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Ethnomedicinal wisdom of the Tripura tribe of Comilla district, Bangladesh: a combination of medicinal plant knowledge and folk beliefs.

Introduction

A number of indigenous communities are present in Bangladesh. While previous estimates put the number of these communities as less than twenty, recent ethnographic data suggests that the number may exceed even one hundred and fifty. Most of these communities are small and on the verge of assimilation with the Bengali-speaking mainstream population of the country. However, these communities are to a small or large extent still trying their best to maintain their unique cultural traditions, which include their traditional medicinal practices. However, it has to be admitted that most of their cultural traditions are getting diluted by external influences, more so because a number of these indigenous communities have converted to Christianity. Some have converted also to the Muslim religion. The intermingling of Christian, Muslim and indigenous cultures are slowly causing the gradual disappearance of tribal customs and beliefs.

Bangladesh has a small area but is rich in floral species. More than 5,000 floral species have been reported for this country and the number is increasing as more and more parts of the country are being thoroughly studied. Plants produce phytochemicals; many of the phytochemicals have found uses in allopathic medicine as cure for various ailments. Prior to a phytochemical being used as drug, it has to go through a number of pharmacological, toxicological and clinical studies. This makes the process time consuming and laborious. On the other hand, indigenous communities have a long history of using plants as medicines. As a result, close observation of any indigenous communities' medicinal practices can enable a modern scientist to screen a particular plant for treatment of a specific ailment and to isolate and identify the relevant bio-active compound. Indeed, many important allopathic drugs, e.g. quinine or artemisinin, have been discovered in this manner.

Towards a thorough documentation of the medicinal potential of the country's plant species, we have been conducting ethnomedicinal surveys among the tribal medicinal practitioners (TMPs) and the traditional folk medicinal practitioners (Kavirajes) of the country for a number of years (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; Hasan et al., 2012; Hossan et al., 2012; Khan et al., 2012; Rahmatullah et al., 2012a-d; Sarker et al., 2012). This has resulted in building up a medicinal plant data base of over 800 medicinal plants of the country, and the number is steadily increasing with newer ethnomedicinal surveys in newer regions and tribes of the country. The objective of the present study was to conduct an ethnomedicinal survey among the Tripura tribal community residing in Comilla district.

Materials and Methods

This study was conducted in Comilla Sadar Thana area of Comilla district. A Tipra Para was in the area. The Tripura tribe is also known as the Tipra tribe and Para means village. The community had two TMPs, one of whom was a Muslim and has joined the tribe and has been accepted by the tribe as one of the tribal community. The other was Hindu by religion and by birth was a tribal community member. Their particulars are given below.

1. Kamal Hossain, Muslim but has joined the tribe and is now considered as a member, age over 40 years, Comilla Cantonment Area, Kotbari, Comilla Sadar Thana, Comilla district

2. Subrata Tripura, age over 55 years, Tipra Para, Jammura, Comilla Sadar Thana, Comilla district

Informed consent was first obtained from the two TMPs. The TMPs were told about the purpose of our visit and consent obtained to disseminate any information obtained in national and international publications. A number of visits were made to the tribe to get acquainted with the TMPs and the tribal people and to build up rapport with them.

The TMPs could speak fluent Bengali and interviews of the TMPs were conducted in Bengali, which was also the language of the interviewers. Actual interviews were conducted with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and the guided field-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 on the spot, pressed, 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.

Results and Discussion

The Tripura tribe is also known as Tipra or Tirpa tribe. Currently, they use the Bengali language for everyday use. However, they have their own language, which is known as Kokborok. Kok means language, and borok means humans in Tripura language, so the whole word translates into language of human beings.

The Tripuras claim to have come to their present dwelling place from Agartola in Tripura district of India. It is to be noted that during British rule in India and prior to partition in 1947, Comilla district of present Bangladesh used to be part of Tripura State of then undivided India. Following partition in 1947, Comilla district became part of the then East Pakistan, the eastern part of Pakistan. Since 1947, the Tripuras have settled in Comilla district. The Tripuras reside in the southwest region of Comilla district among the Jammura and Lalmai Hills. Generally 15-20 families reside in any given area. At present, 40-50 families are residing among the Jammura and Lalmai Hills.

