Traditional Remedies for Ailments Prevalent Amongst the Thengal-Kacharis of Lakhimpur District, Assam, India
Assam, the ‘Gateway of North-East India’, is renowned for its phyto-diversity, myriad ethnic make-up and age-old tradition of indigenous healthcare. This paper documents the indigenous ethno-medicinal knowledge of the Thengal-Kachari tribesmen, who belong to the greater Bodo-Kachari ethnic group, residing in Lakhimpur district of Upper Assam. The information was collected through questionnaires in consultation with the tribal Bej’s (local healers). Plant and animal species were identified with the help of relevant standard literature and presented along with their part(s) used, method(s) of preparation and modes of administration in target diseases. About 30 species of plants, belonging to 22 plant families, and 4 species of animals belonging to 4 animal families, were collected and enumerated for their traditional usage in treatment of 13 diseases. With respect to usage, there were more plant parts (86.49%) utilized than animal parts (13.51%), of which aboveground phyto-biomass was used in bulk (64.71%) quantity, herbs being utilized in major proportion (14). The correlation of ethnomedicinal usage with Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical database evidently points out the medicinal implication of data claimed by this tribe. The present study, thus, underlines the potential for further documentation of such ethno-medicines from local healers from the rest pockets of the region for further phyto-chemical analysis, forestry practices and biodiversity conservation studies pertaining to medicinal plant utilization by this hitherto less studied ethnic group.
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