An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used in Terai forest of western Nepal
© Singh et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012
Received: 20 October 2011
Accepted: 29 April 2012
Published: 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.
Identification and documentation of plant species used for the treatment and prevention of various diseases and ailments in the study area.
Identification of most common and popularly used medicinal plant species for the treatment and prevention of various diseases and ailments in the study area.
Find out the level of consensus agreement between the informants regarding the uses of particular medicinal plant(s) for the treatment of particular disease category.
The Tharu and the Magar are the main ethnic societies of the study area. They live in association with Chhetri, Brahmin, Thakuri, Gurung, Damai, Kumal, Bote, Majhi, Mushahar, Kami, Newar and others communities. Total population of the district was 7, 08,419  The Tharu tribal community share 10.57% population of the district . They are scattered all along the southern foot hills of the Himalayas. The greater parts of their population resides in Nepal, although they are also scattered in the adjacent Indian district of Champaran, Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Siddharthnagar, Basti, Balrampur, Baharaich, Shravasti, Lakhimpur-Kheri, and Nainital. There are several endogamous sub groups in the Tharu community, such as Rana, Kathuria, Dangauria, Kochila, and Mech. Tharu people choose plain lands at the jungle side or river side for house construction. They like to settle in the group of their own community members, thus their houses are found dense within a small area. Tharu people used to live in joint family traditionally and it is practiced up to now. In Tharu village, the duty of maintaining good relations among villagers, as well as conducting the village’s affairs, falls on the Mahaton (Village chief). A mahaton is elected by Gardhurryas (Tharu house hold chief) from among themselves. A Mahaton is elected, but once elected; the office becomes hereditary, unless a particular incumbent is considered a misfit. The assembly of Gardhurryas can remove an unsuccessful Mahaton. The role of mahaton in the assembly of Gardhurryas is like that of a chairman and a judge who keep others view in mind, gives the final communal decision. Due to their own believes, judgement policy and living together in close vicinity, they are considered as native Tribal community of Terai region. In Nepal Tharu tribal community is settled in the southern part of the country from the east to west along Indo-Nepal boarder and the adjacent valleys and plains between the Chure hilly regions. The Tharus are famous for their ability to survive in the moist Terai region which is deadly to outsiders due to malaria. They are farmer by occupation and cultivate rice, mustard, corn and lentils but also collect forest products such as wild fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and material to build their houses, hunt wild animals and fishes .
Materials and methods
Field works and collection of data
Detail of informants interviewed in terai forest of western Nepal
Durga Pd Shrestha
Butwal-12 Kalikanagar, Rupandehi
Senior citizen, knowledgeable person
Mohan Lal Tharu
Babu Ram Rana
Paschim Amuwa-5, Rupandehi
Local healer, farmer
Shankar Nagar-4, Rupandehi
Secretary, VDC, Shankar Nagar
Shankar Nagar-4, Rupandehi.
Local healer (vaidya), farmer
Indra Bdr. Bhujel
Paschim Amuwa-4, Rupandehi
Fodder collector, farmer
Krishna Bdr. Rana
Ram Nagar Butwal-12, Rupandehi
Plant collector, farmer
Harka Bdr. Rasaily
Local healer, farmer
Yam Bdr. K. C.
Fodder expert, healer, farmer
Sou. Pharsatikat-4, Rupandehi
Local healer, farmer
Shankar Nagar-9, Rupandehi
Plant collector, farmer
Dudhraksh- 5, Rupandehi
Plant collector, local healer
Yam Bdr Thapa Magar
Local healer, plant collector
Top Naarayan Ghimire
Secretary of chartapa irrigation, local healer, farmer
Ram Kumari Chai
Active women farmer
Sher Bdr. Budhathoki
Kalika Nagar, Butwal-12, Rupandehi
Senior citizen, farmer
Gopal Pd. Neupane
Shankar Nagar-1 Chaparhatti, Rupandehi
Local knowledgeable healer, farmer
Khushi Lal Tharu
Plant collector, local healer (vaidya)
Local healer, farmer
Shankar Nagar-3, Rupandehi
Local healer, farmer
Nar Bdr. G. M.
Gopalpur, Kha Bangai-4 Rupandehi
Farmer, local healer
Sun Bdr. Gaha
Koldanda-1 Lagad, Palpa
Local Healer, head of Lagad Village, Palpa.