The Tripuras are 'Sonaton' Hindus by religion. However, some have converted to Christianity and a minority section has become Muslims. As a result of staying among the mainstream Bengali-speaking population, the Tripuras have now adopted a large portion of Bengali culture. Previously, when their present dwelling place used to be densely forested, the Tripuras used to live in houses made of bamboos called 'machangs'. The main house would be built about 5 feet from ground level. Nowadays they live like other Bengali-speaking people in houses built on level land. Their houses are now built from either tin or soil.

On the whole, the Tripuras are economically poor. Their main occupation is agriculture. They cultivate on the slopes of hills, which is known as 'jhum' cultivation. In this form of cultivation, two or more crops are cultivated in the same field. The different crops are harvested at different time periods, when the particular crop has matured and is ready for harvesting. Following one cultivation period, cultivation is not done on the same tract of land for a number of years. During this time, the Tripuras burn bamboo and other plants and trees on the previously cultivated land and mix the ashes with the soil. The burning process on the land also gets rid of soil pests and increases the fertility of the soil. Those Tripuras who cultivate on plain land cultivate like the Bengali settlers, i.e. they use the same land for cultivation year after year. Some Tripuras own shops in two nearby markets known as Cantonment Market and Saber Market. Women from some Tripura familes also nowadays augment the family income through weaving clothes and making other utensils at home.

Because of staying for a long time with the Bengali-speaking population, the Tripuras currently do not perform their previous festivals and rituals. However, some festivals are performed, among which the main festivals are 'Baishu' or New Year festival and performing various types of dances on occasions. New Year festival is celebrated on the last two days of the Bengali month of Chaitra and the first day of the Bengali month of Baishakh. Notably, Chaitra and Baisakh are, respectively, the last and the first month of the Bengali calendar. The last two days of Chaitra month are known as 'Hari Baishu'. The Tripura tribal people during these two days collect wild flowers from the forests and decorate their houses and domesticated animals with these flowers. Domesticated animals hold special importance to the Tripura tribal people for they help to augment their income. As a result the Tripuras consider domesticated animals as representatives of the Creator. They bathe the animals and decorate them in a well-mannered fashion during the New Year festival. Preparations for the Baiushu festival start from the day before the festival. At this time the females wear special dresses known as 'ragni', 'rija', and 'rikutu'. Males wear dhotis, a traditional Hindu dress worn around the loins. On this day, the females also prepare various delicious items from powdered rice. Many females collect the leaves of a plant known as 'laiju', which leaves are used to prepare a special type of pitha (a sweet dish made from rice powder or wheat powder) known as 'awan-bang-uee'. On the day of Baishu, the females wake up in the morning before the crowing of the cock; clean their houses, bathe, and perform 'lampra' worship. Then they prepare a variety of dishes. Relatives visit to and from between the houses.

Other religious festivals of the Tripuras include 'kharchi' puja (worship), 'ker' puja, 'goria' puja and 'ganga' puja. Kharchi puja takes place in the month of July. During this time, the Tripuras offer goats and pigeons as sacrifices. Usually two weeks after the kharchi puja, ker puja takes place. Ker puja is performed to bring well-being to the house and household members. Goria puja is done by all Tripuras. During this puja, chickens are sacrificed. Ganga puja is conducted during harvesting of crops.

The two TMPs were observed to use a total of 31 plants in their various medicinal formulations. These plant species are shown in Table 1 and the various plants were distributed into 25 families. The various formulations of the practitioners were used for treatment of a variety of ailments, which included fever, coughs, swellings, skin infections, bleeding from external cuts and wounds, pain, diabetes, jaundice, spleen disorders, constipation, rheumatism, to lessen pain and blood loss during child delivery, vomiting, helminthiasis, enlargement of liver, dysentery, diarrhea, allergy, and asthma.

