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Medicinal plants, traditional medicine, markets and management in far-west Nepal.

Kunwar RM, Mahat L, Acharya RP, Bussmann RW - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Bottom Line: About 55% plants were ethnomedicinal, and about 37% of ethnomedicinal plants possessed the highest informant consensus value (0.86-1.00).Medicinal plants are inseparable from local livelihoods because they have long been collected, consumed, and managed through local customs and knowledge.Management of traditional therapies is urged, because the therapies are empirically and knowledge based, often culturally inherited and important to pharmacology and local livelihoods.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Biological Conservation, Kathmandu, Nepal. ripukunwar@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

Background: Modern therapeutic medicine is historically based on indigenous therapies and ethnopharmacological uses, which have become recognized tools in the search for new sources of pharmaceuticals. Globalization of herbal medicine along with uncontrolled exploitative practices and lack of concerted conservation efforts, have pushed many of Nepal's medicinal plants to the verge of extinction. Sustainable utilization and management of medicinal plants, based on traditional knowledge, is therefore necessary.

Methods: After establishing verbal informed consent with participating communities, five field surveys, roughly 20 days in duration, were carried out. In all, 176 schedules were surveyed, and 52 participants were consulted through focus group discussions and informal meetings. Altogether, 24 key informants were surveyed to verify and validate the data. A total of 252 individuals, representing non-timber forest product (NTFP) collectors, cultivators, traders, traditional healers (Baidhya), community members, etc. participated in study. Medicinal plants were free-listed and their vernacular names and folk uses were collected, recorded, and applied to assess agreement among respondents about traditional medicines, markets and management.

Results: Within the study area, medicinal herbs were the main ingredients of traditional therapies, and they were considered a main lifeline and frequently were the first choice. About 55% plants were ethnomedicinal, and about 37% of ethnomedicinal plants possessed the highest informant consensus value (0.86-1.00). Use of Cordyceps sinensis as an aphrodisiac, Berberis asiatica for eye problems, Bergenia ciliata for disintegration of calculi, Sapindus mukorossi for dandruff, and Zanthoxylum armatum for toothache were the most frequently mentioned. These species possess potential for pharmacology.

Conclusion: Medicinal plants are inseparable from local livelihoods because they have long been collected, consumed, and managed through local customs and knowledge. Management of traditional therapies is urged, because the therapies are empirically and knowledge based, often culturally inherited and important to pharmacology and local livelihoods. However, traditional therapies are currently being eroded due to changing lifestyles, perceptions, social transformations, and acculturation.

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Ecological landscape favorable for medicinal plant growth.
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Figure 5: Ecological landscape favorable for medicinal plant growth.

Mentions: In order to conserve indigenous and high value medicinal plants, the government of Nepal outlawed the collection and trade of 17 important medicinal plant species [76] and has urged citizens to cultivate 30 highly valued species [77]. These initiatives have proven inadequate [78]. Because of the firm relationship between medicinal plants and rural livelihood (FigureĀ 5), it is unlikely that a legal ban can be enforced [79] due to complex management systems [80], invigorating cultivation, and sustainable management. Community-based organizations have also attempted to conserve medicinal plant resources and revitalize indigenous resource management systems. The Himalayan Amchi Association (HAA), an institution aimed at safeguarding traditional health care knowledge [81], is devoted to protect medicinal plants and strengthen the knowledge of Amchi healers [82,83]. The Amchi health care system, influenced from Tibetan Chinese medicine, is active in the high hills and mountainous districts of Nepal [7]. The Baidhya healing system, prevalent in the mid-hills of western Nepal [14], is influenced by the Ayurveda. Baidhya medicinal practitioners (particularly of western Nepal mid hills [71] and adjoining areas of India [84]) were common among privileged groups and pursued remedies to cure diseases and aliments by using nearby medicinal plants. Their knowledge base for therapies stems from custom, livelihood strategies, and available resources. Because of their prolonged existence and use, these systems and therapies are inseparable from local culture. Strengthening wise use and conservation of resources and knowledge of healing systems, which are culturally inherited and valued as well as scientifically important, may complement pharmacology [19] and the livelihood of communities inhabiting remote and high-altitude areas of the western Himalaya [85].