Luk Bdr. Gaha
Koldanda-1 Lagad, Palpa
Plant collector and exporter.
Secretary, Butwal −12, service.
Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary
Farmer, local healer
Nar Bdr. Rana
Shital Nagar, Devdaha, Rupandehi
School teacher, farmer
Ram Ratan Gupta
Siloutiya 5 Marchwar, Rupandehi
Head master, secondary school, odwalia
Shankar Nagar-3 Rupandehi
Bhim Pd Neupane
Motipur- 4 Rupandehi
Senior citizen, Ex VDC Chairman
Yam Bdr G.M.
Hare Ram Yadav
Mukhiya, Panchmauja, Chartapa irrigation, farmer
Mrs. Janaki Aryal
Social worker, farmer
Salik Ram Aryal
Senior citizen, Ex VDC chairman
Mrs. Rita Wasti
Farmer and knowledgeable woman
Krishna Chand Chaudhary
Local healer, farmer
Secretary of Semlar VDC
Chhabi Lal Neupane
Chautare Pd. Tharu
Local healer,farmer, member of 11 mauja irrigation, chartapa
Krishna Kumar Thapa
Om Prakash Aryal
Farmer, plant collector
Ishwar Raj Lamsal
Butwal −10, Deepnagar, Rupandehi
Om Prakash Chaudhary
Butwal −13, Devinagar, Rupandehi.
Knowledgeable local healer & Farmer
Sohan Lal Chaudhary
Plant collector & Farmer
Ram Prasad Tiwari
Local Plant collector
Krishna Mohan Kohar
Knowledgeable person, teacher
Rammu Prasad Chaudhary
Piparanhwa, Baguali-3, Rupandehi
Kamal Narayan Chaudhary
Anandban VDC-4, Rupandehi
Bhiku Prasad Chaudhary
Kalika Nagar, Butwal-12, Rupandehi
Dil Bahadur Mukhiya
Kalika Nagar Butwal- 13, Rupandehi
Kha- Bangai-6, Rupandehi.
Local healer, Gurau
Gopalpur, Kha- Bangai-2, Rupandehi
Local healer, plant collector
Bhujauli, Kha- Bangai-7, Rupandehi
Local healer, plant collector
Tulshi Prasad Chaudhary
Khadag Bahadur Mahat
Kalika Nagar Butwal-12, Rupandehi
Knowledgeable person, social worker
Processing of voucher specimens for herbarium preparation and identification
The voucher specimens were brought to the laboratory and processed for herbarium specimen preparation [34–36] and identified with the help of available floras and other pertinent literatures [8, 11, 23, 37–42] and submitted in department of Botany, Butwal Multiple Campus, Tribhuvan University, Nepal for future references. The botanical identities of collected specimens were confirmed by Dr. M. P. Panthi, and Mr. B. R. Nepali, Taxonomist, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. Plant names were checked according to International Plant Name Index .
Where NUR = number of use report in a particular illness category and NTAXA = number of taxa used to treat that particular category by informants.
Result and discussion
Medicinal plants and their uses
Ethnomedicinal plants of Terai forest in western Nepal and their traditional therapeutic uses
Botanical name, family, voucher no.
Acacia catechu (L.f.) Willd., Fabaceae, AGS-45
*Bark powder is applied on tooth ache. *Wood decoction is given orally in intestinal pain. Bark paste is applied in skin diseases.
Acalypha indica L., Euphorbiaceae, AGS-66
Mukta barshi jhar (N),/Herb/Wild/Easily
*Plant decoction is given orally in toothache and earache. *Leaf paste is applied on burns. *Fresh leaf juice is applied on rheumatoid arthritis.
Acorus calamus L. Acoraceae, AGS-71
Bojho (N)/Katara (Th)/Herb/Wild
Juice of root is given orally in stomach disorders, bronchitis, fever and its small piece chewed to clear the throat and open the voice.
Achyranthes aspera L. Amaranthaceae, AGS- 33
Ulta chirchiri (Th)/Datiwan (N)/Herb/Wild/Easily
Decoction of plant is given as diuretic. Root juice is applied to treat toothache. *Root juice is given orally asthma. Stem is used as toothbrush in tooth problems.
