Medicinal Plants Used by Tribal Population in West Bengal

Medicinal Plants

Tribal people have kept alive the use of medicinal plants in the cure of diseases as a part of tradition and necessity. This knowledge has been passed on through the generations and the efficacy of cure validated through the use of these medicinal plants for treating particular medical conditions over hundreds of years.

The tribal population in our country has kept the knowledge of plant-based traditional medicines alive and has also in many cases preserved the plant species with medicinal values.

Researchers from Ananda Chandra College, Jalpaiguri, conducted an extensive documentation of the medicinal use of local flora by the tribal population in the district of Cooch Behar district, West Bengal by interviewing traditional healers and resource persons in the district.

The survey revealed the use of 46 plant species were being used for treating 33 physical ailments. Among different plant parts used for the preparation of medicine, leaves were most frequently used for the treatment of diseases.

Some of the medicinal plants used by the tribal populations in Bengal is indicated below:

Some of the Medicinal Plants Used by Tribal Population in West Bengal
Name Local Bengali Name Use
Amaranthys spinosus Amarnath/ ‎Kantanotya Leaves taken as a vegetable to treat anemia; root paste applied on the stomach to treat urinary disorder
Ageratum conyzoides ‎Uchunti Leaves used to treat cut
Alstonia scholaris Chhatim Bark extract used to treat intestinal worm; bark juice used to treat fever
Andrographis paniculata Kālmegh Leaf extract to treat jaundice; dried leaf extract to treat body pain
Azadirachta indica Neem Young twig used in cleaning teeth; leaf extract to treat liver ailment
Cajanus cajan Tur Leaf decoction for jaundice; leaf extract to treat dysentery
Calotropis gigantea L Aakand Leaves used to treat rheumatism
Calotropis procera Aakonda Leaves used to treat rheumatism and cuts; latex used in dog bite
Cassia occidentalis Kalkashunda Root extract applied to treat snake bite
Centella asiatica Thankuni Leaf used to treat diarrhea and dysentery; leaf extract to treat eczema
Chenopodium album L Bethusag Leaves used to treat intestinal worm
 Cleome rutidosperma Holdey Hurhure Seeds used in menstrual problems
Coccinia grandis Telakucha Leaves used to treat hypertension
Croton bonplandianum Ban Tulsi Leaf extract used to treat cut and wounds
Curcuma LongaHalud Rhizome paste applied in cuts and wounds
Cyperus rotundus Nagarmutha Root extract used to treat cuts
Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. Sissoo gach Leaf juice used to treat stomach disorder
Drymaria diandra Avijal Dried leaves smoked to treat cough
Eclipta prostrata Bhringraj  Leaf extract used to disinfect cut and wounds
Eupatorium odoratum Ashoke lata Fresh leaf juice externally applied to cuts and wounds to stop bleeding
Euphorbia hirta Barokarni Leaves used to treat menstrual problems and extract used to stop irregular periods
Glycosmis arboroea Ashsheora or Matkhila Root powder used in fever, hepatopathy, eczema, skin diseases, to treat wounds and liver complaint
Gmelina arborea Roxb. Gomari Root extract used in stomach disorder
Heliotropium indicum Hatisura Juice of plant used to treat an eye infection
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L Jabakusum Leaves used to treat burning sensation, fatigue and skin diseases; root extract used to treat cough and fever
Hygrophila auriculata Kulekhara Leaf extract used to treat anemia
Jatropha curcas L Bagbherenda Latex used to treat wounds and dysentery
Justicia adhatoda L Basak Leaf juice is taken for several days as an expectorant to treat chronic bronchitis, cough, and cold
Leucas plukenetii syn. L. aspera Ghal ghase Leaf juice used in jaundice
Ludwigia perennis Bon Lobongo Boiled plant extract used externally to reduce fever
Malvaviscous arboreous Lonka joba Flower buds are used to stop bleeding
Mangifera indica L Aam Bark used for the treatment of loose motion
Ocimum basilicum L Tulsi Seed paste applied against stings of wasps, bees and other venomous insects
Ocimum gratissimum Ban tulsi Leaf extract applied on cut to stop bleeding
Plumbago zeylanica Chitrak Root used to treat high fever; leaves used to treat cut
Psidium guajava Pyara Bark used as a contraceptive; young leaf used to treat stomach pain
Rauvolfia serpentina (L) Sarpagandha Root extract used in stomach pain and to treat intestinal worm
Ricinus communis Veranda Seed oil is used as a pain killer
Scoparia dulcis Bon dhonia Leaf juice against stomach disorder
Sesamum indicum Til Fried fruit taken in case of fever
Sesbania grandiflora Bakpul Extract of leaves used in jaundice
Sida acuta ‎Berela Root extract used against blood urea, boils and nephritis
Solanum indicum Tit begun Seed applied on teeth and gum to treat infection
Stephania glandulifera Hailakandi Root used in a headache
Vitex negundo Nishinda Extract of leaves used against whitening of hair and memory loss, also to treat cancer

Refn: Medicinal plants used by tribal population of Coochbehar district, West Bengal, India-an ethnobotanical survey, Tanmay Datta,* Amal Kumar Patra, and Santanu Ghosh Dastidar. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2014 May; 4(Suppl 1): S478–S482

We at Branolia Chemical Works use many of the medicinal plants known to the traditional healers in Bengal in our ayurvedic formulations. Use of Kulekhara in our formulation Kulleron, to fight anemia, has been inspired from the traditional knowledge of rural Bengal where Kulekhara is used extensively to fight low hemoglobin count even today. Use of Brahmi is also found extensively in rural areas of Bengal for help in general wellness and mental alertness. This goodness of Brahmi is found in our formulation Branolia. Our other formulations like Livonia, Bellytone, and Bitocough also use the medicinal plants used for ages by the indigenous population of Bengal.

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