The various surveys conducted among Kavirajes and different tribes of Bangladesh indicated that altogether 13 species distributed into 8 genera of Verbenaceae family plants are used by the folk medicinal and tribal medicinal practitioners within the country. Four plants belonged to the Clerodendrum genus, while two plants belonged to the Lippia genus. From the number of ailments treated and citations by the Kavirajes, Clerodendrum viscosum was the most frequently used plant followed by Clerodendrum indicum and Nyctanthes arbor tristis. Rheumatoid arthritis and skin diseases appeared to be the ailments for which the Clerodendrum genus was used for treatment. The results are summarized in .
Verbenaceae family plants used by the Kavirajes and tribal medicinal practitioners of Bangladesh.
Some reported bio-activities of Verbenaceae family plants used by folk and tribal medicinal practitioners of Bangladesh.
The various plant parts used for treatment included whole plants, leaves, roots, stems, barks, meristems, flowers, fruits, and seeds. Of the various plant parts used, leaves constituted the majority of uses (26.7% of total uses), followed by whole plants (15.6%), roots and stems (13.3% each), barks and flowers (11.1% each), fruits (4.4%), seeds and meristems (2.2%). Whole plant, individual plant parts, as well as a combination of plant parts were observed to be used for treatment of various ailments. For instance, whole plants of Clerodendrum indicum were used for treatment of coughs, rheumatoid arthritis, jaundice, skin diseases, edema, cancer, diabetes, and boils, while leaves were used for treatment of skin lesions on children's throat, to remove scars from face and body, skin rash, whooping cough, allergy, and abscesses. The stems of the same plant were used for treatment of eczema, itches, and toothache. A combination of leaves and roots was used for treatment of diseases of the fetus, while a combination of leaves and bark was used for treatment of skin disorders.
Although only 13 Verbenaceae family plants were used by the folk medicinal practitioners, a wide variety of diseases were treated. Among the most frequent diseases treated were skin diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory tract disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, fever, hepatic disorders like jaundice, sexually transmitted diseases, malaria, helminthiasis, and nerve disorders. Other diseases treated with Verbenaceae family plants included heart problems, cancer, edema, measles, allergy, pain, tuberculosis, menstrual problems, herpes, night blindness, sexual disorders, hypertension, cuts and wounds, fracture or sprain, snake bite, scorpion bite, dog bite, rheumatic fever, dengue fever, head lice, nausea, vomiting, urinary tract problems, leukorrhea, hepatitis, fistula, and tetanus. Of the 13 Verbenaceae family plants used, 8 plants were used to treat skin diseases, 7 plants for treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, and 5 plants each for treatment of respiratory tract infections, rheumatoid arthritis, fever, and malaria. A plant may be used for treatment of both human and cattle diseases, e.g. Clerodendrum viscosum, which while used for treatment of various human ailments was also used for treatment of colic in cattle.
Regarding tribal usage, Clerodendrum viscosum was the most frequently used plant by various tribes, including the Chak, Garo, Manipuri, Marma, Santal, and Tripura tribes. The plant next most frequently used by various tribes was Clerodendrum indicum, which was used by the Garo, Rakhain, and Tripura tribes. The ailment(s) treated by any tribe with a particular plant was not necessarily the same as other tribes or the Kavirajes belonging to the mainstream population. To cite just one example, Clerodendrum indicum was used by the Garo tribe for skin rashes, but used by the Rakhain tribe for eczema, itches, and toothache. While it may be argued that skin rashes, itches and eczema are all skin disorders, nevertheless the use of the plant for treatment of toothache was unique to the Rakhain tribe. The Rakhain tribe also used the plant for treatment of gastrointestinal problems, respiratory problems like coughs and asthma, as well as swellings in any portion of the body. Notably the mainstream Kavirajes used the same plant or plant parts for treatment of ailments like cold, asthma, respiratory problems, bloating, tuberculosis, diseases of the fetus, excessive menstrual bleeding, sexually transmitted diseases, skin and soft tissue infections, edema, and rheumatoid arthritis. Thus while a common feature may be noted in the treatment by various tribal practitioners and Kavirajes in the treatment of skin-related disorders, overall there were more varieties in diseases treated than common uses of the plant. Duranta repens was another plant used for treatment of malaria by tribal practitioners as well as mainstream Kavirajes. But while the Garo tribal medicinal practitioners used the plant exclusively for treatment of malarial fever, mainstream Kavirajes utilized the plant as an insect repellent, and for the treatment of itches, infertility, fever, and pneumonia besides treatment of malaria.