Aegle marmelos (L.) Correa ex Roxb., Rutaceae, AGS- 25
Bel (N/Th) /Tree/Cultivated
Fruit pulp, leaf and root
Fruit juice is given orally in Diarrhoea and dysentery. Leaves are given orally in stomach disorders. *Root juice is given orally in fever and vomiting.
Ageratum conyzoides L. Asteraceae, AGS-49
Gandhe jhar (N)/Gandhaula (Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily
Leaf juice is given to cure bleeding from cuts and wounds. Plant paste is applied to cure muddy wounds between toes during rainy season.
Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f. Aloaceae, AGS- 38
Ghiu Kumari (N)/Ghrit Kumari (Th) Herb/Cultivated
Leaf juice Leaf pulp
*Leaf pulp is given orally in lung disease and stomach disorders. Leaf pulp is applied on skin burns.
Amaranthus spinosus L. Amaranthaceae, AGS-15
Ban lunde (N)/Kande Lundo (M)/Herb/Wild, easily
Tender shoot, root
Root decoction is given as diuretic. Tender shoot is given to cure leucorrhoea, flatulence, and colic pain.
Argemone mexicana L. Papaveraceae, AGS-11
Bharbhanda (Th)/Herb/Wild, easily
Milky juice and root
Milky juice of the plant is applied on tumors and skin diseases. Root paste is applied on skin diseases and flatulence.
Artemisia indica Willd. Asteraceae, AGS-52
Tite pati (N)/Pati (Th)/Herb/wild or cultivated
Tender shoot and leaves
*Leaf juice is given orally in bronchitis. Leaf paste is applied in skin diseases. Dried tender shoot powder is given orally in fever.
Asparagus racemosus Willd., Liliaceae, AGS-28
Dried root powder is given orally with hot water to cure urinary troubles. Root decoction is given orally after delivery as tonic. Tuberous root powder is given orally to increase lactation.
Azadirachta indica A. Juss., Meliaceae, AGS- 8
Neem (N/M/Th)/Tree/Wild and cultivated
Tender shoot, leaf and bark/Tree
Decoction of fresh leaves is used to wash skin to treat scabies. Young stem is used as tooth brush in tooth problems. Fresh leaves are given orally for the purification of blood and for control of sugar level. Tender twigs paste is applied on wounds for early healing.
Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennel, Scorphulariaceae, AGS-21
Jal nim, Brahami(N)/Khole Sag (M/Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily in northern parts, rare in southern parts
Plant juice is given orally as diuretic, cardiac tonic and memory enhancer. Plant juice is given as hair tonic especially in thinning and falling hairs.
Bauhinia variegata L. Fabaceae, AGS-68
Koiralo (N)/Koilar (Th)/Tree/cultivated
Bark and flower juice
*Bark decoction and flower juice are given in Diarrhoea, dysentery, indigestion and body ache. *Bark decoction is given to cure tumors.
Bombax ceiba L. Bombacaceae, AGS- 35
Simal (N)/Semar (Th)/Tree/Wild/Rare
Root decoction is given as tonic, anti-dysenteric and in urinary troubles. *Bark decoction is given orally in bronchial diseases.
Calotropis gigantea (L.) W.T. Aiton, Asclepiadaceae, AGS-12
Aank (N)/Madar (Th)/Shrub/Wild/Easily
Root, Milky latex and flower/Shrub
Root paste applied on boils, pimples, and skin disease. Milky latex is applied on muscular pain, cut, wounds, boils, and ringworm. *Flower powder is given orally in cough, cold, and bronchitis.
Carica papaya L. Caricaceae
Mewa (N)/Papita, Larmewa (Th)/Shrub/cultivated
Latex and fruit
*Milky latex is given in toothache and dysentery.
Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. Apiaceae, AGS- 36
Ghod Tapre (N)/Ghortapya, Bhatbhate(Th)/Herb/wild
Plant decoction is given orally as diuretic, tonic, blood purifier and in skin diseases, leprosy, and mental disorder. Leaf juice is given orally in indigestion.
Chenopodium album L. Chenopodiaceae, AGS-9
Bethe (N)/Bethuwa (Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily
Tender shoot and flower
Tender shoot and flower juice is given orally to kill and expel the round worm and in constipation.
Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f. Rutaceae,
Kagati (N)/Nibuwa (Th)/Shrub/Cultivated
Leaves and fruit
*Leaves are chewed to expel intestinal worms. *Rind paste and fruit juice is applied in pimples and dandruff.
Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott, Araceae, AGS-19
Pindalu, Karkalo (N)/Gabha, Ghuiya (Th)/Herb/cultivated
Corm and tender aerial parts
*Petioles used as green vegetables in liver problems. *Corm paste is applied over cuts/wounds to stop bleeding.
Coriandrum sativum L. Apiaceae
Leaf and seeds
*Leaf paste is applied on allergic inflammation. *Green leaves are used in the preparation of soft drink along with sugar and given orally inx stomachache.
Curcuma longa L., Zingiberaceae
Besar (N)/Hardi (Th)/Herb/Cultivated
Rhizome decoction is given as stimulant, tonic, and blood purifier. Rhizome paste is externally applied on strains, wounds, and injuries. Fresh rhizome juice is given as anthelmintic. Rhizome powder is given orally with luck warm water in jaundice and liver disorders.
Curcuma amada Roxb. Zingiberaceae, AGS-34
Aama haldi (N)/Amaadi (Th) /Herb/ Cultivated
*Rhizome powder is given as digestive to clean throat and tongue. *Rhizome paste is externally applied on strains, rheumatism, and inflammation.
Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. Convolvulaceae, AGS- 65
Aakashbeli (N)/Baora (Th)/Parasitic climber/wild
*Juice of the plant is given orally to treat fever. Plant paste is applied externally to treat headache, stomachache and rheumatism. Plant paste is applied on fractures.
Cymbopogon citratis (DC. ex. Nees) Stapf, Poaceae, AGS-50
Pire ghans (N)/Kagati ghans(Th)/Herb/Cultivated
Leaves are used to make tea and given orally in cough, cold, headache, and fever.
Cyperus rotundus L. Cyperaceae, AGS-48
Mothe (N)/Bhada (Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily
Tuber infusion, with sugar/salt is given orally in dysentery, Diarrhoea, and indigestion and as anti inflammatory agent.
Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. Poaceae, AGS-5
Dubo (N)/Dub (Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily
Plant paste is applied on cuts and wounds. *Root infusion along with sugar is given orally in bleeding piles and indigestion. *Plant juice used as eardrop in earache.
Dalbergia sissoo Roxb., Fabaceae, AGS-40
Sisau (N)/Sisava (Th)/Tree/cultivated and wild
Bark and leaf juice
Bark and leaf juice are given orally in Diarrhoea, dysentery and as anthelmintic. It is applied externally on cut and wounds. *Leaf decoction is given orally in gonorrhea.
Datura metel L. Solanaceae, AGS-3
Kalo Dhaturo (N/M)/herb/Wild/Easily
Leaf, stem and seed
Leaves juice is given orally in epilepsy. *Dried stem and leaves are smoked in asthma. *Seeds are boiled in mustard oil and massaged on joint pains.
Dendrocalamus hamiltonii Nees & Arn. ex Munro, Poaceae, AGS-67
Tama Bans (N/M)/Shrub/Wild/Easily
Tender shoot and stem node
*Stem node paste is applied on boils. *Tender shoots (Tama) is consumed as vegetable as aphrodisiac.
Dioscorea pentaphylla L., Dioscoreaceae, AGS-32
Bhyakur (N)/Ban Tarul (Th)/Climber/Wild
*Boiled Rhizome is given orally in abdominal pain.
Drymaria diandra Blume Caryophyllaceae, AGS-64
Abijalo (N), Sirbire Jhar (Th)/Herb/Wild/Rare
Root juice is inhaled to treat sinusitis.
Eclipta prostrata L. Asteraceae, AGS-6
Bhringi jhar, Bhringraaj (N)/Bhangaraila (Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily
Plant paste is applied on cut, wounds, skin diseases, and pimples.
Euphorbia hirta L. Euphorbiaceae, AGS-22
Dudhe Jhar (N)//Doodhe Jharra (Th) Herb/Wild/Easily
Plant juice is applied on cuts and wounds. Leaf juice is given orally in diarrhoea.
Ficus benghalensis L., Moraceae, AGS-30
Bar (N)/Bargad (Th)/Tree/Wild/Easily
Bark and milky latex/Tree
Bark infusion is given orally in diabetes. *Milky latex is applied on muscular pain.
