An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used in Terai forest of western Nepal
1 Department of Botany, Butwal Multiple Campus, Tribhuvan University, Tribhuvan, Nepal
2 Eco-Auditing Group, CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Rana Pratap Marg, Lucknow, 226001, India
3 Department of Botany, Maharani Lal Kunwari Post Graduate College, Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2012, 8:19 doi:10.1186/1746-4269-8-19Published: 16 May 2012
Nepal Himalayas have been known as a rich source for valuable medicinal plants since Vedic periods. Present work is the documentation of indigenous knowledge on plant utilization as natural remedy by the inhabitants of terai forest in Western Nepal.
Study was conducted during 2010–2011 following standard ethnobotanical methods. Data about medicinal uses of plants were collected by questionnaire, personal interview and group discussion with pre identified informants. Voucher specimens were collected with the help of informants, processed into herbarium following standard methods, identified with the help of pertinent floras and taxonomic experts, and submitted in Department of Botany, Butwal Multiple Campus, Tribhuvan University, Nepal for future references.
During the present study 66 medicinal plant species belonging to 37 families and 60 genera has been documented. These plants were used to treat various diseases and ailments grouped under 11 disease categories, with the highest number of species (41) being used for gastro-intestinal disorders, followed by dermatological disorders (34). In the study area the informants’ consensus about usages of medicinal plants ranges from 0.93 to 0.97 with an average value of 0.94. Herbs (53%) were the primary source of medicine, followed by trees (23%). Curcuma longa (84%) and Azadirachta indica (76%) are the most frequently and popularly used medicinal plant species in the study area. Acacia catechu, Bacopa monnieri, Bombax ceiba, Drymaria diandra, Rauvolfia serpentina, and Tribulus terrestris are threatened species which needs to be conserved for future use.
The high degree of consensus among the informants suggests that current use and knowledge are still strong, and thus the preservation of today's knowledge shows good foresight in acting before much has been lost. The connections between plant use and conservation are also important ones, especially as the authors note that neither the local inhabitants nor the government is addressing the potential loss of valuable species in this region.