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Medicinal plant knowledge of a folk medicinal practitioner in Aria Bazar village, Bogra district, Bangladesh.

INTRODUCTION

Folk medicine practice is possibly the oldest form of traditional medicinal practices in

Bangladesh. This practice is similar to tribal medicinal practices; the only difference between the two is that folk medicinal practitioners, otherwise known as Kavirajes, cater to the mainstream Bengali-speaking population, while tribal medicinal practitioners are limited in their practice to their specific tribe. However, both types of practitioners rely mainly on medicinal plants for treatment of diverse diseases.

We had been conducting ethnomedicinal surveys among folk and tribal medicinal practitioners for several years [1,49,9,14,15,39,40, 53,2,7,12,17,18,60,63, 64,10,13,16,27,48,62,4,41]. In our surveys, we have noticed that the selection of medicinal plants to treat any specific disease can vary widely between practitioners of even the same village or area. As such, to obtain a comprehensive view of the medicinal plants of Bangladesh, one needs to conduct survey among as many Kavirajes as possible. The objective of the present survey was to interview a Kaviraj practicing at Aria Bazar Village in Bogra District of Bangladesh as to the diseases treated and his choice of medicinal plants.

Materials and Methods

There was one practicing Kaviraj at Aria Bazar Village, named Nannu, male by gender, and practicing by his own admission for a number of years. The Kaviraj was observed to treat both human diseases as well as cattle diseases. Prior Informed Consent was first obtained from the Kaviraj. The Kaviraj was explained the full purpose of our visit and consent obtained to disseminate any information provided in both national and international venues. Actual interviews were conducted with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and the guided field-walk method of Martin [37] and Maundu [38]. In this method, the Kaviraj took the interviewers on guided field-walks through areas from where he collected his 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 to be identified at the Bangladesh National Herbarium. Detailed information was obtained from the Kaviraj in evening sessions when convenient with the help of the semi-structured questionnaire and open-ended interviews where the Kaviraj spoke at length on various medicinal plants and diseases treated. All information was noted down carefully.

Results and Discussion

The Kaviraj was observed to use a total of 20 medicinal plants distributed into 14 families in his medicinal formulations. These plants were used to treat diseases in humans like skin disorders, weakness, coughs, mucus, fever, colds, loss of appetite, cancer, hair loss, pain, helminthiasis, gastrointestinal disorders, burns, snake bite, sexual diseases, and poisoning. The results are shown in Table 1.

The Kaviraj was observed to use three plants for treatment of cattle diseases, which included sprain, diarrhea, swelling of throat, and bone fracture in cattle. Among the three plants, one plant, namely Clerodendruminfortunatum was used for treatment of helminthiasis, diarrhea, and poisoning in humans, as well as swelling of throat in cattle. The other two plants, Acanthus ilicifolius and Alternantherasessilis were used only for treatment in cattle. Notably, like Clerodendruminfortunatum, Alternantherasessilis was also used for swelling of throat in cattle.

The Kaviraj did not treat many diseases. Also, the Kaviraj did not use multiple plants in his formulations. However, some diseases like diarrhea, helminthiasis, and skin disorders in humans were treated with more than one plant. The Kaviraj also claimed to treat cancer, but could not specify the type of cancer treated or as to how the cancer was diagnosed. According to him, patients diagnosed with cancer in the terminal stage through allopathic methods, came to him for treatment, and he has found beneficial results with the use of the plant, Wedeliachinensis. It is interesting to note that scientific studies have shown the beneficial effects of this plant in several types of cancer. Phytochemical constituents of the plant have been shown to synergistically suppress androgen activity and growth in prostate cancer cells and nude mice [33,68]. Antioxidant activity of essential oils of the plant has been observed in vitro and in vivo lung cancer bearing C57BL/6 mice [36]. The plant has also been shown to inhibit nasopharyngeal carcinoma CNE-1 cell growth by inducing G2/M arrest in a Chk1-dependent pathway [34].

