Medicinal Plants in Farwest Nepal: Indigenous Uses and Pharmacological Validity

Medicinal and aromatic plant science and biotechnology 01/2010; 4(1):28-42.


Medicinal plants have been used indigenously since ancient past as medicines for the treatment of various ailments. However, the knowledge of indigenous therapies have been distorting to these days due to changing perception, acculturation, commercialization and socio-economic transformations. The present study compares indigenous knowledge of therapies of 48 medicinal plants with the latest common pharmacological findings. Traditional indigenous plant knowledge and phytomedicine are consistently gaining acceptance in global society. The present study found that over two-thirds of traditionally used plants in the region show clear pharmacological efficacy. Total 23 species possessed strong resemblances and the species Euphorbia royleana, Ricinus communis, Plantago major, Chenopodium album, Cordyceps sinensis, etc. contributed the most. The complementarity of indigenous therapies and pharmacological uses is obvious and it is base of the modern therapeutic medicine. The increasing use of indigenous therapies demands more scientifically sound evidence, therefore further investigation and phytochemical screening of ethnopharmacologically used plants and assessment of the validity to the indigenous uses is worthwhile.

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    • "These books were the outcome of studies conducted in different parts of Nepal [35,66] or specific regions [67] or review books on medicinal plants [15,36,68]. We also consulted recent studies that were not included in the books described above [7,17,20,29,30,47,59,69-72]. The pharmacological studies included tests of crude or purified plant extracts against a particular type of microbe or disease. "
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    ABSTRACT: We can conserve cultural heritage and gain extensive knowledge of plant species with pharmacological potential to cure simple to life-threatening diseases by studying the use of plants in indigenous communities. Therefore, it is important to conduct ethnobotanical studies in indigenous communities and to validate the reported uses of plants by comparing ethnobotanical studies with phytochemical and pharmacological studies.Materials and methods: This study was conducted in a Tamang community dwelling in the Makawanpur district of central Nepal. We used semi-structured and structured questionnaires during interviews to collect information. We compared use reports with available phytochemical and pharmacological studies for validation. A total of 161 plant species belonging to 86 families and 144 genera to cure 89 human ailments were documented. Although 68 plant species were cited as medicinal in previous studies, 55 different uses described by the Tamang people were not found in any of the compared studies. Traditional uses for 60 plant species were consistent with pharmacological and phytochemical studies. The Tamang people in Makawanpur are rich in ethnopharmacological understanding. The present study highlights important medicinal plant species by validating their traditional uses. Different plant species can improve local economies through proper harvesting, adequate management and development of modern techniques to maximize their use.
    Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 01/2014; 10(1):5. DOI:10.1186/1746-4269-10-5 · 2.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plant species have long been used as principal ingredients of traditional medicine in far-west Nepal. The medicinal plants with ethnomedicinal values are currently being screened for their therapeutic potential but their data and information are inadequately compared and analyzed with the Ayurveda and the phytochemical findings. The present study evaluated ethnomedicinal plants and their uses following literature review, comparison, field observations, and analysis. Comparison was made against earlier standard literature of medicinal plants and ethnomedicine of the same area, the common uses of the Ayurveda and the latest common phytochemical findings. The field study for primary data collection was carried out from 2006-2008. The herbal medicine in far-west Nepal is the basis of treatment of most illness through traditional knowledge. The medicine is made available via ancient, natural health care practices such as tribal lore, home herbal remedy, and the Baidhya, Ayurveda and Amchi systems. The traditional herbal medicine has not only survived but also thrived in the trans-cultural environment with its intermixture of ethnic traditions and beliefs. The present assessment showed that traditional herbal medicine has flourished in rural areas where modern medicine is parsimoniously accessed because of the high cost and long travel time to health center. Of the 48 Nepalese medicinal plants assessed in the present communication, about half of the species showed affinity with the common uses of the Ayurveda, earlier studies and the latest phytochemical findings. The folk uses of Acacia catechu for cold and cough, Aconitum spicatum as an analgesic, Aesculus indica for joint pain, Andrographis paniculata for fever, Anisomeles indica for urinary affections, Azadirachta indica for fever, Euphorbia hirta for asthma, Taxus wallichiana for tumor control, and Tinospora sinensis for diabetes are consistent with the latest pharmacological findings, common Ayurvedic and earlier uses. Although traditional herbal medicine is only a primary means of health care in far-west Nepal, the medicine has been pursued indigenously with complementing pharmacology and the Ayurveda. Therefore, further pharmacological evaluation of traditional herbal medicine deserves more attention.
    Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 12/2010; 6(1):35. DOI:10.1186/1746-4269-6-35 · 2.00 Impact Factor
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