bodo, Assamese, Nepalese and Adivasi tribals of Manas National Park in Assam of Northeast India use the plant for treatment of stomach disorders (Das et al., 2009). In Ayurvedic medicine, it is used in bronchial, asthmatic, and pulmonary affections (Khare, 2007). The plant contains alkaloids with positive effects on inflammatory diseases (Chakraborty and Brantner, 2001); extract of the plant also has been shown to have anti-tussive effect (Dhuley, 1999), and a bronchodilator alkaloid (vasicinone) has been isolated from the plant (Amin and Mehta, 1959). Achyranthes aspera was used by the Hajong TMPs to treat headache. The mode of treatment was highly unusual, for the roots of this plant were tied with stinging ants to the opposite side of the head where the pain is occurring. In Ayurveda, roots of this plant are used as blood purifier. The antinociceptive property of methanolic extract of leaves of this plant has been described (Barua et al., 2010). The traditional medicinal practitioners of Dhule district in maharashtra, India use the leaves of this plant to treat headache (Patil and Patil, 2007).

Mikania cordata was used by the TMPs to treat cuts and wounds to stop bleeding. The tribals of Mizoram, India also use the plant to treat cuts and wounds (Bhardwaj and Gakhar, 2005). The Hajong TMPs used young leaf of Ananas sativus to treat patients with red color of urine (possibly passing of blood with urine). The fresh fruits of this plant are taken by the Kalanguya tribe in Tinoc, Ifugao, Luxon, Philippines to eliminate pinworms (Balangcod and Balangcod, 2011). The plant is used by traditional medicinal practitioners of Bhopal district in India to treat stone diseases (Agarwal and Varma, 2012). Bark of Terminalia arjuna was used by the Hajong TMPs for treatment of cardiovascular disorders. In Ayurvedic medicine, the bark is also used as cardioprotective and cardiotonic in angina and poor coronary circulation (Khare, 2007). Scientific reports on the cardioprotective effect of this plant include protective effects of plant bark against Doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity (Singh et al., 2008); significant inotropic and hypotensive effect of bark, also increases coronary artery flow and protects myocardium against ischemic damage, reviewed by Dwivedi (2007); protection of rabbit heart by bark against ischemic-reperfusion injury (Gauthaman et al., 2005); cardioprotective effect of alcoholic extract of bark in an in vivo model of myocardial ischemic-reperfusion injury (Karthikeyan et al., 2003); efficacy of the plant in chronic stable angina (Dwivedi and Gupta, 2002; Bharani et al., 2002); beneficial effects of bark of the plant in isolated ischemic-reperfused rat heart (Gauthaman et al., 2001); and beneficial effects in coronary artery disease (significant reductions in anginal frequency) (Dwivedi and Jauhari, 1997).

The TMPs were observed to use whole plants of Cuscuta reflexa to treat jaundice. The TMPs of the Santhal, Kolha, Bathudi, Kharias, Mankidias, Gond and Ho tribes of Mayurbhanj district, Orissa, India use the plant for treatment of fever and malaria (Rout and Panda, 2010). The Jaintia tribe of North Cachar Hills district, Assam, India crushes whole plants of Cuscuta reflexa and applies it to scalp to prevent premature hair fall, graying of hair, and control of dandruff (Sajem and Gosai, 2006). The fruits of Phyllanthus emblica were used by the Hajong TMPs to treat coughs and mucus. The Bagata tribe of Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh, India uses the fruits for treatment of jaundice (Padal et al., 2012). Acacia catechu, used by the Hajong TMPs to treat oral lesions is used by various tribes of Southern Rajasthan, India to treat stomach ache (Meena and Yadav, 2010). In Ayurveda, uses of dried pieces of heartwood are indicated in inflammations, skin diseases, and urinary disorders. The roots of Cassia occidentalis, used by the Hajong TMPs for treatment of leg pain, are used by traditional healers in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, India to treat scabies and heal bone fractures (Muthu et al., 2006). The plant is used for treatment of scabies, ringworm and other skin diseases in Ayurveda.

