Ethnobotanical knowledge of Kewrat community of Morang district, eastern Nepal

Bishnu Dev Das, Niroj Paudel, Meghraj Paudel, Madan Kumar Khadka, Sajita Dhakal, Amrit KC


Background: Nepal is very rich in castes, ethnic groups and languages that have their own traditional and ritual practices on health care system. Among them, Kewrat is a multilingual group of people living in eastern Terai region of Nepal and its adjoining part of Bihar and West Bengal of India. Their mother tongues are either Surjapuri, Angika or Bengali.  Different studies on ethnobotany have been conducted in Nepal but the study on Kewrat community has not been conducted till the date and this study was conducted among the Surjapuri speaker of Kewrat community.

Methods: Ethnobotanical study using Ethnobotanical Participatory Appraisal (EPA) method was conducted at Sanbarish (Sunbarshi) municipalit of Morang district of Nepal. Interviews and group discussions were employed among Surjapuri speaking Kewrat people in Sunbarshi municipality ward number 4 (Kashijan), 5 (Ramanpur), 6 (Saranpur) and 7 (Bardanga) among 65 individuals including elderly people and traditional healers following the transect walk survey.

Results:   A total of 60 medicinal plant species belonging to 37 families were reported based on their religious practices and believes from study area. Among them, 29 herbs (48%), 12 shrubs (20 %), 15 tree (25%) and 4 climbers (7 %) were recorded. Kewrat people are found to be very rich in ethnobotanical knowledge. The plants resources have been used by Kewrat people in treating 35 different types of ailments along with traditional uses in different ritual and religious occasions.

Conclusions: The people of Surjapuri speaker of Kewrat community have a very crucial knowledge of medicinal plants. The study has documented the baseline data for further studies in the field of ethnobotany, medicinal plants and diversity. The ethnobotanical knowledge of Kewrat people is based on strong belief system and custom. They depend mostly on plant resources for curing ailments. This study suggests that the indigenous community of Kewrat has an in-depth knowledge of use of local plant resources.

 eywords: Ailments, Indigenous knowledge, Kewrat community, Medicinal plant, Plant diversity, Surjapuri language, Traditional use.

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