A review of the scientific literature demonstrated that a number of plants used by the Tripura TMPs could be justified in their uses through available scientific reports on pharmacological properties of whole plant extracts or individual plant components. For instance, the use of Andrographis paniculata and its constituent, andrographolide for treatment of fever has been reviewed (Jarukamjorn and Nemoto, 2008); notably, the plant was observed to be used by the Tripura TMPs for treatment of fever. Justicia adhatoda was used by the TMPs for treatment of coughs and tuberculosis; the efficacy of this plant in the treatment of both the above ailments has also been reviewed (Dhankar et al., 2011).

The Tripura TMPs used a combination of plants, namely, Spilanthes paniculata, Andrographis paniculata, Coccinia grandis, Cosmos bipinnatus, and Justicia adhatoda for treatment of diabetes. Bio-active metabolites isolated from Spilanthes paniculata included scopoletin, which is known for its anti-diabetic properties (Prachayasittikul et al., 2009). Anti-diabetic property of ethanolic extract of Andrographis paniculata in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats has also been described (Zhang and Tan, 2000). The blood sugar lowering efficacy of leaves of Coccinia grandis has also been reported (Munasinghe et al., 2011). Cosmos bipinnatus flowers have reportedly strong anti-oxidant properties (Yashaswini et al., 2011), which can be beneficial for diabetic patients, for diabetes induces oxidative stress. The anti-diabetic activities of leaf and root extracts of Justicia adhatoda against alloxan-induced diabetes in rats has been reported (Gulfraz et al., 2011). Taken together, the scientific reports suggest that the plants in combination can give strong anti-diabetic and antioxidant effects, which can prove beneficial for the treatment of diabetic patients, and lowering any high blood sugar levels in these patients. The results also point towards the deep knowledge of medicinal plant properties among the Tripura TMPs; they used five plants in combination for treatment of diabetes, and all five plants have been scientifically shown to have beneficial effects against this disease, which demonstrates that the indigenous medicinal practices of various indigenous communities should not be ignored, but rather well studied towards possible discovery of novel drugs.

Ricinus communis was used by the TMPs for treatment of constipation. The oil obtained from seeds of this plant is known as castor oil, and has been used as a laxative in many countries of the world as a laxative. Desmodium gangeticum was used by the TMPs for treatment of rheumatism; the plant is used for the same purpose by the rural poor of South Kerala, India (Ijinu et al., 2011). Moreover, the plant contains salicin, which reportedly inhibits cyclooxygenase activity, which may prove beneficial in alleviation of inflammation and pain associated with rheumatism (Srivastava et al., 2013). The anti-tussive activity of Ocimum tenuiflorum has been reported (Nadig and Laxmi, 2005), a plant used by the TMPs for treatment of coughs. TheTripura TMPs used Sida rhombifolia and Mangifera indica to treat jaundice; Sida rhombifolia is traditionally used in Arunachal Pradesh, India for cure of jaundice (Shankar et al., 2012), while Mangifera indica is used in parts of Africa for the same purpose (Madunagu et al., 1990).

Available scientific reports thus suggest that the Tripura TMPs possessed considerable knowledge on the medicinal properties of plants, and a number of the plant used by them for treatment of specific ailments can be seen to be validated on the basis of scientific investigation of the pharmacological properties of whole plants or isolated individual constituents. On the other hand, there were several instances where the formulations appeared to lack scientific basis and can be considered as based on traditional folk beliefs. For instance, stems of Achyranthes aspera were sliced into small pieces and made into a garland using the stem of Cuscuta reflexa, which was worn around the head for treatment of jaundice. The garland was said to get bigger with the passing of days, and the more the garland increased in length, the more the jaundiced patient supposedly got cured. It is difficult to visualize how such a treatment can cure jaundice. However, since the process took generally 20-25 days, it is very much possible that the jaundiced patient got cured during this time by himself or herself, and the use of the garland merely had a placebo effect to soothe the mind of the patient and install in the patient a belief that this process is really a healing process. Development of confidence in the patient on the treatment used is also vital in allopathic medicine and quickens the healing process if a firm belief in the efficacy of the medicine can be instilled in the patient.

