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Abstract

PHYTOTHERAPEUTIC PRACTICES OF A SPIRITUALIST FOLK MEDICINE PRACTITIONER OF BANGLADESH

Syeda Shamima Rushan, Md. Imtiaz Hossain Limon and Mohammed Rahmatullah*

ABSTRACT

Background. Folk medicine is one of the oldest forms of traditional medicinal practices in Bangladesh. Folk medicinal practitioners (FMPs) are quite common and there is usually at least one FMP in each of the 86,000 villages of Bangladesh. FMPs do not require any formal medical training and consequently can practice any time and at any place. Most FMPs acquire their medicinal knowledge (mostly phytotherapeutic knowledge) from elderly members of the family and through experimentation or learning from a ‘guru’. However, some FMPs (and they are very rare) claim to obtain their phytotherapeutic knowledge in dreams or through interaction with spiritual powers in dreams or otherwise. Methods. The objective of the present study was to document the phytotherapeutic practices of a FMP in Keraniganj, Dhaka district, Bangladesh, who claimed to obtain his knowledge in dreams through interaction with spiritual powers. Interviews were carried out with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire. Results. Although the FMP used only eight plant species, the therapeutic uses of these plant species were varied and some uses were quite unconventional. Conclusion. The plants used by the FMP merit further studies as possible sources of new drugs.

Keywords: Ethnomedicine, Keraniganj, folk medicine, spiritualist, Bangladesh.


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