Gloriosa superba L., Liliaceae, AGS-31
Karihari, Kewari (N)/Climber/Wild/Easy
*Rhizome paste is applied externally on ringworm and other skin diseases.
Ipomoea aquatica Forssk., Convolvulaceae, AGS-16
Kerunga Sag (N)/Kermua Sag, Karmaiya Sag (Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily
*Tender shoot is used as vegetable in gastric trouble and general debility.
Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., Convolvulaceae
Tuberous root and leaf juice
*Leaf juice is given orally in diabetes.
Ipomoea carnea Jacq. ssp. fistulosa (Mart. ex Choisy) D. Austin, Convolvulaceae, AGS-23
Behaya (Th),Besharam (N)/Shrub/Wild/Easily
Latex of leaf and tender shoot
*Latex of leaf and tender shoot are applied as antiseptic on wounds between toes in rainy seasons.
Justicia adhatoda L., Acanthaceae, AGS-14
Asuro (N)/Ross (Th)/Shrub/Wild/Easily
Warm decoction of the leaves is given to treat asthma. Juice of fresh leaves along with honey is given orally as expectorant. Juice of leaf is inhaled in bleeding nose (sinusitis). Dried powder of entire plant parts is given in bronchitis and cough.
Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl., Cucurbitaceae
Leaf, fruit and seed
*Leaf decoction with sugar is given in jaundice. Fruit juice is given in diarrhoea and, dysentery *Seeds are given as mental tonic.
Lepidium sativum L., Brassicaceae, AGS-63,
Chamsur (N/Th)/Herb/Cultivated and wild
Seed paste is applied on rheumatism. *Fresh leaves are given orally in liver problems.
Linum usitatissimum L., Linaceae,
Tishi (Th), Alasa (N)/Herb/Cultivated
Seed, and seed oil
Seed oil is applied on burns and boils. *Seed poultice is applied on rheumatic and swellings.
Malva parviflora L., Malvaceae, AGS-31
Laphe sag (N)/Bariyara (Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily
Tender shoots & Seeds
Decoction of seeds is given orally in cough and bronchitis. Tender shoots are given orally to treat swollen glands of throat. *Decoction of tender shoot and seeds are given orally to control irregular menstrual cycle.
Melia azadirachta L., Meliaceae, AGS- 41
Bakaino (N)/Bakain (Th)/Tree/Wild/Easy
Root decoction is given orally as blood purifier. Leaf paste is applied on scabies. Poultice of flower is applied externally in skin eruption.
Mentha spicata L., Lamiaceae, AGS-18
Pudina (N)/Patina (Th)/Herb/Cultivated
Leaves decoction is given orally to cure throat infection and indigestion. *Decoction of leaves with cinnamon is given orally to women for easy delivery.
Mimosa pudica L., Fabaceae, AGS-60
Boohari Jhar (N)/Lajjalu Jhar (Th)/herb/Wild/Easily
*Leaf paste is applied on hydrocele. *Leaf and root paste are given orally in piles. Decoction of plant is given in Diarrhoea, dysentery and leucorrhoea.
Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC., Fabaceae, AGS-53
Kauso (N)/Kewanch (Th) Climber/Wild/Easily
Roots, fruits and seeds
Root decoction is useful in frequent urination. *Leaf decoction is given orally in weakness and headache.
Musa paradisiaca L., Musaceae
Leaf, flower and fruit
Unripe fruits are roasted and given orally in Diarrhoea and dysentery. Extract of flowers, fruits and leaves are applied on skin burns. Stem extract reduces sugar level in blood.
Ocimum tenuiflorum L., Lamiaceae, AGS-24
Krishna Tulsi (N)/Kalo Tulsi (M)/Tilsi (Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily
Decoction of, plant is given in fever, cough, cold, headache, nausea, Diarrhoea, dysentery and skin diseases. Leaf juice is used as ear drops in earache. Leaf powder with honey is given orally in diabetics.
Phragmites vallatoria (L.) Veldkamp, Poaceae, AGS-64,
*Root decoction is given orally as refrigerant, diuretic and diaphoretic.
Phyllanthus emblica L., Euphorbiaceae, AGS-17
Amala (N)/Aura (Th)/Tree/cultivated,
Bark juice and fruit.