Medicinal plants, traditional medicine, markets and management in far-west Nepal.

Kunwar RM, Mahat L, Acharya RP, Bussmann RW - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Ecological landscape favorable for medicinal plant growth.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3643841&req=5

Figure 5: Ecological landscape favorable for medicinal plant growth.
Mentions: In order to conserve indigenous and high value medicinal plants, the government of Nepal outlawed the collection and trade of 17 important medicinal plant species [76] and has urged citizens to cultivate 30 highly valued species [77]. These initiatives have proven inadequate [78]. Because of the firm relationship between medicinal plants and rural livelihood (FigureĀ 5), it is unlikely that a legal ban can be enforced [79] due to complex management systems [80], invigorating cultivation, and sustainable management. Community-based organizations have also attempted to conserve medicinal plant resources and revitalize indigenous resource management systems. The Himalayan Amchi Association (HAA), an institution aimed at safeguarding traditional health care knowledge [81], is devoted to protect medicinal plants and strengthen the knowledge of Amchi healers [82,83]. The Amchi health care system, influenced from Tibetan Chinese medicine, is active in the high hills and mountainous districts of Nepal [7]. The Baidhya healing system, prevalent in the mid-hills of western Nepal [14], is influenced by the Ayurveda. Baidhya medicinal practitioners (particularly of western Nepal mid hills [71] and adjoining areas of India [84]) were common among privileged groups and pursued remedies to cure diseases and aliments by using nearby medicinal plants. Their knowledge base for therapies stems from custom, livelihood strategies, and available resources. Because of their prolonged existence and use, these systems and therapies are inseparable from local culture. Strengthening wise use and conservation of resources and knowledge of healing systems, which are culturally inherited and valued as well as scientifically important, may complement pharmacology [19] and the livelihood of communities inhabiting remote and high-altitude areas of the western Himalaya [85].

Bottom Line: About 55% plants were ethnomedicinal, and about 37% of ethnomedicinal plants possessed the highest informant consensus value (0.86-1.00).Medicinal plants are inseparable from local livelihoods because they have long been collected, consumed, and managed through local customs and knowledge.Management of traditional therapies is urged, because the therapies are empirically and knowledge based, often culturally inherited and important to pharmacology and local livelihoods.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Biological Conservation, Kathmandu, Nepal. ripukunwar@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

Background: Modern therapeutic medicine is historically based on indigenous therapies and ethnopharmacological uses, which have become recognized tools in the search for new sources of pharmaceuticals. Globalization of herbal medicine along with uncontrolled exploitative practices and lack of concerted conservation efforts, have pushed many of Nepal's medicinal plants to the verge of extinction. Sustainable utilization and management of medicinal plants, based on traditional knowledge, is therefore necessary.

Methods: After establishing verbal informed consent with participating communities, five field surveys, roughly 20 days in duration, were carried out. In all, 176 schedules were surveyed, and 52 participants were consulted through focus group discussions and informal meetings. Altogether, 24 key informants were surveyed to verify and validate the data. A total of 252 individuals, representing non-timber forest product (NTFP) collectors, cultivators, traders, traditional healers (Baidhya), community members, etc. participated in study. Medicinal plants were free-listed and their vernacular names and folk uses were collected, recorded, and applied to assess agreement among respondents about traditional medicines, markets and management.

Results: Within the study area, medicinal herbs were the main ingredients of traditional therapies, and they were considered a main lifeline and frequently were the first choice. About 55% plants were ethnomedicinal, and about 37% of ethnomedicinal plants possessed the highest informant consensus value (0.86-1.00). Use of Cordyceps sinensis as an aphrodisiac, Berberis asiatica for eye problems, Bergenia ciliata for disintegration of calculi, Sapindus mukorossi for dandruff, and Zanthoxylum armatum for toothache were the most frequently mentioned. These species possess potential for pharmacology.

Conclusion: Medicinal plants are inseparable from local livelihoods because they have long been collected, consumed, and managed through local customs and knowledge. Management of traditional therapies is urged, because the therapies are empirically and knowledge based, often culturally inherited and important to pharmacology and local livelihoods. However, traditional therapies are currently being eroded due to changing lifestyles, perceptions, social transformations, and acculturation.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus