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1.  Medicinal Formulations of a Kanda Tribal Healer — A Tribe on the Verge of Disappearance in Bangladesh 
The Kanda tribe is one of the lesser known small tribes of Bangladesh with an estimated population of about 1700 people (according to them), and on the verge of extinction as a separate entity. To some extent, they have assimilated with the surrounding mainstream Bengali-speaking population, but they still maintain their cultural practices including traditional medicinal practices, for which they have their own tribal healers. Nothing at all has been documented thus far about their traditional medicinal practices and formulations, which are on the verge of disappearance. The Kanda tribe can be found only in scattered tea gardens of Sreemangal in Sylhet district of Bangladesh; dispersion of the tribe into small separated communities is also contributing to the fast losing of traditional medicinal practices. The objective of the present study was to conduct an ethnomedicinal survey among the traditional healers of the Kanda tribe (in fact, only one such healer was found after extensive searches). Information was collected from the healer with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and the guided field-walk method. A total of 24 formulations were obtained from the healer containing 34 plants including two plants, which could not be identified. Besides medicinal plants, the Kanda healer also used the body hairs of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) and bats (Pteropus giganteus giganteus) in one of his formulation for treatment of fever with shivering. The ailments treated by the Kanda healer were fairly common ailments like cuts and wounds, skin diseases, helminthiasis, fever, respiratory problems (coughs, asthma), gastrointestinal disorders (stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea), burning sensations during urination, various types of pain (headache, body ache, toothache, ear ache), conjunctivitis, poisonous snake, insect or reptile bites, jaundice, and bone fractures. A number of important drugs in allopathic medicine like quinine, artemisinin, and morphine (to name only a few) have been discovered from observing indigenous medicinal practices. From that view point, the formulations used by the Kanda healer merit scientific studies for their potential in the discovery of cheap and effective new drugs. Scientific validation of the medicinal formulations of the Kanda healer can also be effective for treatment of ailments among this tribe, which does not have or does not want to have any contact with modern medicine.
PMCID: PMC3746568  PMID: 24146444
2.  Antihyperglycemic Activities of Leaves of Three Edible Fruit Plants (Averrhoa Carambola, Ficus Hispida and Syzygium Samarangense) of Bangladesh 
Averrhoa carambola L. (Oxalidaceae), Ficus hispida L.f. (Moraceae), and Syzygium samarangense (Blume) Merr. & L.M. Perry (Myrtaceae) are three common plants in Bangladesh, the fruits of which are edible. The leaves and fruits of A. carambola and F. hispida are used by folk medicinal practitioners for treatment of diabetes, while the leaves of S. samarangense are used for treatment of cold, itches, and waist pain. Since scientific studies are absent on the antihyperglycemic effects of the leaves of the three plants, it was the objective of the present study to evaluate the antihyperglycemic potential of methanolic extract of leaves of the plants in oral glucose tolerance tests carried out with glucose-loaded mice. The extracts at different doses were administered one hour prior to glucose administration and blood glucose level was measured after two hours of glucose administration (p.o.) using glucose oxidase method. Significant oral hypoglycemic activity was found with the extracts of leaves of all three plants tested. The fall in serum glucose levels were dose-dependent for every individual plant, being highest at the highest dose tested of 400 mg extract per kg body weight. At this dose, the extracts of A. carambola, F. hispida, and S. samarangense caused, respectively, 34.1, 22.7, and 59.3% reductions in serum glucose levels when compared to control animals. The standard antihyperglycemic drug, glibenclamide, caused a 57.3% reduction in serum glucose levels versus control. Among the three plants evaluated, the methanolic extract of leaves of S. samarangense proved to be the most potent in demonstrating antihyperglycemic effects. The result validates the folk medicinal uses of A. carambola and F. hispida in the treatment of diabetes, and indicates that the leaves of S. samarangense can also possibly be used for amelioration of diabetes-induced hyperglycemia.
PMCID: PMC3746627  PMID: 23983348
Averrhoa carambola; Ficus hispida; Syzygium samarangense; antihyperglycemic
3.  Evaluation of Neolamarckia Cadamba (Roxb.) Bosser Leaf Extract on Glucose Tolerance in Glucose-Induced Hyperglycemic Mice 
Neolamarckia cadamba (Rubiaceae) leaf is used in folk medicine of Bangladesh for the treatment of diabetes, but so far no scientific study has been done which may support its use in traditional medicine. The present study was carried out to evaluate the possible glucose tolerance efficacy of methanolic extract of Neolamarckia cadamba leaf using glucose-induced hyperglycemic mice. The extract at different doses was administered one hour prior to glucose administration and blood glucose level was measured after two hours of glucose administration (p.o.) using glucose oxidase method. The statistical data indicated significant oral hypoglycemic activity on glucose-loaded mice at the two highest doses of 200 and 400 mg extract per kg body weight. Maximum anti-hyperglycemic activity was shown at 400 mg per kg body weight, which was comparable to that of, glibenclamide (10 mg/kg). The methanolic extract of leaf of Neolamarckia cadamba had beneficial effects in reducing the elevated blood glucose level of hyperglycemic mice.
PMCID: PMC3218441  PMID: 22238487
Neolamarckia cadamba; Hypoglycemic activity; Serum glucose level; Glibenclamide
4.  A Survey of Medicinal Plants Used by Kavirajes of Chalna Area, Khulna District, Bangladesh 
Kavirajes or traditional medicinal practitioners form the primary healthcare providers of the predominantly rural population of Bangladesh. Kavirajes use a variety of medicinal plants for treatment of different ailments. The formulations prepared from medicinal plants vary considerably between Kavirajes of different regions of the country. The objective of this study was to conduct an ethnomedicinal survey amongst the Kavirajes of Chalna area, Khulna district, Bangladesh. That area is known to contain a diversity of medicinal plants. Information on 50 plant species was obtained. These medicinal plants belonged to 49 genera and 33 families. Twenty five plants were used to treat skin diseases and twenty three plants for treatment of intestinal tract disorders, which included constipation, indigestion, stomachache, diarrhea, and dysentery. Fourteen plants were also used by the Kavirajes to treat cancer or tumor. Nine plants were used as insecticide, eight for rheumatoid arthritis, and seven for wounds. Five plants were used to treat jaundice. Five plants were also utilized to treat animal and snake bites, which included tiger bites. Six plants were used to treat diabetes, and two each for the treatment of leprosy, and sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea. Five plants were used to treat impotency, while one plant was used as an abortifacient. Three plants were used to treat helminthiasis, which we found to be quite common amongst the population, while four plants were used to treat heart disorders. Taken together, these plant species offer considerable potential for discovery of novel compounds of pharmacological interest.
PMCID: PMC3021158  PMID: 21304618
Traditional medicine; Chalna; Khulna district; Bangladesh; medicinal plants
5.  Effect of Cuscuta Reflexa Stem and Calotropis Procera Leaf Extracts on Glucose Tolerance in Glucose-Induced Hyperglycemic Rats and Mice 
Cuscuta reflexa (whole plant) and Calotropis procera (leaves) are used in folk medicine of Bangladesh to control blood sugar in patients suffering from diabetes mellitus. The hypoglycemic effects of methanol and chloroform extracts of whole plants of Cuscuta reflexa, and methanol extract of leaves of Calotropis procera were investigated in oral glucose tolerance tests in Long Evans rats and Swiss albino mice, respectively. Both methanol and chloroform extracts of Cuscuta reflexa whole plant demonstrated significant oral hypoglycemic activity in glucose-loaded rats at doses of 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg body weight. The methanol extract of leaves of Calotropis procera, when tested at doses of 100 and 250 mg/kg body weight did not demonstrate any oral hypoglycemic effect when tested in glucose-loaded mice.
PMCID: PMC3021163  PMID: 21304621
Cuscuta reflexa; Calotropis procera; hypoglycemic activity; oral glucose tolerance test

Results 1-5 (5)