The above example suggests that despite the persistent belief among a sizeable section of scientists and allopathic doctors, that Kaviraj practice is mere quackery, in reality the Kavirajes may possess knowledge gained through generations-old practice of medicinal plants, which modern science can explore with possible discovery of lead compounds or new drugs from these plants. As such the various plants used by the Kaviraj merit further scientific research. In fact, other plants used by the Kavirak have been found to be validated in their uses through scientific and/or ethnomedicinal reports. For instance, Cassia alata was used by the Kaviraj to treat skin disorders. The plant is also used in Nigeria for treatment of skin diseases [5].Leaves of the plant are used to treat versicularis in Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu, India [67]. In vitro antifungal activity of extract of flowers from the plant has also been reported against Aspergillusflavus, Aspergillusparasiticus, Fusariumoxysporum, Helminthosporiumoryzae, Candida albicans, and Microsporumaudouinni [1]. A combination of ethnomedicinal consensus and scientific evidences suggest that the plant may be a good source of antimicrobial agents, which can inhibit skin diseases-causing fungi and bacteria.

Crinum asiaticum was used by the Kaviraj for treatment of coughs, mucus and fever. The plant is used by the Tripuri tribal practitioners of India for treatment of tonsillitis [35]. The Baiga tribal people of AmarkantakMeikal forest of Madhya Pradesh, India use the plant for treatment of ear pain and fever [23]. The seeds of Swertiachirata were used by the Kaviraj to treat joint pain. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities have been reported for ethanolic extract of roots of the plant [11]. Analgesic activity has also been reported for methanol extract of whole plant of Swertiachirata [65]. Analgesic activity has further been reported for ethanolic extract of leaves and stems of the plant [3].

All of the above goes to show that Kavirajes of Bangladesh may possess medicinal plant knowledge, which can be of benefit to human beings. As such, thorough documentation of Kaviraj practices and further scientific research is necessary on the medicinal plants used by the Kavirajes.

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Momotaz Moonmoon, Shafat Ara Islam, Sadia Tun Jannat Bristy, Mahabuba Binta Kader, Shyla Akhter, Shemul Kumar P.K., Syeed Tanbhir Ahmed, Md. Parvej Mosharaf, Mostafi Jumrut Mahal, Mohammed Rahmatullah

Faculty of Life Sciences University of Development Alternative Dhanmondi, Dhaka- 1209, Bangladesh

Received: 25 April 2014; Revised: 20 May 2014; Accepted: 25 May 2014; Available online: 28 June 2014

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: 02-9136285 Fax: 02-8157339 E-mail: rahamatm@hotmail.com
Table 1: Medicinal plants and formulations of the Kaviraj of
Aria Bazar Village of Bogra District, Bangladesh.

Serial       Scientific           Family           Local        Parts
Number          Name               Name             Name         used

1             Acanthus         Acanthaceae        Hargoja        Leaf
           ilicifolius L.

2          Aervasanguino      Amaranthaceae       Bishjhun      Whole
          lenta (L.) Blume                                      plant

3          Alternantheras     Amaranthaceae     Saincheshak,    Whole
            essilis(L.)                          Sanchishak     plant
           R. Br. ex DC.

4              Crinum         Amaryllidaceae     Mike phul       Root
            asiaticum L.

5             Carissa          Apocynaceae        Koromcha      Fruit,
            carandas L.                                          seed

6          Wedeliachinen        Asteraceae        Vinguraj      Whole
            sis (Osbeck)                                        plant
              Merrill

7          Crataevanurva      Capparidaceae        Bonya,        Bark
             laBuch-Ham                           Jolbonya

8          Albiziaprocera        Fabaceae         Baikeora      Leaf,
           (Roxb.) Benth.                                       bark,
                                                                 seed

9         Cassia alata L.        Fabaceae       Bikhausgach     Leaf,
                                                                 Root

10         Casuarinaequi         Fabaceae        Deshijhau       Leaf
            setifolia L.

11             Mimosa            Fabaceae      Shadalojjaboti   Leaf,
           diplotrichaC.                                         root
               Wright
            ex Sauvalle

12         Swertiachirata      Gentianaceae       Chirota        Seed
             (Roxb. Ex
              Fleming)
             H. Karst.