For treatment of respiratory difficulties, stems of Streblus asper were also advised by the TMPs to be worn around the neck as garland. The garland has to be worn for around 20-21 days and possibly results in the same placebo effect as described above. A remote possibility, however, could be release of phytochemicals from the stem as it dries up over time, and since the garland is worn around the neck, such phytochemicals may be inhaled by the patient and which can be an effective for cure of jaundice. Nevertheless, as mentioned before, this possibility is remote and needs to be scientifically proven. The TMPs advised swallowing a whole cockroach within a piece of banana and which also contained powdered roots of Datura metel as treatment for asthma. Swallowing of cockroaches is a popular belief among Bangladesh folk medicinal practitioners and rural households as an effective treatment for asthma. Whether such treatment is effective also needs to be scientifically proven. It may be mentioned in this connection that various practitioners advise swallowing different species of cockroaches. The TMPs, however, in their treatment, also used roots of Datura metel, which can have an intoxicating or sedative effect depending on the amount used, and the roots can provide temporary relief to the asthmatic patient through this intoxicating and/or sedative effect.

Overall, it may be concluded that despite some folk beliefs or superstitions entering the treatment methods of the Tripura TMPs, most other plants used by the TMPs for treatment warrants further scientific studies towards discovery of possibly newer and more efficacious drugs.

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Himadri Goswami, Md. Rockybul Hassan, Habibur Rahman, Enamul Islam, Md. Asaduzzaman, Muyeed Ahamed Prottoy, Syeda Seraj, Mohammed Rahmatullah

Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Development Alternative, Dhanmondi, Dhaka-1209, 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 Ph: 88-01715032621 Fax: 88-02-8157339 E mail: rahamatm@hotmail.com
Table 1: Medicinal plants and formulations of the Tripura tribe
residing in Comilla district, Bangladesh.

