Practice and Re-Emergence of Herbal Medicine

An Ethnobotanical Study of Medicinal Plants Used by the Ethnic Group of People of the District of North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Author(s): Raja Chakraborty*, Saptarshi Sanyal, Srabona Dutta, Usuf Raja Shaikh, Preet Kumar Dubey, Pritam Das, Rahul Sadhu, Koustav Dutta, Prantik Dey and Sajal Kumar Jha

Pp: 175-187 (13)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815080414123010011

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The knowledge of medicinal plants, historically, was occupied by a few specialized herbal healers in rural communities; thus, much of their use was observed as being primarily of local interest. For the past couple of decades, medicinal plants have been increasingly recognized for their role in health care and improving economic status. India is one of Asia's largest countries, with the richest arrays of well-known medicinal plants and alternative medical systems, including Ayurveda. The medicinal plants are used as traditional medicine by the indigenous people of North 24 Parganas, Howrah and Kolkata. The study aimed to identify the plant species used as traditional medicines by natives in North 24 Parganas, Howrah and Kolkata, and also to describe the method of preparation and uses of some medicinal plants. This research was conducted in three districts of west Bengal. The information recorded includes methods of treatment of disease, Tribal names of plants they used for treating various diseases, parts of the plant used, preparation and mode of application, and whether the plant is used alone or in combination with other plants. Results indicate that the indigenous people in those districts have been using at least 33 plants as a source of medicine. Most of these medicinal plants are commonly gathered from local areas. Common diseases like fever, cough and cold, constipation, hypertension, tuberculosis, wounds, etc., can be treated using medicinal plants from those three districts. Research also found that all parts of plants are used, but leaf extracts are the most common parts of the plant used for treating medical conditions. 

Keywords: Medicinal plants, Herbal healers, West Bengal, Traditional medicine, folk medicine.

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