Suaveolol, a compound isolated from Hyptis suaveolens has been shown to offer gastroprotection against ethanol induced gastric lesions in Wistar rats (Vera-Arzave et al., 2012); the seeds of the plant were used by the Hajong TMPs for flatulence, acidity, and gastric troubles. Tamarindus indica is used by healers of Mayurbhanj district, Orissa to treat diarrhea (Rout and Panda, 2010); the Hajong TMPs use this plant to treat coughs and mucus. Ocimum tenuiflorum, used by the Hajong TMPs to treat cough, cancer and tuberculosis, is used by traditional practitioners in Dhule district of India to treat cold and coughs (Patil and Patil, 2007). In Ayurveda, the leaves of this plant are considered expectorant (Khare, 2007). The bark of Cinnamomum verum is used by the Hajong TMPs to treat asthma and coughs. It is used as herbal therapy for herpes in the ethnomedicine of Coastal Karnataka, India (Bhandary and Chandrashekar, 2011). Elettaria cardamomum and Syzygium aromaticum, also used by the Hajong TMPs to treat asthma and coughs, are used by the Tai-Khamyang tribe of Assam, India to treat gastric trouble (Sonowal and Barua, 2011). The roots of Abutilon indicum are used by the Hajong TMPs to dislodge anything stuck in the throat. The leaves and stem bark of this plant is used by the ethnic people of Medak district, Andhra Pradesh, India to treat leucorrhea, while the stem bark is also used by the same people to treat diarrhea (Reddy et al., 2010). The leaf juice of the plant is used by traditional healers in kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu in India to treat dental problems (Muthu et al., 2006).

Coix lacryma-jobi, used by the Hajong TMPs to treat puerperal fever is used by the traditional healers of sacred groves of Manipur to treat female disorders (Khumbongmayum et al., 2005). Cynodon dactylon, used by the Hajong TMPs to stop bleeding from cuts and wounds has been shown to have wound healing potential (Dande and Khan, 2012). Sida rhombifolia, used by the Hajong TMPs to treat tumor, is used by the Kalanguya tribe of the Philippines to treat mothers during delivery to relieve muscle pain (Balangcod and Balangcod, 2011). Azadirachta indica, used by the Hajong TMPs to treat tooth ache and itches, is used by traditional medicinal practitioners of Mayurbhanj district, Orissa, India to treat skin diseases, nasal bleeding, and fever (Rout and Panda, 2010). In Ayurveda, the plant is also used for treatment of cutaneous infections. The leaves of Clerodendrum viscosum, used by the Hajong TMPs to treat diarrhea, is used by the Jaintia tribe of India to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma (Sajem and Gosai, 2006).

The Hajong TMPs also used various animal parts for multiple purposes, not all of which were diseases. The results are shown in Table 2. Bones of the Bengal fox were worn as an amulet as treatment for 18 types of fever. The bones of Hanuman langur were said to 'close' a house, meaning that the house will remain protected against entry of any evil spirits or thieves. The horn of the Chitral deer was also used to prevent an enemy to enter the house, while the skin of the same animal was used to free stuck jaws. The jaw bone of the Indian elephant was also used to 'close' a house. A snail was used to treat puerperal fever, while the skin of the Indian black bear was used to treat fever with shivering. The use of animal parts in ethnomedicine is not new to the Hajongs. Animals and their products have been reported to be used as medicines by the inhabitants surrounding the Ranthambhore National Park, India (Mahawar and Jaroli, 2006), while such zootherapeutic uses have also been reported for the Saharia tribe of Rajasthan, India (Mahawar and Jaroli, 2007).

Two plant parts were used by the Hajong community as famine food, i.e. consumed during times of food scarcity. These are shown in Table 3. The fruits of Dioscorea bulbifera were boiled and taken with salt, while the tubers of Dioscorea pentaphylla were boiled and also taken with salt. It is to be noted that anti-tumor promoting effect has been found with Dioscorea bulbifera (Gao et al., 2007), as well as anti-hyperglycemic and anti-dyslipidemic activity (Ahmed et al., 2009). Dioscorea pentaphylla is used as an ethnomedicine in Rajasthan, India for treatment of stomach ache (Choudhary et al., 2008). Thus these two plants may be used by the Hajongs as famine foods not only for their nutritive values, but also for their medicinal properties. Note that stomach ache can be a common problem when the person is hungry and without food.

Taken together, the medicinal plants and animal parts used by the Hajong TMPs have been shown to have wide ethnomedicinal uses. Some of the ethnomedicinal uses of the Hajongs also have been scientifically validated. It is of further interest to continue scientific studies to determine whether these plants or animal parts can be the source of newer and better drugs.

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Rahmatullah, M., R. Jahan, M.A. Khatun, F.I. Jahan, A.K. Azad, A.B.M. Bashar, Z.U.M. Miajee, S. Ahsan, N. Nahar, I. Ahmad and M.H. Chowdhury, 2010g. A pharmacological evaluation of medicinal plants used by folk medicinal practitioners of Station Purbo Para Village of Jamalpur Sadar Upazila in Jamalpur district, Bangladesh. American Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 4: 170-195.

Rahmatullah, M., T. Ishika, M. Rahman, A. Swarna, T. Khan, M.N. Monalisa, S. Seraj, S.M. Mou, M.J. Mahal and K.R. Biswas, 2011a. Plants prescribed for both preventive and therapeutic purposes by the traditional healers of the Bede community residing by the Turag River, Dhaka district. American Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 5: 325-331.

Rahmatullah, M., M.N.K. Azam, M.M. Rahman, S. Seraj, M.J. Mahal, S.M. Mou, D. Nasrin, Z. Khatun, F. Islam and M.H. Chowdhury, 2011b. A survey of medicinal plants used by Garo and non-Garo traditional medicinal practitioners in two villages of Tangail district, Bangladesh. American Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 5: 350-357.

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Rahmatullah, M., Z. Khatun, A. Hasan, W. Parvin, M. Moniruzzaman, A. Khatun, M.J. Mahal, M.S.A. Bhuiyan, S.M. Mou and R. Jahan, 2012c. Survey and scientific evaluation of medicinal plants used by the Pahan and Teli tribal communities of Natore district, Bangladesh. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 9: 366-373.

Rahmatullah, M., M.N.K. Azam, Z. Khatun, S. Seraj, F. Islam, M.A. Rahman, S. Jahan, M.S. Aziz and R. Jahan, 2012d. Medicinal plants used for treatment of diabetes by the Marakh sect of the Garo tribe living in Mymensingh district, Bangladesh. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 9: 380-385. Reddy, K.N., G. Trimurthulu and Ch. S. Reddy, 2010. Medicinal plants used by ethnic people of Medak district, Andhra Pradesh. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 9: 184-190. Rout, S.D. and S.K. Panda, 2010. Ethnomedicinal plant resources of Mayurbhanj district, Orissa. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 9: 68-72.

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(1) Md. Arif Khan, (2) Mohammad Nazmul Hasan, (1) Nasreen Jahan, (2) Protiva Rani Das, (2) Md. Tabibul Islam, (2) Md. Shaiful Alam Bhuiyan, (2) Sharmin Jahan, (2) Sophia Hossain, (2) Mohammed Rahmatullah (1) Department of Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering, Mawlana Bhasani Science and Technology University, Santosh-1902, Bangladesh.

(2) Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Development Alternative, Dhanmondi, Dhaka-1205, Bangladesh.

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 Phone: 88-01715032621 Fax: 88-02-8157339

E-mail: rahamatm@hotmail.com
Table 1: Medicinal plants and formulations of the Hajong rs.

Serial   Scientific Name              Family Name        Local Name
Number

1        Justicia adhatoda L.         Acanthaceae        Basok

2        Achyranthes aspera L.        Amaranthaceae      Ubuth nangra

3        Mikania cordata (Burm. f.)   Asteraceae         Refugee lota
         Robinson

4        Ananas sativus Schult. &     Bromeliaceae       Anarosh
         Schult. f.

5        Terminalia arjuna (Roxb.)    Combretaceae       Arjun
         Wight & Arn.

6        Cuscuta reflexa Roxb.        Cuscutaceae        Shorno lota

7        Diospyros toposia            Ebenaceae          Baefol
         Buch.-Ham.

8        Phyllanthus emblica L.       Euphorbiaceae      Aangla

9        Acacia catechu (L. f.)       Fabaceae           Khoyer
         Willd.

10       Cassia occidentalis L.       Fabaceae           Jhi jhi gach

11       Tamarindus indica L.         Fabaceae           Tetul

12       Hyptis suaveolens (L.)       Lamiaceae          Tokma
         Poit.

13       Ocimum tenuiflorum L.        Lamiaceae          Tulsi

14       Cinnamomum verum J. Presl.   Lauraceae          Daruchini

15       Elettaria cardamomum J.      Lauraceae          Elach
         Presl.

16       Abutilon indicum (L.) Sw.    Malvaceae          Koron phool

17       Sida rhombifolia L.          Malvaceae          Bamon mora

18       Azadirachta indica A.        Meliaceae          Neem
         Juss.

19       Syzygium aromaticum (L.)     Myrtaceae          Long
         Merr. & L.M. Perry

20       Coix lacryma-jobi L.         Poaceae            Shek gonj

21       Cynodon dactylon (L.)        Poaceae            Durba ghas
         Pers.

22       Persicaria hydropiper (L.)   Polygonaceae       Bishla koruna
         Delarbre

23       Scoparia dulcis L.           Scrophulariaceae   Dhonia

24       Clerodendrum viscosum        Verbenaceae        Bitu gach
         Vent.

25       Cissus quadrangularis L.     Vitaceae           Harjora

26       Diplazium sylvaticum         Woodsiaceae        Dheki bish
         (Bory) Sw.

27       Zingiber officinale Roscoe   Zingiberaceae      Ada

28       Unidentified                 Unidentified       Kurujni

29       Unidentified                 Unidentified       Jug lewa

30       Unidentified                 Unidentified       Aa-aalra

31       Unidentified                 Unidentified       Somrit

Serial   Utilized        Ailment
Number   Part(s)

1        Leaf            Coughs, chest pain, pneumonia. Leaves of
                         Justicia adhatoda are mixed with five flower
                         buds of Syzygium aromaticum and ginger
                         [rhizomes of Zingiber officinale Roscoe
                         (Zingiberaceae)] and taken orally.

2        Root            Headache. Roots are tied with stinging ants
                         to the head (right side of the head if pain
                         is on the left side and vice versa).

3        Leaf            To stop bleeding from external cuts and
                         wounds. A combination of leaves of Mikania
                         cordata and Cynodon dactylon is macerated
                         and applied to cuts and wounds.

4        Young leaf      Reddish color of urine. Young leaves are
                         chewed twice daily for 6-7 days.

5        Bark            Cardiovascular disorders. Juice obtained
                         from macerated bark is taken in the morning
                         on an empty stomach.

6        Whole plant     Jaundice. Juice obtained from macerated
                         whole plant is mixed with ashes from burnt
                         feathers of yellow colored bird. The
                         decoction is taken once daily for 2-3 days.

7        Fruit           Coughs, mucus. Fruits are burnt and taken
                         with molasses twice daily for 1-2 days.

8        Fruit           Coughs, mucus. Fruits are chewed and orally
                         taken.

9        Wood            Oral lesions. Roots of Diplazium sylvaticum
                         are mixed with pakri khoyer or gach khoyer
                         [produced by boiling the wood of Acacia
                         catechu and then evaporating the resultant
                         brew] and the mixture macerated to obtain
                         juice, which is applied to oral lesions.

10       Root            Leg pain with tingling. Roots are fried in
                         mustard oil and massaged on the leg.

11       Leaf, fruit     Coughs, mucus. Macerated leaves and fruits
                         are taken with molasses.

12       Fruit           Flatulence, acidity, gastric troubles.
                         Fruits are added to water in which mishri
                         (crystalline sugar) has been dissolved and
                         made into a sherbet. The sherbet is taken
                         orally.

13       Leaf, stem      Coughs, cancer, tuberculosis. Juice obtained
                         from macerated leaves is taken for coughs.
                         Stems of the plant are worn as garland
                         around the neck for cancer and tuberculosis.
                         The healers claimed that if such worn, the
                         juice from stems goes inside the body mixed
                         with body sweat and cures cancer and
                         tuberculosis.

14       Bark            Asthma, coughs. Fruits of somrit are mixed
                         with fruits and seeds of Elettaria
                         cardamomum J. Presl. (Lauraceae), bark of
                         Cinnamomum verum J. Presl. (Lauraceae), and
                         flower bud of Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr.
                         & L.M. Perry (Myrtaceae). Pills are made
                         from the macerated mix or juice obtained
                         from the macerated mix. One pill is taken
                         daily for 2-4 days. Alternately, one
                         teaspoon of juice is taken daily for 2-4
                         days. Note that during this time eating of
                         beef or any sour substance is not advised.

15       Fruit, seed     Asthma, coughs. See Serial Number 14.

16       Root            If something gets stuck to the throat. Roots
                         are mixed with ginger, macerated and
                         swallowed.

17       Leaf            Tumor. Paste prepared from leaves and table
                         salt is applied over tumors for 2-4 days.

18       Leaf, stem      Tooth ache, itches. Teeth are brushed with
                         stem to get relief from tooth ache. Leaves
                         are boiled in water and the water used for
                         bathing to get relief from itches.

19       Flower bud      Asthma, coughs. See Serial Number 14.
                         Coughs, chest pain, pneumonia. See Serial
                         Number 1.

20       Root            Puerperal fever. Roots are macerated with
                         ginger and made into a paste and pills
                         prepared from the paste. One pill is taken
                         daily for 2-4 days.

21       Whole plant     To stop bleeding from external cuts and
                         wounds. Macerated whole plant is applied to
                         cuts and wounds. To stop bleeding from
                         external cuts and wounds. See also Serial
                         Number 3.

22       Leaf            Puerperal fever. Leaves are macerated with
                         ginger and pills prepared from the macerated
                         mix. Pills are taken in the morning on an
                         empty stomach (one pill daily for 15-20
                         days). During this time any eating of beef
                         or sour substance is not advised.