Serial
Number    Scientific Name        Family Name

1         Andrograph             Acanthaceae
          is paniculata
          Burm. f.

2         Justicia adhatoda L.   Acanthaceae

3         Achyranthes            Amaranthaceae
          aspera L.

4         Amaranthus             Amaranthaceae
          spinosus L.

5         Crinum                 Amaryllidaceae
          asiaticum L.

6         Mangifera indica L.    Anacardiaceae

7         Alstonia scholaris     Apocynaceae
          (L.) R. Br.

8         Cosmos bipinnatus      Asteraceae
          Cav.

9         Mikania                Asteraceae
          cordata
          (Burm. f.)

10        Spilanthes             Asteraceae
          paniculata Wall.
          ex DC.

11        Terminalia arjuna      Combretaceae
          (Roxb) W. & A.

12        Kalanchoe pinnata      Crassulaceae
          (Lam.) Pers.

13        Brassica nigra         Cruciferae
          (L.) Koch

14        Coccinia grandis       Cucurbitaceae
          (L.) Voigt

15        Cuscuta reflexa        Cuscutaceae
          Roxb.

16        Cyperus rotundus L.    Cyperaceae

17        Ricinus communis L.    Euphorbiaceae

18        Desmodium              Fabaceae
          gangeticum (L.) DC.

19        Mentha spicata L.      Lamiaceae

20        Ocimum                 Lamiaceae
          tenuiflorum L.

21        Sida rhombifolia L.    Malvaceae

22        Azadirachta indica     Meliaceae
          A. Juss.

23        Streblus asper         Moraceae
          Lour.

24        Syzygium aromaticum    Myrtaceae
          (L.) Merr. & L.M.
          Perry

25        Sesamum indicum L.     Pedaliaceae

26        Nigella sativa L.      Ranunculaceae

27        Xeromphis              Rubiaceae
          spinosa (Thunb.)
          Keay

28        Aegle                  Rutaceae
          marmelos
          (L.) Corr.

29        Glycosmis              Rutaceae
          pentaphylla
          (Retz.)

30        Datura                 Solanaceae
          metel L.

31        Zingiber               Zingiberaceae
          officinale Roscoe

Serial
Number    Local Name             Parts used

1         Chirota                Leaf, Flower

2         Bashok                 Leaf, root, flower

3         Uth lengra             Stem

4         Kata maira             Leaf

5         Go roshun              Leaf, fruit

6         Aam                    Leaf

7         Chaitani               Sap

8         Cosmos                 Flower petal

9         Ripugee lota           Stem

10        Dol kurum              Flower, leaf

11        Arjun                  Bark

12        Pathor kuchi           Leaf

13        Shorisha               Seed oil

14        Kala kochu             Leaf, stem, fruit

15        Swarno lota            Stem

16        Badar chora            Bark, root

17        Veron, Verenda         Seed oil

18        Chalani                Whole plant

19        Bala pata              Leaf

20        Tulshi                 Leaf

21        Biledi                 Root, whole plant

22        Neem                   Leaf, Stem

23        Harba                  Leaf, stem

24        Lobongo                Dried floral bud

25        Til                    Seed oil

26        Kalo jeera             Seed

27        Monkata                Fruit, thorn

28        Bael                   Fruit

29        Hodig gila             Leaf, stem

30        Dhutura                Leaf, root

31        Ada                    Rhizome

Serial    Disease, Symptoms, Formulations,
Number    and Administration

1         Fever arising suddenly during the night. 250g
          leaves are thoroughly cleaned and added to
          300g water and boiled on an earthen oven.
          When the water has evaporated by
          approximately half, the mixture is strained
          to separate leaves from the decoction. 3-4
          teaspoonfuls of the decoction are orally
          administered twice daily, in the morning on
          an empty stomach and following the afternoon
          meal. This is continued for 3-5 days.
          Also see Serial Numbers 7, 10.

2         Coughs. 1 kg of leaves is thoroughly boiled
          in 1 poa (local measure approximating 250g)
          water. The mixture is then strained to
          separate the liquid from the solid portions.
          One teaspoonful of the liquid portion is
          orally taken with honey thrice daily till cure.
          Tuberculosis. Two to three raw roots
          and flowers are chewed on an empty stomach
          once daily. At the same time, it has to be
          ensured that the patient gets a
          well-balanced diet. Also see Serial
          Number 10.

3         See Serial Number 15.

4         See Serial Number 21.

5         Swelling of toe or leg fingers. At first,
          leaves of Crinum asiaticum are collected and
          thoroughly cleaned. Leaves are then crushed
          to obtain juice, which is mixed with oil
          obtained from seeds of Ricinus communis. The
          combination is warmed and massaged thoroughly
          on the swelled fingers or toes. Also see
          Serial Number 27.

6         See Serial Number 21.

7         Skin infections. 5 tolas of sap of Alstonia
          scholaris are mixed with 5 tolas of pure
          mustard oil (oil obtained from seeds of
          Brassica nigra). The mixture is warmed for
          15-20 minutes when it forms a cream. The
          infected area on the skin is thoroughly
          cleaned and the cream is applied to the area.
          Generally this is done for about a month.
          During this time, the patient is advised to
          drink water in which leaves of Andrographis
          paniculata has been soaked. During this time,
          any eating of beef, eggs and any type of fish
          is forbidden.

8         See Serial Number 10.

9         Bleeding from external cuts and wounds. Juice
          is obtained from crushed stems. The wounded
          area is then thoroughly cleaned and the
          juice topically applied. Then the place is
          bandaged with a clean cloth.

10        Toothache. 2-3 flowers are chewed 5-6 times
          daily and orally taken. This process will
          give a pungent taste to the mouth.
          Diabetes. Leaves and flowers of Spilanthes
          paniculata are mixed with flowers of
          Andrographis paniculata, leaves of Coccinia
          grandis, and flower petals of Cosmos
          bipinnatus. The combination is crushed to
          obtain juice. At the same time leaves of
          Andrographis paniculata and Justicia adhatoda
          are thoroughly dried and powdered. The
          powder and the juice are then mixed together.
          Pills prepared from the mixture are taken
          once daily (one pill per dose) for 21
          consecutive days on an empty stomach.

11        Heart disorders, fluttering of heart. One kg
          of bark is boiled with 1 kg of cow milk till
          the liquid evaporates. Then the bark is dried
          in a cool place. The bark is then powdered in
          a 'haman dista'. One spoonful of this powder
          is orally administered to the patient in the
          morning and evening with one spoonful of
          honey. This is done consecutively for 30
          days.

12        Kidney stones. One poa of leaves is mixed
          with one poa camphor and 3 liters water and
          boiled till the volume is about 2 liters.
          Then the decoction is cooled and strained
          through a piece of cloth. One cup of the
          strained liquid portion is taken orally
          thrice daily for 21 consecutive days. The
          patient is then asked to urinate in a clear
          pot and the pot is inspected to determine
          whether the stone has come out.

13        See Serial Numbers 7, 18, 27.

14        Diabetes. Leaves and stems are cleaned and
          crushed in a 'haman dista' (iron mortar and
          pestle, manufactured locally) with a little
          water to obtain juice. The juice is regularly
          taken orally to keep blood sugar under
          control. The amount of juice to be taken
          daily is determined by the Kaviraj. Fruits
          are fried in soybean oil and eaten as
          vegetable to also control diabetes. Also see
          Serial Number 10.

15        Jaundice. The stems of Achyranthes aspera are
          first sliced into small pieces. The slices
          are made into a garland with the stem of
          Cuscuta reflexa. The garland is worn around
          the head by the jaundiced patient. The
          garland slowly gets bigger with time and
          reaches the legs. The more the garland gets
          bigger, the more the jaundiced patient gets
          cured. Generally it takes 20-25 days.

16        Splenic disorders. One kg bark is boiled in 3
          kg water for 2-2.5 hours. 1/2 cup of the
          water is taken daily orally for 21 days.
          Indigestion. Juice obtained from crushed root
          is orally taken.

17        The seeds are first thoroughly cleaned and
          then crushed followed by boiling with water.
          Oil within seeds will then float on the
          water. The water is dried and the oil
          collected for treatment of various ailments.
          To lessen pain and blood loss during delivery
          of pregnant women. 1/2 tola oil is mixed with 1
          tola water and orally administered to
          pregnant women during delivery.
          Constipation. Vegetables are fried in
          1 tola oil and eaten.
          Skin infections. 1 tola of seed oil from
          Ricinus communis is mixed with one tola of
          seed oil from Sesamum indicium to make a
          cream. The cream is then applied topically to
          affected areas of skin with a piece of
          cotton. Note that nail scratching has to be
          avoided during application of the skin. Also
          see Serial Numbers 5, 18.

18        Rheumatism. Whole plants are thoroughly
          cleaned and slightly crushed in a 'haman
          dista'. The juice obtained following crushing
          is then put in an earthen vessel and boiled
          in with water. This process releases oil from
          the juice, which floats on the water. The
          boiling is continued till the water
          evaporates leaving the oil in the vessel. The
          oil is then thoroughly applied to the parts
          of the body affected with rheumatism.
          Occasionally, oil obtained in the above
          manner from Desmodium gangeticum whole plant
          is mixed with oil obtained from seeds of
          Ricinus communis and mustard oil (oil
          obtained from seeds of Brassica nigra) to
          improve its effectiveness.

19        Continuous vomiting. Two teaspoonfuls of
          juice obtained from crushed leaves are orally
          taken thrice daily. Foul odor in mouth. Two
          clean leaves are thoroughly chewed followed
          by gargling of mouth with clean water. The
          mouth will then feel cold and fresh.

20        Coughs. Leaves of Ocimum tenuiflorum are
          crushed or macerated to obtain juice. One
          teaspoonful of juice is taken orally with
          honey, ginger slices (rhizome of Zingiber
          officinale), and dried floral buds of
          Syzygium aromaticum thrice daily.

21        Helminthiasis. Roots of Sida rhombifolia are
          dried and powdered and mixed with powdered
          seeds of Nigella sativa. A little amount of
          pure mustard oil is added to the mixture and
          thoroughly mixed. Pills are prepared from the
          mixture and dried thoroughly under the sun.
          Pills are kept in a tight container. Two
          pills are taken orally daily in the morning
          with slices of rhizomes of Zingiber
          officinale till cure. Jaundice (arising from
          hepatic disorders). Whole plants of Sida
          rhombifolia are crushed with a little water
          in a 'haman dista' (iron mortar and pestle,
          manufactured locally) with leaves of
          Amaranthus spinosus and leaves of Mangifera
          indica. The juice obtained from the crushed
          mixture is collected. One glass of the juice
          is taken orally every morning on an empty
          stomach for one week.

22        Skin disorders. Leaves are boiled in water
          followed by bathing in the water.
          Alternately, affected areas of the skin are
          thoroughly washed in warm water daily. At the
          same time, pills made from macerated young
          leaves are dried under the sun. Two pills are
          taken daily for 7 days.
          Tooth infections, foul odor in mouth. Teeth
          are brushed with stems. This process also
          removes foul odor from the mouth.

23        Coughs. One teaspoonful of juice obtained
          from crushed leaves is taken thrice daily
          with talmishri (crystalline sugar prepared
          from sap of Borassus flabellifer L.
          (Arecaceae) till cure. Respiratory
          difficulties. Stems are worn as garland
          around the neck. This is generally done for
          20-21 days and by this time the patient is
          usually cured.
          To remove fear from mind. Juice obtained from
          crushed leaves of Streblus asper and
          Xeromphis spinosa is taken orally.

24        See Serial Number 20.

25        See Serial Number 17.

26        See Serial Number

27        Enlargement of liver. Ripe fruits are
          collected and soaked in mustard oil (oil
          obtained from seeds of Brassica nigra) and
          for 15-20 days kept in the sun for drying.
          Pickles are then made from the dried fruits.
          2-3 fruit pickles are taken each day. Note
          that the fruits are sweet in taste.
          Alternately, 7 thorns of Xeromphis spinosa
          and fruits of Crinum asiaticum are cleaned
          and placed on the patient's navel. Then a
          flame is lit in an earthen vessel containing
          ghee (clarified butter) and also placed on
          the patient's navel. Then the name of the
          patient and the name of the disease are
          uttered. Then the patient's name is written
          on a thorn and each thorn is individually
          stuck into one fruit. The thorn pierced
          fruits are then placed over an oven. The more
          the fruit dries up, the more the patient
          improves. Generally this process is done over
          7 days. Also see Serial Number 23.

28        Dysentery. Young fruits are cut in to small
          pieces and dried under the sun. 2-3 of the
          dried pieces are soaked in water and the
          mixture taken orally with molasses. Depending
          on the severity, the treatment can be
          continued up till 7 days. During this period
          of treatment, the patient is forbidden to eat
          Tenualosa ilisha Family: Clupeidae, local
          name: ilish, English name: hilsa) fish or
          beef.
          Diarrhea. This medication is given to
          patients without informing the patient. One
          tola (local measure approximating 12.5g) of
          the hard skin of the fruit is powdered and
          mixed with a little amount of mustard oil.
          Pills are prepared from the mixture. Pills
          are taken thrice daily for 7 days. During
          this treatment period, patients are forbidden
          to eat fruits of Tamarindus indica L.
          (Family: Fabaceae, local name: tetul, English
          name: tamarind).

29        Helminthiasis. One poa of leaves and 3 tolas
          of water are boiled in an earthen stove till
          the amount reaches 2 tolas. The decoction is
          then strained to separate leaves from the
          liquid portion. One teaspoonful of the liquid
          is orally taken at night for 3 consecutive
          days. Note that the patient should be more
          than 10 years old. Tooth infections, swelling
          of gums. Teeth are brushed with stems.

30        Allergy. Leaves are dried and powdered. A
          little amount of pure mustard oil or honey is
          then mixed with the powder. Pills prepared
          from the mixture are dried in the sun. One
          pill is administered orally in the morning
          each day till cure.
          Asthma. Roots are collected, washed,
          thoroughly dried and powdered.
          A banana is then halved and a small
          hole made in one of the halves. Half teaspoon
          of powder and a small cockroach (Ectobius
          pallidus, tawny cockroach, Blatellidae) is
          then put inside the half and the halves
          joined by pressing the halves together. The
          banana is then orally administered to the
          patient.

31        See Serial Numbers 20, 21.
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Title Annotation:Original Articles
Author:Goswami, Himadri; Hassan, Md. Rockybul; Rahman, Habibur; Islam, Enamul; Asaduzzaman, Md.; Prottoy, M
Publication:American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:Apr 1, 2013
Words:7214
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