Tag Archives: Majeedul H. Chowdhury

Ethnomedicinal survey on Kanda tribe

Mohammed Rahmatullah
Umma Ayman
Fatema Akter


The Kanda tribe is one of the lesser known small tribes of Bangladesh with an estimated population of about 1700 people (according to them), and on the verge of extinction as a separate entity. To some extent, they have assimilated with the surrounding mainstream Bengali-speaking population, but they still maintain their cultural practices including traditional medicinal practices, for which they have their own tribal healers. Nothing at all has been documented thus far about their traditional medicinal practices and formulations, which are on the verge of disappearance. The Kanda tribe can be found only in scattered tea gardens of Sreemangal in Sylhet district of Bangladesh; dispersion of the tribe into small separated communities is also contributing to the fast losing of traditional medicinal practices. The objective of the present study was to conduct an ethnomedicinal survey among the traditional healers of the Kanda tribe (in fact, only one such healer was found after extensive searches). Information was collected from the healer with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and the guided field-walk method. A total of 24 formulations were obtained from the healer containing 34 plants including two plants, which could not be identified. Besides medicinal plants, the Kanda healer also used the body hairs of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) and bats (Pteropus giganteus giganteus) in one of his formulation for treatment of fever with shivering. The ailments treated by the Kanda healer were fairly common ailments like cuts and wounds, skin diseases, helminthiasis, fever, respiratory problems (coughs, asthma), gastrointestinal disorders (stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea), burning sensations during urination, various types of pain (headache, body ache, toothache, ear ache), conjunctivitis, poisonous snake, insect or reptile bites, jaundice, and bone fractures. A number of important drugs in allopathic medicine like quinine, artemisinin, and morphine (to name only a few) have been discovered from observing indigenous medicinal practices. From that view point, the formulations used by the Kanda healer merit scientific studies for their potential in the discovery of cheap and effective new drugs. Scientific validation of the medicinal formulations of the Kanda healer can also be effective for treatment of ailments among this tribe, which does not have or does not want to have any contact with modern medicine.

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A Survey of Medicinal Plants Used by Kavirajes of Barisal Town in Barisal District, Bangladesh

Anita Rani Chowdhury
Farhana Israt Jahan
Syeda Seraj
A substantial section of the population of Bangladesh is poor and more than a third of the total population of 150 million people lives below the poverty line (i.e. having a daily income of less than US$ 1 per day). The poorer section of the population resides mostly in the rural areas and the urban slums. The rural population and population in small towns in addition suffer from proper access to health-care facilities and are not always in a position to afford the costs of allopathic treatment. They therefore rely on folk medicinal practitioners otherwise known as Kavirajes for treatment of their various ailments. The Kavirajes rely on administration of medicinal plants either orally or topically for treatment of diseases. Each Kaviraj has his unique repertoire of medicinal plants, which is closely guarded and usually passed onto an immediate member of the family in the successive generation. The objective of the present study was to conduct a survey on medicinal plant usage among selected
Kavirajes of Barisal town in Barisal district, Bangladesh. Interviews were conducted with the help of a semistructured questionnaire and the guided field-walk method. Information was obtained as to the local name of plants, parts used, formulations and dosages. It was found that the interviewed Kavirajes used 49 plants distributed into 28 families in their treatment of various ailments. The Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, and Moraceae families contributed 4 plans each, while the Solanaceae and the Verbenaceae family contributed 3
plants per family. The various plant parts used by the Kavirajes in their formulations included whole plant, leaf, stem, root, bark, flower, fruit, seed, and sap. Leaves constituted the major plant part used (34.8% of total uses), followed by roots (15.2%). Gastrointestinal disorders (stomach ache, constipation, dysentery, diarrhea) formed the major group of ailments treated by the Kavirajes and a total of 11 plants were used to treat these ailments.
Eight plants were used to treat skin disorders, 7 plants for pain relief, and 6 plants for respiratory tract disorders like coughs and mucus. Other ailments treated by the Kavirajes included urinary tract problems, cuts and wounds, meho (a term used by the Kavirajes to indicate urinary problem arising from endocrinological disorders or diabetes), fever, skin disorders, malaria, rheumatism, dog and snake bites, hepatic disorders (jaundice, enlarged
liver), tooth infections, eye problems, heart disorders, diabetes, hydrocele, goiter, helminthiasis, menstrual problems, and fractures. Plants have always formed a rich source of modern drugs. The medicinal plants used by the Kavirajes need to be scientifically studied for phytochemical constituents and pharmacological activities towards discovery of lead compounds and more efficacious newer drugs.
For details please see the attached file: