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Medicinal plants of two practitioners in two Marma tribal communites of Khagrachhari District, Bangladesh.

INTRODUCTION

Bangladesh is a small country but is estimated to have over 100 different tribes residing within her borders [8]. These tribes can be found mainly in the northeast, southeast, and northern regions of the country. In the southeast region of Chittagong Division, reside various tribes like the Chakmas, Marmas, Murongs, Rakhains, Bawms, Lusais, Chaks, and the Tonchongyas. Various communities of the Marma tribe can be found in pocket regions of Khagrachhari District, which falls under Chittagong Division.

The various tribes have usually their own tribal medicinal practitioners (TMPs), whose practices, although mainly relying on medicinal plants in general, are also unique to the tribe and its TMP(s). Plants have always proved to be a good source of drugs, and many allopathic drugs of importance have been discovered through close observations of indigenous medicinal practices [4,11,14]. Because of the influence of the mainstream Bengali speaking population and their dominant culture, many tribes of Bangladesh are fast losing their identities and forgetting or discarding their traditional medicinal practices. As a result, it is important to document these traditional practices before they get lost or are forgotten.

We had been conducting ethnomedicinal surveys among folk and tribal medicinal practitioners for several years [36,9,17,20,30,30,1,5-7,16,22,23, 64,67,12,18,21,26,64,2,34,39-56]. The objective of the present study was to conduct an ethnomedicinal survey among two Marma communities residing in Khagrachhari district of Bangladesh.

Materials and Methods

The present survey was conducted among the Marma tribal communities of Chowdhury Para and Shantinagar villages of Khagrachhari district, Bangladesh.The Marma tribe of Chowdhury Para village had one tribal medicinal practitioner (TMP), named Chailampu Marma, age 73 years, male and who has been practicing for 40 years. He obtained his training from late Tarun Tripura and late Baluchad Tripura in India. The Marma tribe of Shantinagar village had one folk medicinal practitioner (Kaviraj), whose name was Abdul Manna, age 65 years, male, and who obtained his training from two 'gurus', namely late Ustad Ibrahim and late Abdur Rashid. He has been practicing for 30 years. His grandfather late Abdue Rashid wrote a medicinal plant book from his own practicing experiences, and he has himself written a book where diseases treated along with medicinal plants and formulations have been given. He uses both books in his practice.

Prior Informed Consent was first obtained from the TMPs. The TMPs were 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 [28] and Maundu [29]. 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 to be identified at the Bangladesh National Herbarium. Detailed information was obtained from the TMPs in evening sessions when convenient with the help of the semi-structured questionnaire and open-ended interviews where the TMPs spoke at length on various medicinal plants and diseases treated. All information was noted down carefully.

Results and Discussion

Together, the two practitioners were observed to use a total of 47 plants distributed into 34 families in their formulations. These plants were used to treat both human and cattle diseases. The human diseases that were treated by the practitioners included tuberculosis, pain, malaria, sexual disorders, vomiting tendency, gastrointestinal disorders, cataract, leucorrhea, burns, bleeding from gum, jaundice, respiratory tract disorders, burning sensations in hands or feet or body, helminthiasis, skin diseases, liver and kidney problems, bleeding, fever, leucorrhea, and vaginitis. The results are shown in Table 1.

Several plants were used for treatment of diseases in cattle. For instance, the leaves of Annona squamosa were used to get rid of lice in cattle. The flowers of Hibiscus rosa sinensis were used for treatment of both dysentery in cattle, as well as hair loss in humans. Overall, the formulations of the TMPs were very simple. Whole plant or plant part juice was either orally or topically administered.

There were two unusual treatments. In the first case, for the treatment of asthma, ripe fruits of Lagerstroemia speciosawere dried, powdered and then mixed with internal organs of a dead spider with eggs. Pills made from the mixture were administered orally. In the second case, whole plants of Clerodendrum infortunatum were tied to the thighs of a woman giving birth, to reduce delivery pain. It may be noted that use of insects is not uncommon for treatment of asthma. In Bahia State, Brazil, whole cockroach is orally taken for asthma [10]. Other animal or insect parts have been reported for treatment of asthma by tribal people of Tamil Nadu, India. These include winged stage of termites, blood and flesh of black monkey, mucus of earthworm, and flesh of bat [70]. Tying of plants to cure or ward off diseases has also been reported for other tribes. The Kalanguya tribe of the Philippines pin the stem of Acorus calamus on a baby's clothes to cure cold colds and protect the baby from bad spirits [3]. The Tharu tribe of Devipatan division, India, wears a small piece of twig around the neck to cure toothache [27].

