Ethnomedicinal wisdom and famine food plants of the Hajong community of Baromari village in Netrakona district of Bangladesh

Khan, Md. Arif; Hasan, Mohammad Nazmul; Jahan, Nasreen; Das, Protiva Rani; Islam, Md. Tabibul; Bhuiyan, Md. Shaiful Alam; Jahan, Sharmin; Hossain, Sophia; Rahmatullah, Mohammed
October 2012
American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture;Oct2012, Vol. 6 Issue 4, p387
Academic Journal
An ethnomedicinal survey was conducted among the Hajong community residing in Baromari village of Netrakona district, Bangladesh. The Hajongs are a relatively small indigenous community or tribe and are scattered in the north central districts of Bangladesh. Although the tribe is fast losing their traditional customs, their traditional medicinal practitioners still exist although the traditional medicinal wisdom of the Hajongs has not been previously documented. In the present ethnomedicinal survey, it was observed that Hajong traditional medicinal practitioners use both medicinal plants and animal parts for treatment of ailments. A total of 31 plants were used by the Hajong healers in their medicinal formulations. These plant species were distributed into 21 families. Of the 31 plant species, 4 plants could not be identified suggesting that the hilly forested region inhabited by the Hajongs may offer more plant species new to science. Seven formulations contained various animal parts. The Hajongs also used parts from two plant species as famine foods. It was of interest that both famine food plant species had medicinal significance, suggesting that these species may serve both famine food and medicinal purposes. The ailments treated with medicinal plants or animals by the Hajong healers were quite limited. Ailments treated with medicinal plants included respiratory tract disorders, pain, cuts and wounds, urinary problems, jaundice, oral lesions, gastrointestinal disorders, tuberculosis, and itches. However, the Hajong healers were also cognizant of complicated diseases like cardiovascular disorders, cancer and tumor and had specific medicinal plant formulations for their treatment. Animal parts included skull, bones, horn or skin from animals like Bengal fox, deer, Asiatic black beer, Indian elephant, snail, and a turtle species. The use of animal parts were mostly for esoteric purposes like 'closing' a house from evil spirits or thievery, or protection of new born baby from any harm or to prevent an enemy from entering the house. However, three animal parts were used for treatment of various types of fever. Two plant parts were also used by the Hajong community as famine foods. A review of the available scientific literature suggests that many of the medicinal plants used by the Hajongs can be validated scientifically in their traditional uses based on reported pharmacological activities present in those plants. It would be of interest to examine the plants and animal parts used by the Hajong healers in a scientific manner towards discovery of useful drugs.


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