Investigation of Medicinal Plants at Katakhali Pouroshova of Rajshahi District, Bangladesh and their...

A.H.M. Mahbubur Rahman, Ashit Kumar Sarker

Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences

Investigation of Medicinal Plants at Katakhali Pouroshova of Rajshahi District, Bangladesh and their Conservation Management

A.H.M. Mahbubur Rahman1,, Ashit Kumar Sarker1

1Plant Taxonomy Laboratory, Department of Botany, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh

Abstract

Investigation of medicinal plants at Katakhali Pouroshova of Rajshahi district and their conservation management was carried out from December 2013 to July 2015. A total of twenty six field trips were made for documentation. During the field interview, the information was noted in the documentation data sheet. All the information regarding plant species, biological forms, habitat, local names and uses was documented. Medicinal information was obtained through informal interviews following semi-structured from knowledgeable person’s particularly local Kabiraj/Herbalists and elderly people. One hundred and forty three (143) medicinal plants have been documented with their uses for the cure of more than 109 diseases, and some of these are abscess, asthma, abortion, cough, cold, chicken pox, constipation, dysentery, diarrhea, diabetes, eczema, fever, and fracture of bone, headache, heart disease, itches, jaundice, menstrual disease, paralysis, piles, skin diseases, snake-bite, sex problems, toothache, vomiting, worm, wound and others. In majority cases, leaves of the medicinal plants were found leading in terms of their use followed by whole plant, stem, bark, fruits, rhizome, seed, root and flower. For each species scientific name, family, medicinal use and part(s) used are provided.

Cite this article:

  • A.H.M. Mahbubur Rahman, Ashit Kumar Sarker. Investigation of Medicinal Plants at Katakhali Pouroshova of Rajshahi District, Bangladesh and their Conservation Management. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Vol. 3, No. 6, 2015, pp 184-192. http://pubs.sciepub.com/aees/3/6/4
  • Rahman, A.H.M. Mahbubur, and Ashit Kumar Sarker. "Investigation of Medicinal Plants at Katakhali Pouroshova of Rajshahi District, Bangladesh and their Conservation Management." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 3.6 (2015): 184-192.
  • Rahman, A. M. , & Sarker, A. K. (2015). Investigation of Medicinal Plants at Katakhali Pouroshova of Rajshahi District, Bangladesh and their Conservation Management. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 3(6), 184-192.
  • Rahman, A.H.M. Mahbubur, and Ashit Kumar Sarker. "Investigation of Medicinal Plants at Katakhali Pouroshova of Rajshahi District, Bangladesh and their Conservation Management." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 3, no. 6 (2015): 184-192.

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1. Introduction

Plants and man are inseparable. Plants existed on the earth in the geological past form the early history of the earth. The use of plants to alleviate human suffering is as old as the evolution of human civilization itself. From the early stages of human civilization, plants, especially medicinal plants have played a pioneering role for the welfare of human beings. Recently, dramatic changes have taken place in the primary health care system of world population through the development of science, technology and medical science, but till to day 400 cores of people of the world are totally dependent on herbal medicine. It is revealed that even in the developed countries 25%, of the prescribed drugs come from plant sources and herbal medicines are used by about 75-80% of the world’s population for primary health care because of their better cultural acceptability, better compatibility with human body and lesser side effects. WHO consultative body of medicinal plants has formulated a definition of medicinal plants in the following way “A medicinal plant is any plant which in one or more of its organs, contains substances that can be used for therapeutic purposes or which is a precursor for synthesis of useful drugs” [60].

Bangladesh has very rich in Bio-diversity. It has more than 500 medicinal plants species [69]. An alarmingly populous, but size-wise a very small country is rather unique in having diversified genetic resources in a wide range of habitats. Increasing population pressure and multifarious anthropogenic activities on the natural ecosystems are posing severe and serious threats to once dense and rich genetically diversified plant communities of this country. Loss of habitats from the wild forests as well as from the village groves, cultivated plains and wild lands are quite common in this country. A broad genetic base has been replaced by a narrow one, and the old genetic diversity is disappearing both inside and outside of the ancient gene centers. This trend is inevitable with the need for highly efficient and uniform cultivars in advanced and sophisticated farming systems. At present, we have no real protected area for natural genetic resources and also have no specific practical policy on conservation of biodiversity. Although there are several gene banks having limited facilities to preserve some economic crops like rice, jute, wheat, pulses etc in Bangladesh, but there is no centralized organization to maintain germplasms of the wild relatives for agriculture, horticulture, medicinal and economically less important forest species. Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) is very worried about this. However, the rich and diverse heritage of traditional medicinal system in the Indian sub-continent including Bangladesh is increasingly threatened by the interplay of a number of factors such as rapid deforestation and habitat destruction, indiscriminate collection and exploitative trade network.

