Traditional knowledge and practices on utilizing medicinal plants by endangered Kisan ethnic group of eastern Nepal
Keywords:key informants, questionnaire, frequency index, medicinal use
Background: Nepal has diversity in castes and ethnic groups where the indigenous people whose major population live in rural areas depend on traditional practices of health care system. Among 125 caste/ethnic groups in Nepal Kisan is one of the endangered ethnic group confined at Jhapa district of the country. Several studies have documented traditional knowledge of different indigenous groups of Nepal but such study was lacking in case of Kisan.
Methods: Interview and group discussions were conducted in the Kisan communities in three village development committees and one municipality of Jhapa district of eastern Nepal. A total 91 individuals including traditional healers were interviewed. Transect walk survey was conducted to identify the medicinal plants with the key informants during the field study.
Results: The study reported 40 species medicinal plants belonging to 32 families tradionally used by Kisan community for the treatment of 34 kinds of diseases. Traditional knowledge is found associated with Kisan’s religious practices and believes. The knowledge is confined to the elderly people and limited traditional healers in the community.
Conclusion: Kisan indigenous people have a sound knowledge on medicinal plants of their locality that also reflects their religious practices and believes. As the knowledge is limited to the elderly people and only to the traditional healers there is gap of knowledge transfer to young generations. This study provides a baseline for further research and studies on medicinal plants.
Key words: Kisan, Jhapa district, traditional knowledge, medication
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