Bark juice is given orally in dysentery, constipation, and body ache. Fruits decoction is given orally in shore throat and as tonic.
Polygonum barbatum L., Polygonaceae, AGS-26,
Pire Jhar (N)/Bisnair (Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily
Poultice is applied externally on swelling parts of the body. *Root is given orally as astringent and cooling agent. Leaf decoction is applied externally to wash ulcers.
Rauvolfia serpentina Benth. ex Kurz Apocynaceae, AGS-37
Sarpagandha (N)/Chand maruwa (M)/Dhaldhaliya (Th)/Shrub/Rare in southern parts and Cultivated in northern parts
Leaf & root
Dried root powder is given orally to reduce high blood pressure. Root infusion is given orally in intestinal disorders. *Leaf juice is used as remedy for the removal of opacities of cornea. Root paste is applied on cuts, wounds, or boils.
Rumex nepalensis Spreng, Polygonaceae, AGS-61
Halhale Sag (N/Th)/Ban Palungo (M)/Herb/Wild/Easily
Seeds infusion is used in mouth disorders. Root paste applied externally on joint pains and wounds. Fresh leaf extract and sap is applied on cuts, wounds, and swellings.
Ricinus communis L., Euphorbiaceae, AGS-4
Ander (N)/Redi, Yamyam (Th)/Shrub/Wild/Easily
Root and seed
Root juice is given orally in diarrhoea, dysentery, and skin diseases. *Seed oil is applied as massage for babies and also applied on sole to relief from burning sensation. Seed oil is given orally in constipation and rheumatic pain.
Shorea robusta C.F. Gaertn., Dipterocarpaceae, AGS19
Sal (N)/Sakhuwa (Th)/Tree/Wild and cultivated
Root, Bark, resin and seed
Decoction is given orally in Diarrhoea and bloody dysentery. *Bark juice is used as eardrop in earache.
Solanum nigrum L., Solanaceae, AGS-2
Kali gedi (N)/Kamai (Th)/Herb/Wild/Easily
*Unripe fruits paste is applied on ringworm. Ripe fruits are given orally in constipation. Plant paste is applied externally in headaches and joint pain. Plant juice is given orally in liver enlargement, dysentery and fever
Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels, Myrtaceae, AGS-29
Phader (N)/Jamuno (M)/Jam (Th)/Tree/Wild and cultivated
Bark and fruit
Bark juice is given orally in Diarrhoea, dysentery, cut and wounds. Fruits are given orally in indigestion and constipation. Bark, Leaf and seed powder is given orally to reduce sugar level in blood.
Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb., Combretaceae, AGS-39
Barro (N)/Baheda (Th)/Tree/cultivated
Stem bark and fruit.
Bark juice is applied externally in cut, wounds, and skin diseases. Fruits powder is given orally in cough, cold, respiratory problems, fever, and indigestion.
Terminalia chebula Retz., Combretaceae, AGS-64
Harro (N)/Harad (Th)/Tree/cultivated
Stem bark and fruit.
*Bark is chewed in urinary problems. Fruits are given orally in cough, cold, respiratory troubles, fever, and indigestion and stomach problems.
Tribulus terrestris L., Zygophyllaceae, AGS-47
Gokharu, Gaikhure Jhar (N)/Herb/Wild/Rare
*Decoction is given orally in urinogenital tract infection.
Vitex negundo L., Vitaceae, AGS-69
Leaf juice and bark
Leaf juice is given orally in cough, cold, sinusitis, fever, stomach problems, and rheumatic swellings. Bark paste is applied on boils.
Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Zingiberaceae
Aduwa (N)/Suntho (Th)/Herb/cultivated
Rhizome juice is given in cough, cold, fever, indigestion, and constipation. Rhizome is chewed in bronchial infections.
Ziziphus mauritiana Lam., Rhamnaceae, AGS-43
Stem bark and fruit.
The juice of bark is given orally to treat Diarrhoea and dysentery. Ripe fruit are given orally in indigestion, constipation and other stomach problems.
