Ethno-Gynecological Study of Traditional Medicinal Plants Used by Santals of Joypurhat District, Ban...

A.H.M. Mahbubur Rahman

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Ethno-Gynecological Study of Traditional Medicinal Plants Used by Santals of Joypurhat District, Bangladesh

A.H.M. Mahbubur Rahman

Plant Taxonomy Laboratory, Department of Botany, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh


Ethno-gynecology means the medical practices for the treatment of Santals for their healthcare needs. The present paper documented 35 medicinal plants of Joypurhat district, Bangladesh belonging to 33 genera and 27 families were used by the local health healers for the treatment of gynecological diseases. Of these, Magnoliopsida (Dicots) is represented by 30 species under 28 genera and 22 families while Liliopsida (Monocots) is represented by 5 species under 5 genera and 5 families. Habit analysis shows that herbs, shrubs, climbers and trees are represented by 13, 4, 4 and 14 species, respectively. The medicinal plants used by the traditional users of Joypurhat district are arranged alphabetically followed by botanical name, local name, family, parts used and medicinal uses.

Cite this article:

  • Rahman, A.H.M. Mahbubur. "Ethno-Gynecological Study of Traditional Medicinal Plants Used by Santals of Joypurhat District, Bangladesh." Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2.1 (2014): 10-13.
  • Rahman, A. M. (2014). Ethno-Gynecological Study of Traditional Medicinal Plants Used by Santals of Joypurhat District, Bangladesh. Biomedicine and Biotechnology, 2(1), 10-13.
  • Rahman, A.H.M. Mahbubur. "Ethno-Gynecological Study of Traditional Medicinal Plants Used by Santals of Joypurhat District, Bangladesh." Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2, no. 1 (2014): 10-13.

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1. Introduction

Gynaecology or gynecology is the medical practice dealing with the health of the female reproductive system (uterus, vagina and ovaries). Ethno-gynecology is emerging as a new branch which deals with the treatment of ailments among tribal women, for example, abortion, menstrual trouble, menopause syndrome, morning sickness, leucorrhoea, anti-fertility, delivery problems etc. [7]. Santals women of Joypurhat, Bangladesh depend on the plants for curing various diseases including abortion, anti-fertility, leucorrhoea and menstrual trouble. They do not go to doctor but depend on herbal treatment, suggested by old women or experienced men of the Village [8, 11, 15].

Over the past two decades several medicinal and ethno-botanical studies in Bangladesh have been carried out [2,3,10,13-23]. The aim of the present study was to first record gynecological knowledge of medicinal plants used by the Santals living in Joypurhat district of Bangladesh.

2. Materials and Methods

In the present survey, a total of 35 plant species belonging to 33 genera and 27 families were recorded. A total of ten 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. Plant specimens were collected with flowers and fruits and processed using standard herbarium techniques [4]. The specimens were identified consulting with the experts, by comparing herbarium specimens and available literatures [1, 6, 8, 9, 12]. The voucher specimens are stored at Rajshahi University Herbarium (RUH) for future reference.

3. Results and Discussion

In the present survey, a total of 35 plant species belonging to 33 genera and 27 families were recorded (Table 1). Out of these plants species, 13 belonged to herbs, 14 trees, 4 shrubs, and 4 climbers (Table 2). For each species scientific name, local name, family, habit, mode of uses and part(s) used are provided. The most frequently used species for the treatment of gynecological diseases are Abroma augusta, Abrus precatorius, Achyranthes aspera, Aloe vera, Allium cepa, Ananas comosus, Artocarpus heterophyllus, Bombax ceiba, Cissus quadrangularis, Daucus carota, Erythrina variegata, Ficus religiosa, Justicia adhatoda, Phyllanthus emblica, Ricinus communis, Scoparia dulcis, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia arjuna, and Zizyphus mauritiana.

Use of plant parts as medicine shows variation (Table 3). Roots (34.28%) are the leading part used in a majority of medicinal plants followed by 20.00% seed, 14.28% bark, 14.28% fruit, 11.42% whole plant, 2.85% stem, 2.85% bulb, 2.85% flower and 2.85% latex. Distribution of medicinal plant species in the families shows variation (Table 4). Each of Amaranthaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae is represented by 3 species. A single species in each was recorded by 22 families while two species in each was recorded by 2 families. The survey indicated that the common medicinal plant families in the study area are Acanthaceae, Amaranthaceae, Apiaceae, Bombacaceae, Bromeliaceae, Caricaceae, Combretaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Liliaceae, Moraceae, Solanaceae and Vitaceae. This finding of common medicinal plant families in the study is in agreement with [5, 24].

Table 1. List of plants and their diversity in use of gynecology by the Santals of Joypurhat, Bangladesh

Table 2. Analysis of the data based on habit showed that leading medicinal plants species

Table 3. Number of plant parts used for medicinal purpose

Table 4. Distribution of species among different families

4. Conclusions

The present findings are the first record of Ethno-gynecological study of traditional medicinal plants used by Santals in Joypurhat district of Bangladesh using standard research protocols. A total of 35 plant species under 33 genera of 27 families have been documented which are used for the treatment of gynecological diseases. The present study may be a preliminary contribution to the medicinal knowledge of this area using standard research methods, focusing on medicinal plants and their local uses for the healthcare. This healthcare knowledge transmitted orally from one generation to generation. The study also suggested that the present information on gynecological use of medicinal plants by the Santals may be used for botanical and pharmacological research in future for the development of new sources of drugs.


The author is grateful to the Santals of Joypurhat district for their co-operation and help during the ethno-gynecological studies.


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