In Bangladesh there are about 297 Unani, 204 Ayurvedic and 77 Homeopatheic drug manufacturing industries where the medicinal plants are extensively used in both raw and semi–processed forms of medicine in various pharmaceutical dose formulations. These plants also serve as important raw materials for many modern medicinal preparations. The market value of drugs produced by these industries from medicinal plants is about Tk. 300 crores. Besides, village Kobiraj, street Vendors and Tribal people also use a large number of medicinal plants for the treatment of various diseases. There is no actual figure how many medicinal plants are used in Bangladesh. Chowdhury at SAARC workshop (held on 16-18 June, 2002) gave a brief idea about the amount of medicinal plants used annually in Bangladesh. A few of them are mentioned here: Ashwagondha (Withania somnifera)-56,000 kg, Anantamul (Hemidesmus indicus)-50,000 kg, Kurchi (Holarrhena antidysenterica)-1,00,000 kg, Gulancha (Tinospora cordifolia)-127,000 kg. According to Hamdard Laboratories (WAQF), in Bangladesh the annual demand for a few medicinal plants are- Satomuli (Asparagas racemosus)–800 tons, Sarpagondha (Rauvolfia serpentina)–1,000 tons, Ghritokumari (Aloe vera)–24,000 tons, Kalomegh (Andrographis paniculata)–1,000 tons (Hassan, 2003). Every year Bangladesh imports a large quantity raw materials belonging to of medicinal plants mostly under the banner of spices and spends more than 64 crores Taka annually for this purpose. Ironically, 70% of this imported raw material can be met from the indigenous sources from Bangladesh [15].

Table 1. Medicinal plant species listed by WHO which can be grown in Bangladesh commercially [15,68]

Medicinal plants are a potential resource for uplifting state economy so, we should know about growth and productivity of some commercially important medicinal plants. A large number of people in Bangladesh are solely dependent on Ayurvedic treatment for maintaining their health. The medicinal plants as a whole occupy an important position in modern medicine since the industry is showing special interest in synthesizing natural substances as they are found to be more effective in particular applications. It provides a complete system of healing and prevention of diseases. Herbal drugs are becoming popular because they are holistic in nature, able to look beyond the symptoms to the underlying systemic imbalance. When applied by the trained practitioners, herbal medicine offers very real and permanent solution to very real problems. In fact, century old nature friendly medicare system has stood the test of time and holds promise for the present and the future. Cultivation of medicinal plants gives scope to improve the quality of the drugs. There is a growing demand today for plant-based medicines and health products, pharmaceuticals, food supplements, cosmetics etc. in the international market.

Several medicinal plants and ethno-botanical studies in Bangladesh have been carried out. [3, 4], documented the ehtnobotanical information and medicinal plant use by Marma. Several work also done by [8], [1], [16], [17], [11], [12], [13], [61], [9], [10], [19], [22-59][22], [62-67][62], [69, 70, 71] and [6]. The aim of the present study was to first record of medicinal plants used by the local people living in Katakhali Pouroshova of Rajshahi district, Bangladesh.

2. Materials and Methods

In the present survey of medicinal plants, a total of 143 plant species were collected and recorded for their use in various ailments. A total of 156 local people having an age rage 25-65 years were interviewed using semi-structured interviewed method [5]. Professionally they were peasant, day labor, farmer, betel leaf cultivators, house wives, medicine men, small shop keepers etc. Among them 76 were female and rest 80 were male. Regular field studies were made in the study area during the period. The information about the plants used for various diseases was gathered through interviews and discussion with the elderly people, medicine men and traditional medical practitioners were also consulted. Triangulation methods have been followed for data validation in the field. Plant specimens with flowers and fruits were collected and processed using standard herbarium techniques. Herbal plants referred by these people were authentically identified with the help of [7], [20], [21], [42], [43], [14] and [2]. The voucher specimens are stored at the Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of Rajshahi for future reference.

3. Results and Discussion

In the present medicinal plants and their use in different ailments by the local people at the Katakhali pouroshova survey, a total of 143 species were recorded. For each species scientific name, family, mode of use and part(s) used are provided (Table 2). Analysis of the data based on habits showed that leading medicinal plant species 34.56% belonged to trees, 35.18% herbs, 19.13% shrubs and 10.49% climbers.

Table 2. List of medicinal plants and their use in different ailments by the local people at Katakhali pouroshova of Rajshahi district, Bangladesh

Use of plant parts as medicine shows variation. Leaves 60.13% are the leading part used in a majority of medicinal plants followed by 25.17% fruits, 21.68% roots, 20.27% bark, 16.08% whole plant, 3.5% stem, 1.40% latex, 2.09% bulb, 2.79% rhizomes, 30.07% seed, 3.5% pulp, 2.09% leaf bud, 1.40% petiole, 11.89%flower, 0.70% calyx and 0.70% peduncle (Table 3).

Table 3. List of plant parts used as medicine

Based on this study, the important medicinal plants at Katakhali Pouroshova at Rajshahi district, Bangladesh was made that includes 143 angiosperm species (Table 2). The collected information is comparable with the result of other studies in Bangladesh. A total of 86 plant taxa belonged to 84 genera under 46 families are highlighted in Tangail district [6]. Altogether 49 species belonging to 47 genera and 33 families are enumerated in Rajshahi City [23]. A total of 98 species belonging to 88 genera under 50 families were recorded in Jessore district [39]. A total of 102 plant species under 93 genera and 52 families were collected and recorded in Naogaon district [38]. A total of 73 plant species under 68 genera of 42 families have been documented in Dhaka district [40]. A total of 66 species in 62 genera and 38 families were documented in Bandarban district [10]. A total of 119 medicinal plant species belonging to 109 genera and 50 families were collected and recorded in Bogra district [57]. No published information recorded on the important medicinal plants at Katakhali Pouroshova at Rajshahi district, Bangladesh.

Figure 1. Number of plant parts used for medicinal purpose in pie chart

The most frequently used species for the treatment of various diseases are Abelmoschus esculentus, Abroma augusta, Acacia nilotica, Acalypha indica, Alstonia scholaris, Allium cepa, Allium sativum, Aloe vera, Amaranthus viridis, Andrographis paniculata, Argemone mexicana, Artocarpus heterophyllus, Averrhoa carambola, Boerhaavia diffusa, Bombax ceiba, Cajanus cajan, Carica papaya, Centella asiatica, Coccinia cordifolia, Colocasia esculenta, Cynodon dactylon, Dyospyros perigrina, Ficus raligiosa, Glinus oppositifolius, Justicia gendarusa, Lawsonia inermis, Momordica charantia, Moringa oleifera, Musa sapientum, Ocimum sanctum, Oxalis corniculata, Paederia foetida, Phyllanthus emblica, Psidium guajava, Rauvolfia serpentine, Syzygium cumini, Tamarindus indica, Terminalia arjuna, Vitex negundo, Wedelia chinensis, Xanthium indicum and Zizyphus mauritiana. The survey indicated that the common medicinal plant families in the study area are Aloeaceae, Acanthaceae, Amaranthaceae, Annonaceae, Apocynaceae, Apiaceae, Arecaceae, Caricaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Cuscutaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Liliaceae, Meliaceae, Moraceae, Moringaceae, Molluginaceae, Musaceae, Papaveraceae, Poaceae, Rhamnaceae, Rutaceae, Solanaceae, Verbenaceae and Zingiberaceae. This finding of common medicinal plant families in the study is in agreement with [10, 11, 17, 19, 20, 33, 38, 39] and [62-71][62].

4. Recommendations

Bangladesh falls within one of the World’s Biodiversity Centers, encompassing 8 vegetation zones having different habitats of specific species. It has been estimated that about 5,000 plant species (nearly 2.2% of the global species) occurs in Bangladesh. About 2,500 species of both higher and lower plant groups are of medicinal value, among them, more than 500 plants are identified as medicinal plants [68]. But indiscriminate exploitation, overpopulation and deforestation have led to 106 plant species being listed as threatened by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and the Bangladesh National Herbarium [18]. Here some suggestion and recommendation is given to reverse this situation:

i. Appropriate steps must therefore be taken immediately in order to cope up with this situation with regard to growth, conservation and supply of medicinal plants in this country.

ii. We should stop the indiscriminate and extensive collection of rare and commercially important medicinal plant from the wild.

iii. We should aware people by transferring cultivation technologies to homestead growers, cultivators through training, workshops, pamphlets, brochures, seminars etc.

iv. We need Sporadic and diverse researches on various aspects of medicinal plants.

v. We should develop standardized cultivation practice of all commercially important medicinal plant gradually.

vi. If required the threatened plant species may be multiplied through appropriate technique/s and bulk production of seeds/propagules for preservation, distribution to homestead growers and also for commercial purposes.

vii. Necessary steps should be taken for ex situ conservation of endangered and commercially important medicinal plants.

5. Conclusion

The current study reveals that the native folks have good knowledge on traditional uses of plants. But to the modernization, this knowledge may be lost in due course. Hence, it is essential to study and document the local knowledge, which can provide valuable information to pharmacologists in screening of individual species and their plants constituents. Therefore, the present study will be useful for researchers in the field of ethnobotany, ethnomedicinal and pharmacology for further studies. All these plants need to be evaluated through phytochemical and pharmacochemical investigations to discover their potentiality in developing effective medicines for curing different diseases in human beings.

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the local people of Katakhali ouroshova, Rajshahi for their co-operation and help during the research work.

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