Different ailments of study area grouped under different ailment categories with their biomedical terms and factor of informants’ consensus
Constipation, Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Nausea, Indigestion, Vomiting, Stomach-ache, Gastric trouble, Loss of appetite, Intestinal worms, colic pain, Flatulence, piles
Dermatological disorders and cosmetics
Cut, Wounds, Boils, Pimples, Skin rushes, Ringworm, Scabies, Leprosy, Skin burns, Skin blemishes, Ecto-parasites, Skin diseases, Hair problems, Body Inflammation
Common cold, cough, asthma, Bronchitis, Chest pain, Lung disorders
Ordinary fever, diaphoretic Malaria, Typhoid,
Sexual debility, Infertility, Leucorrhoea, Gonorrhoea, Menstrual disorders, Frequent urination, Diuretic, aphrodisiac
Ear, Nose, Throat problems
Earache, Throat shore, Nose bleeding, Sinusitis
Oral and dental disorders
Toothache, Mouth shore,
Mental tonic, memory tonic, Epilepsy
Skelto-muscular pain and swelling
Body ache, muscular pain, Sprain, Strain, Rheumatism, Arthritis, Head ache, Joint pain, swelling
Cardiac, blood pressure
Fracture, Tonic, Lactation, Easy delivery, Tumour, Diabetes, Cooling agent, stimulant and Eye problems
Symptoms of the diseases given by the tribes in terai forest of western Nepal and their equivalent bio-medical terms
Kabjiyat hunu/Pet safa na hune
Pani jasto patlo dish hune
Kamjori hune wak-wak lagne
Khana apach hune
Loss of appetite
Khana ruchi na lagne/Bhok na lagne
Pet ma juka parnu
Tallo pet dukhne
Bayu gola le pet dukhne
Disha garne thaun ma mashu palaune
Dermatological disorders & cosmetics
Chhala ma chilaune, rato dana hune
Daad hune, Chhala ko rog
Luto, Kanaune rog, Khujali hune
Ghamle chhala dadeko
Chhala ma hune rog
Jumra parnu, juka lagnu
Rauko rog, Kapal ko samsya
Sarir sunnine ra polne
Respiratory diseases & Fever
Dam rog bhayeko, Swash phulne rog
Ghanti ko rog
Fokswo ko rog
Pasina bagaune rog
Swet Pradar/Yoni bat seto pani bagne
Yoni bat ganaune pani jasto aaune/Estree haru ma youn rog
Nachune huda ko rog/Mahinwari huda lagne rog
Pishab aayee rakhne
Youn bardhak/Youn ko tagat
Ear, Nose, Throat problems
Nak bat ragat bagne
Oral & Dental disorders
Mukhma ghau, dana hune
Buddhi badhaune aushadhi
Smaranshakti badhaune aushadhi
Chhare rog/Mirgi rog
Skeleto-muscular pain & swelling
Manspeshi haru dukheko
Mutu lai tagat dine aushadhi
Rakta chaap bhayeko
Tagat dine aushadhi
Sajilai sutkeri garaune
Shitalta dine aushadhi
Uttejana badhaune aushadhi
Aankh ko rog
Growth forms, plant parts used, method of collection, processing and administration
Identification of new claims and reliability of reported claims
Reported uses of various medicinal plants were compared with previously published ethnobotanical literatures in Nepal and adjoining areas of India [2–20, 25, 30] which identifies new medicinal uses of Acacia catechu Acalypha indica, Achyranthes aspera, Aegle marmelos, Aloe vera, Artemisia indica, Bauhinia variegata, Bombax ceiba, Calotropis gigantea, Carica papaya, Citrus limon, Colocasia esculenta Coriandrum sativum, Curcuma amada Cuscuta reflexa, Cynodon dactylon, Dalbergia sissoo, Datura metel, Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, Dioscorea pentaphylla, Ficus benghalensis, Gloriosa superba Ipomoea aquatica, Ipomoea batatas, Ipomoea carnea Jacq. ssp. fistulosa Lagenaria siceraria, Lepidium sativum, Linum usitatissimum, Malva parviflora Mentha spicata, Mimosa pudica, Mucuna pruriens, Phragmites vallatoria Polygonum barbatum Rauvolfia serpentina, Ricinus communis Shorea robusta, Solanum nigrum, Terminalia chebula, and Tribulus terrestris are reported for the first time in Nepal and adjoining areas of India. Some of the medicinal plants reported during the present study were reported for biological activities and bioactive constituents responsible for their therapeutic properties [7, 17, 46–50] which justify and validate the usages of these species for medicinal purposes in the study area.
Consensus of agreement about uses of medicinal plants among informants
To gain credibility, scientific studies that utilize traditional knowledge must be reliable. In ethnobotanical studies, consensus analysis provides a measure of reliability for any given claim providing reliable evidence. The product of FIC ranges from 0 to 1. High value of FIC indicates the agreement of selection of taxa between informants, whereas a low value indicates disagreement . Recently consensus analysis has been used as an important tool for the analysis of ethnobotanical data [19, 22, 51–58]. 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 (Table 3), which shows high level of agreements among the informants. The high level of consensus among the informants about the usages of medicinal plants for the treatment and prevention of various diseases and ailments prevalent in the study area suggests that the ethnomedicinal uses of plants are currently in practice in the study area.
Availability of medicinal plants in terai forest, conservation efforts and needs
As for as availability of medicinal plants is concerned 39% medicinal plants are cultivated for food, fruit, spices and trade; thus are easily available for medicinal purposes. Majority of the 61% wild medicinal plant species are available without difficulty in the study area except Acacia catechu, Bacopa monnieri, Bombax ceiba, Drymaria diandra, Rauvolfia serpentina and Tribulus terrestris which are available with difficulty and needs to be conserved for future use. Unfortunately, neither local inhabitants nor Government is making serious efforts for conservation of medicinal plants in the study area. Unsustainable collection of generative and vegetative parts of medicinal plants from natural resources reduces their population as well as decrease multiplication and regenerative power. There is an urgent need to create awareness among the inhabitants of the study area about sustainable collection, conservation, domestication, small scale (home garden for personal use) as well as large scale (for trade) cultivation of medicinal plants. This will also improve the socio-economic condition of the inhabitants as well as reduce pressure on natural resources.
Knowledge about traditional healing system and its transfer from one generation to other
Bhagirathi Tharu, Mandali Tharu and Khadanand Poudyal are the main expert from the study area. These experts are working in this field since more than 30 years. Though there is a sub health post with less equipped facility in Shankar Nagar VDC and the modern hospital facilities are available in Butwal municipality which is near about 10 km far from Shankar Nagar VDC. The tribal people of the study area prefer traditional medicinal practice to the modern medicinal system because they know more about the medicinal plants which are easily available in their local area and herbal formulations are cooperatively cheaper and free from side effects. The tribal communities of the study area are not exception to the present stream of modernization and the traditional medicinal practice seems to be disappearing among the tribal communities of the study area. During present study it was found that the knowledge about utilization of medicinal plant species is generally accumulated by observation and experiences and transferred to the next generation by words of mouth. Our finding was similar to findings in other parts of India and abroad [24–30]. As indigenous knowledge on usages of medicinal plants is transmitted without any systematic process, and younger generations of the tribes are not interested in traditional healing system because it has no/very little scope for money, so they engage themselves in other occupations. Thus, it is certain that such knowledge is at the risk of disappearance in the future .
Present study revealed that the local traditional healers of Rupandehi district, western Nepal are rich in ethnomedicinal knowledge and majority of people rely on plant based remedies for common health problems like headache, body ache, constipation, indigestion, cold, fever, diarrhea, dysentery, boils, wounds, skin diseases, urinary troubles, fractures, round worms, etc. The survey also revealed that all the traditional healers have strong faith on ethnomedicines although they were less conscious about the documentation and preservation of ethno medicinal folklore and medicinal plants. The group discussion and personal interviews show that youngsters of both Tharu and migrant society are less aware about the use of ethnomedicines; our findings are similar to reports from India . On the other hand, traditional healers who are the main repository of ethno medicinal knowledge claim extreme secrecy over their ethnomedicinal knowledge. The traditional healers have strong believe that if they disclose the secrecy about the medicinal properties of particular plant all the medicinal potentialities of the plant will be lost and the remedy will not work properly.
The authors are grateful to the Tharu tribal community and hilly migrants of study areas for sharing their indigenous knowledge throughout the field study, without their participation this research would not have been possible. AGS is also thankful to Dr. K. N. Poudyal, Herbalist, Shankar Nagar VDC for his help during the field study. The authors are also thankful to Editor-in-Chief Andrea Pieroni and three anonymous reviewers for their critical comments and useful suggestions on the previous version of the manuscript.
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