13         Clerodendrumi        Lamiaceae        Vite, Vat      Leaf,
           nfortunatum L.                                        root

14          Leucasaspera        Lamiaceae       Dondokolosh,    Leaf,
           (Willd.) Link.                        Kanshisha       stem

15          Leeamacrophy         Leeaceae        Him polash      Leaf
              llaRoxb.

16        Piper longum L.       Piperaceae         Pipul,       Leaf,
                                                  Pipulda       flower

17          Murrayakoeni         Rutaceae        Gondhopata     Leaf,
             giiSpreng                                           root

18       Solanumnigru m L.      Solanaceae        Kakmachi      Leaf,
                                                                 Root

19        Cayratiatrifoli        Vitaceae        Ghaighobla     Whole
            a (L.) Domin                                        plant

20              Viti             Vitaceae        Harpollob      Whole
          slatifoliaRo xb.                                      plant

Serial         Disease, Symptoms, Formulations, and Administration
Number

1             Sprain or diarrhea in cattle. For sprain, leaf paste
               is topically applied. For diarrhea, leaf juice is
                              orally administered.

2                    Skin disorders, to increase strength.
                   Whole plant juice is administered orally.

3                Swelling of throat or bone fracture in cattle.
          Paste of whole plant is topically applied to fractured area.
          Warm paste of whole plant is topically applied to swellings.

4             Coughs, mucus, fever. Root juice is slightly warmed
                      with honey and administered orally.

5                Cold, fever, to stimulate appetite. Fruits and
                    seeds are taken orally in the raw form.

6                     Cancer, hair loss. Whole plant juice
                            is orally administered.

7               Swelling of throat. Pills prepared from powdered
                         bark are orally administered.

8         Stomach pain, helminthiasis, headache. Leaf juice is orally
           administered for stomach pain. Seed juice is taken orally
               for helminthiasis. Bark paste is applied topically
                         to the forehead for headache.

9              Itches, skin disorders. Paste of leaf and root is
           topically applied to affected area for 7 consecutive days.

10          Burns. Paste of leaf is topically applied to burnt area.

11        Snake bite. Juice obtained from crushed leaves and roots is
                     orally administered and also topically
                          applied to the bitten area.

12                  Joint pain, loss of appetite, weakness.
            Crushed seeds are made into small round pills and dried
                    under the sun. The pills are then orally
                            administered with water.

13               Helminthiasis, diarrhea, poisoning in humans,
            swelling of throat in cattle. Juice obtained from either
           leaves or roots or pills prepared from leaves or roots are
                administered orally for all the above disorders
             except helminthiasis. For helminthiasis, leaf juice is
                              orally administered.

14        Helminthiasis, diarrhea. Juice obtained from crushed leaves
                  and stems is orally administered with honey.

15                   Head, coughs, mucus, sexual diseases.
                       Leaf juice is orally administered.

16               To increase strength. Pills made from crushed
                  leaves and flowers are administered orally.

17                    To stimulate appetite. Leaf and root
                         juice is orally administered.

18                    Acidity, constipation. Leaf and root
                         juice is orally administered.

19               Skin disorders. Whole plant juice is topically
                applied to affected areas. Prior to application,
             affected areas are washed with warm whole plant juice.

20                    Skin disorders. Crushed whole plant
                         is applied to affected areas.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Research Article
Author:Moonmoon, Momotaz; Islam, Shafat Ara; Bristy, Sadia Tun Jannat; Binta, Kader Mahabuba; Akhter, Shyla
Publication:American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:Apr 1, 2014
Words:4630
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