The use of a number of plants by the TMPs can be taken as scientifically validated on the basis of studies on these plants. Justicia adhatoda was used by the TMPs to treat tuberculosis. Docking studies have shown that six quinazoline alkaloids present in the plant (vasicoline, vasicolinone, vasicinone, vasicine, adhatodine and anisotine) can be good inhibitors of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative organism for tuberculosis [25]. Justicia gendarussa was used by the TMPs for treatment of waist pain as well as malaria. The anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities of ethanol extract of leaves of this plant have been reported [68]. Calotropis gigantea was used by the TMPs for treatment of rheumatic pain. Antiinflammatory and analgesic activity has been reported for ethanolic leaf extract of the plant [59].

The roots of Asparagus racemosus were used by the TMPs to treat body pain. Analgesic activity of aqueous and alcohol root extract of the plant has been demonstrated [38]. Terminalia bellirica was used by the TMPs to treat jaundice. Protection by fruits of the plant against iron overload-induced liver toxicity has been reported [19]. The blood sugar lowering effect of Coccinia grandis has beedn reported [33]; notably, the plant was used against diabetes by the TMPsJatropha curcasaqueous leaf extract has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties [37]; methanolic extract of the leaves has also been reported [72]; the plant was used for treatment of toothache by the TMPs.

The TMPs used seed oil of Ricinus communis to treat body pain. Analgesic activity of aqueous extract of the root bark of the plant has been demonstrated [57]. Antinociceptive activity of methanol extract of leaves has been demonstrated [71]. Antibacterial activity of Azadirachta indica leaf extract has been found against skin pathogens [13]. The leaves of the plant were used by the TMPs against skin diseases. The leaves of Psidium guajava were used by the TMPs to treat toothache. The efficacy of methanol extract of leaves for relieving toothache has been scientifically validated [24].

Although the above discussion is not a complete review of all the plants used by the TMPs regarding their reported pharmacological properties or activities, it does show that the TMPs possessed quite extensive knowledge on the medicinal properties of the plants that they used for treatment. As such, other plants used by the TMPs and which are yet to be scientifically studied merit further research on their phytochemical constituents and pharmacological activities.

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Ishita Malek, Md. Rana Miah, Md. Farhad Khan, Rakhi Binte Farzana Awal, Nazmun Nahar, Istieaq Khan, Sinthiya Chowdhury, 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-1209, Bangladesh. Ph: 88-01715032621 Fax: 88-02-8157339 E-mail: rahamatm@hotmail.com
Table 1: Medicinal plants and formulations of the Marma TMPs of
Chowdhury Para and Shantinagar villages.

Serial   Scientific Name        Family Name      Local Name   Parts
Number                                                        used

1        Justicia adhatoda      Acanthaceae      Bashok       Leaf
         L.

2        Justicia gendarussa    Acanthaceae      Bish         Leaf,
         Burm.                                   dolni,       stem,
                                                 Kalo         root
                                                 bashok

3        Aloe vera (L.)         Aloaceae         Ghrito       Leaf
         Burm.f.                                 kanchan

4        Achyranthes            Amaranthaceae    Apang        Leaf
         aspera L.

5        Alternanthera phi      Amaranthaceae    Haicha       Leaf
         loxeroides
         (Mar t.)
         Griseb.