23       Leaf            To examine whether a patient has fever.
                         Leaves are mixed with sugar and yogurt and
                         orally taken on an empty stomach. Following
                         urination after taking this mixture, the
                         urine is bottled and examined. Dense urine
                         is indicative of a fever.

24       Leaf            Diarrhea. Juice obtained from macerated leaf
                         is taken once daily for 2 days.

25       Stem, rhizome   Pain due to bone fracture, bone fracture.
                         Paste of stem or rhizome is mixed with
                         grounded ginger and applied as a poultice to
                         the fractured area. The place is then
                         covered and tied with bamboo slices and
                         water applied to the area. The poultice is
                         kept in place for 12-15 days.

26       Root            Oral lesions. See Serial Number 9.

27       Rhizome         Referred to as ginger throughout the Table.
                         See Serial Numbers 1, 16, 20, 22 and 25.

28       Whole plant     Severe pain, inflammation, infections around
                         the corners of nails. Whole plant is tied
                         within a banana leaf and crushed followed by
                         mixing with table salt and boiling. The
                         boiled decoction is then applied to affected
                         areas for one day. In case of pus formation
                         in infections, the pus comes out.

29       Rhizome         Bone fracture in cattle, passing of semen
                         with urine in humans, burning sensations
                         during urination in humans. Rhizome paste is
                         applied to fractured area. Rhizomes are
                         chewed and the juice swallowed for the two
                         human ailments.

30       Leaf            Increased heart beat. Juice obtained from
                         macerated leaf is topically applied to the
                         chest.

31       Fruit           Asthma, coughs. See Serial Number 14.

Table 2: Animal parts used by the Hajong healers for various purposes
including treatment of various ailments.

Serial   Scientific Name                Family Name       Local Name
Number

1        Vulpes bengalensis             Canidae           Khak shiyal
         English: Bengal fox

2        Semnopithecus entellus         Cercopithecidae   Hanuman
         English: Hanuman langur

3        Axis axis                      Cervidae          Horin
         English: Chitral deer

4        Elephas maximus                Elephantidae      Hati
         English: Indian elephant

5        Latirus duplicatus             Fasciolariidae    Shamuk
         English: Many angled spindle
         snail
6        Geoclemys hamiltonii           Geoemydidae       Kachim
         English: Black pond turtle

7        Ursus thibetanus               Ursidae           Bhaluk
         English: Asiatic black
         bear, Indian black bear

Serial   Utilized Part(s)   Ailment
Number

1        Bone               Treatment for 18 types of fever. Bones
                            are worn as amulet.

2        Bone               To 'close' a house. It denotes protecting
                            a house from evil things like 'evil
                            spirits' or simple thievery or any harm.
                            A piece of jaw bone of elephant along
                            with a bone from a hanuman langur is
                            wrapped with a piece of cloth and put in
                            a new vessel, which is covered with a
                            cloth and kept inside the house.

3        Horn, skin         To prevent enemy from entering the house
                            or any harm befalling the house. Horns
                            are kept inside the house. Jaws getting
                            stuck. Macerated skin is orally
                            administered.

4        Jaw bone           To 'close' a house. It denotes protecting
                            a house from evil things like 'evil
                            spirits' or simple thievery or any harm.
                            A piece of jaw bone of elephant along
                            with a bone from a hanuman langur is
                            wrapped with a piece of cloth and put in
                            a new vessel, which is covered with a
                            cloth and kept inside the house.

5        Whole snail        Puerperal fever. Pills made from crushed
                            snail are taken once daily for 2-3 days.

6        Skull              To protect a new baby from any harm. A
                            portion of the skull is put in an amulet
                            and tied around the body of the baby.

7        Skin               Fever with shivering. A small piece of
                            the skin is put in an amulet and tied
                            around the body.

Table 3: Famine food of the Hajong community.

Serial   Scientific Name                   Family Name     Local Name
Number

1        Dioscorea bulbifera L.            Dioscoreaceae   Bon alu
         English: Air potato, Bitter yam

2        Dioscorea pentaphylla L.          Dioscoreaceae   Pora alu
         English: Five leaf yam

Serial   Utilized Part(s)   Mode of
Number                      consumption

1        Fruit              Fruits are boiled and taken with salt.

2        Tuber              Tubers are boiled and taken with salt.
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Title Annotation:Original Articles
Author:Khan, Md. Arif; Hasan, Mohammad Nazmul; Jahan, Nasreen; Das, Protiva Rani; Islam, Md. Tabibul; Bhuiy
Publication:American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:Oct 1, 2012
Words:6905
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