Medicinal plants and their uses by a folk medicinal practitioner of Matlab Upazila in Chandpur district, Bangladesh
Mohsin Ahmed, Rownak Jahan and Mohammed Rahmatullah
Background: Bangladesh is a small developing country with the majority population still residing in villages; most villages lack many modern amenities like proper drinking water facilities, sanitation, and conventional (allopathic) doctors and hospitals. On the other hand, although it is getting lost with possibly every passing day, villagers have a long history of traditional medicinal practitioners, who are also known as folk medicinal practitioners or Kavirajes (in Bengali). Kavirajes for the most part use medicinal plants, which are locally available for treatment and thus saves the villagers from costly conventional treatment, the medicines of which are neither readily available nor affordable. Once common, Kavirajes are fast disappearing along with loss of their folk medicinal knowledge. This loss is irreparable because plants and their phytochemicals still form the basis for discovery of modern drugs. For more than a decade, we had been conducting ethnomedicinal surveys among folk and tribal medicinal practitioners of Bangladesh.
Methods and Findings: Interviews were conducted of the only folk medicinal practitioner (FMP) in Matlab Upazila. Prior permission was obtained from the FMP. Interviews were conducted with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire, extensive discussions, and field trips to areas frequented by the FMP to collect medicinal plants. Information was noted carefully. Plants were pictured, and plant samples identified by a trained botanist following collection, drying and mounting onto herbarium sheets. We could obtain information on only ten formulations, which were used for treatment of respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal tract disorders, pain, dengue, diabetes, acne, fever, eye problems, jaundice, gonorrhea, sexual problems, and debility.
Conclusions: The richness of folk medicinal practice can be glimpsed from the diversity of illnesses treated with just twelve medicinal plant species. Some of these plants urgently need scientific attention before plants and FMPs disappear altogether. The phytochemicals present in the plants can be sources of potential drugs, lead compounds, or scaffolds for better drugs.
Mohsin Ahmed, Rownak Jahan, Mohammed Rahmatullah. Medicinal plants and their uses by a folk medicinal practitioner of Matlab Upazila in Chandpur district, Bangladesh. J Med Plants Stud 2023;11(2):31-38. DOI: 10.22271/plants.2023.v11.i2a.1537