6        Mangifera indica L.    Anacardiaceae    Aam          Leaf

7        Annona squamosa L.     Annonaceae       Ata          Leaf

8        Alstonia scholaris     Apocynaceae      Chatim       Leaf,
         (L.) R. Br.                                          bark

9        Calotropis gigantea    Asclepiadaceae   Akondo       Leaf
         R. Br.

10       Asparagus racemosus    Asparagaceae     Shotomul     Root
         Willd.

11       Ageratum               Asteraceae       Ojaru        Root
         conyzoides L.

12       Eupatorium             Asteraceae       Rifjiloth    Leaf
         odoratum L.

13       Stereospermum          Bignoniaceae     Parul        Leaf
         cheloinoides
         (L.f.) DC.

14       Crataeva nurvala       Capparidaceae    Benoa        Leaf
         Buch-Ham.

15       Terminalia             Combretaceae     Bohera       Leaf
         bellerica
         (Gaertn.) Roxb.

16       Terminalia chebula     Combretaceae     Hortoki      Fruit
         Retz.

17       Kalanchoe pinnata      Crassulaceae     Pathor       Leaf
         (Lam.) Pers.                            chila

18       Coccinia grandis       Cucurbitaceae    Telakuch     Leaf
         (L.) Voigt.

19       Jatropha curcas L.     Euphorbiaceae    Dondiga      Leaf
                                                 gach

20       Phyllanthus            Euphorbiaceae    Amloki       Leaf
         emblica L.

21       Ricinus communis L.    Euphorbiaceae    Benna        Seed

22       Cassia fistula L.      Fabaceae         Shonalu      Bark

23       Mimosa pudica L.       Fabaceae         Lojjaboti    Root

24       Clerodendrum           Lamiaceae        Bibor        Whole
         infortunatum L.                                      plant

25       Clerodendrum sp.       Lamiaceae        Bandi        Leaf,
                                                              root

26       Gmelina arborea        Lamiaceae        Gamari       Leaf
         Roxb.

27       Hyptis suaveolens      Lamiaceae        Tokma        Fruit
         Poit

28       Mentha arvensis L.     Lamiaceae        Pudina       Leaf

29       Ocimum tenuiflorum     Lamiaceae        Tulshi       Leaf
         L.

30       Lagerstroemia          Lythraceae       Jarul        Fruit
         speciosa (L.)
         Pers.

31       Hibiscus rosa          Malvaceae        Rokto        Flower
         sinensis L.                             joba

32       Triumfetta annua L.    Malvaceae        Surjo        Whole
                                                 tara         plant

33       Azadirachta indica     Meliaceae        Neem         Bark,
         A. Juss.                                             leaf

34       Streblus asper         Moraceae         Sheora       Leaf
         Lour.                                   pata

35       Psidium guajava L.     Myrtaceae        Peyara       Leaf

36       Averrhoa carambola     Oxalidaceae      Kamranga     Leaf
         L.

37       Cynodon dactylon       Poaceae          Durba        Whole
         (L.) Pers.                                           plant

38       Polygonum recumbens    Polygonaceae     Kanai        Whole
         Royle ex Bab.                                        plant

39       Eichhornia             Pontede          Pana         Root
         crassipes              -riaceae         kachuri
         (Mart.) Solms

40       Ziziphus mauritiana    Rhamnaceae       Boroi        Bark
         Lam.

41       Hedyotis corymbosa     Rubiaceae        Khet         Leaf
         (L.) Lam.                               papra

42       Aegle marmelos         Rutaceae         Bel          Fruit
         (L.) Corr.

43       Scoparia dulcis L.     Scrophula        Chini        Leaf
                                -riaceae         sagor

44       Datura wrightii        Solanaceae       Dhutra       Leaf
         Regel

45       Abroma augusta L.      Sterculiaceae    Olot         Bark,
                                                 kombol       leaf

46       Centella asiatica      Umbelliferae     Adagunguni   Leaf
         (L.) Urban

47       Vitex negundo L.       Verbenaceae      Nishinda     Leaf

Serial   Disease, Symptoms, Formulations, and
Number   Administration

1        Tuberculosis. Leaf juice is orally
         taken.

2        Waist pain. Leaves are boiled in
         water and massaged in the waist
         area. Malaria. Leaves, stems and
         roots are boiled in water followed
         by orally taking the water.

3        Low sperm count. Soft pulp present
         within the leaves is taken orally
         with water regularly.

4        Vomiting tendency, heart disorders.
         Leaf juice is orally taken.

5        Cataract. Young leaf is massaged
         from the right to the left corner
         of the eye with cataract.

6        Gastric problems. Pills made from
         young leaves are taken orally in
         the morning on an empty stomach.

7        Lice in cattle. Leaf paste is
         applied topically to body of
         cattle.

8        Helminthiasis, blood purification,
         constipation. Paste of leaf and
         bark is orally taken.

9        Rheumatic pain. Leaves are warmed
         over a fire and held on the
         painful areas.

10       Body pain, leucorrhea. Roots are
         dried, powdered and orally taken
         with milk thrice daily.

11       Stomach disorders. Leaf juice is
         orally taken.

12       Burns. Leaf paste is applied as
         poultice.

13       Heavy thirst, loss of appetite,
         vomiting tendency. Leaf juice
         is orally taken.

14       Bleeding from gums. Young leaves
         are crushed and applied to gums.

15       Jaundice. Leaf juice is orally
           taken.

16       Gastric problems. Pills made from
         fruits are taken orally.

17       Long-term coughs, burning sensations
         in the stomach. Leaves are boiled
         in water and the water taken
         orally for long-term coughs.
         Crushed leaves are orally taken
         in the morning on an empty stomach
         for burning sensations in the
         stomach.

18       Diabetes. Pills made from leaves
         are taken orally thrice daily for
         40 consecutive days.

19       Toothache. Leaves are chewed and
         orally taken.

20       Mucus. Leaf juice is orally taken
         with honey.

21       Body pain. Oil extracted from seed
         is warmed and massaged on the
         painful areas.

22       Stomach pain. Juice obtained from
         crushed bark is orally taken.

23       Burning sensations in hands or
         feet. Root juice is orally taken.

24       To reduce delivery pain. Whole plant
         is tied to thighs of woman
         giving birth.

25       Chest diseases, malarial fever, blood
         purification. Leaf and root paste
         is taken orally for chest disorders
         and malarial fever. Leaf and root
         paste is taken orally in the
         morning on an empty stomach for
         blood purification.

26       Gastric ulcer. Leaf juice is orally
         taken.

27       Tremor, constipation, burning
         sensations in the body. Dried
         fruits are soaked in water
         overnight followed by drinking the
         water on an empty stomach the
         following morning.

28       Diarrhea. Leaf juice is orally
         taken with honey and lemon juice.

29       Coughs. Leaf juice along with half
         the amount of honey is taken
         together orally.

30       Asthma. Ripe fruits are dried,
         powdered and then mixed
         with internal organs of a dead
         spider with eggs. Pills made from
         the mixture are taken orally.

31       Dysentery in cattle, hair loss in
         humans. Flower juice is orally
         administered to cattle with
         dysentery; flower juice is mixed
         with oil and applied to the head
         to stop hair loss.

32       Kidney and liver problems. Juice
         obtained from crushed whole
         plant is orally taken.

33       Helminthiasis, skin diseases. Bark
         is taken orally in the morning
         on an empty stomach with table
         salt for helminthiasis. Leaves are
         boiled in water followed by bathing
         in the water for skin diseases.

34       Dysentery. Leaf juice is orally
         taken.

35       Toothache. Leaves are boiled in
         water followed by gargling with
         the water.

36       Constipation. Leaf juice is orally
         taken in the morning on an empty
         stomach.

37       To stop bleeding. Leaf juice is
         applied to bleeding place.

38       Infections or burns on hand. Paste
         of leaves is applied as a poultice.

39       To keep head cool. Roots are held
         on the top of the head.

40       Fever. Bark is soaked in water in
         which rice has been washed followed
         by orally taking the water.

41       Bloating, blood purification, coughs,
         cold. Leaf juice is orally taken.

42       Dysentery. Young fruits are dried
         and then soaked in water followed
         by taking the water orally.

43       Fever, cold, coughs. Leaf juice is
         orally taken.

44       Loss of appetite, skin diseases.
         Pills made from leaves are orally
         taken for loss of appetite. Leaf
         paste (in small amounts) is
         applied topically to affected areas
         of skin.

45       Vaginitis. Paste of leaf and bark
         is applied to vagina.

46       Dysentery, abdominal pain. Leaf
         juice is orally taken.

47       Premature ejaculation, to increase
         memory. Crushed leaves or leaf
         paste is orally taken for one week.
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Title Annotation:Research Article
Author:Malek, Ishita; Miah, Rana; Khan, Farhad; Awal, Rakhi Binte Farzana; Nahar, Nazmun; Khan, Istieaq; Ch
Publication:American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:Apr 1, 2014
Words:5558
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