Medicinal plants play an important role in the primary healthcare systems for the majority of the rural people [1]. 2003).The indigenous people of different countries of the world, living amid nature, have first-hand knowledge on benefits provides by the plants including medicinal value. They used plants not for only the treatment of various ailments, but also used as preventive measures against different ailments [2]. A number of important modern pharmaceuticals have been derived from plants used by indigenous people [3] including antibiotics, anti-malarial drugs, cardiotonics, sympatho and para-sympathomimetics etc. The ethnomedicinal knowledge about the uses of medicinal plants can be a resource for the scientists to identify potential drugs and also may have high impact from a future bio-economic point of view [4]. Thus proper documentation of these knowledges overtime is crucial to protect them from extinction [5]

There are several reports of an ethnomedicinal survey conducted among the herbal practitioners in Bangladesh [6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22]. However, there is no information on ethnomedicinal plant uses by the Khasia community of Bangladesh. So, Khasia community is selected for the purposes.

The Khasia’s are an indigenous group of people living in the forested regions of Moulvibazar district, north-eastern part of Bangladesh. They have their own traditional medicinal practitioners, called Baidday who uses plants for therapeutic as well as preventive purposes. Since this uses has been going on for centuries, it was decided to document the uses of these plants for treatment of various diseases, as practiced by the Khasia tribal practitioner. Accordingly, a survey was carried out at different Khasia village (Punji) of Moulvibazar district of Bangladesh.


The Khasia community people lives in the Sylhet, Moulvibazar and Habigonj districts of Sylhet division. Moulvibazar was selected for the study area as most of the Khasia people lives in this district. Within Moulvibazar district three Khasia Punji (small village) were selected purposively. The selected Punji’s were Lawachara, Magurchara and Kalinji under Sreemongal and Kamolgonj Upazilla. An ethnobotanical survey was conducted during 2015-16 in the selected Khasia villages. The community people particularly Baidday’s and Montri’s (Head of the Khasia village) were briefed extensively about the purpose of the survey and told that information obtained from them may be disseminated in both national and international journals and conferences. Information were collected with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire followed by Martin [23] and Maundu [24]. In this method Baidday’s were interviewed on guided field-walks through areas from where they collected their medicinal plant. Information collected on the mentioned local names, uses, and method of use, formulations, diseases for which the formulations were used and dosages. Information also collected on the season of collection, which plants parts used. Collected information were validated through eight group discussion. The collected voucher specimens were identified with the help of Forest Botany Division of Bangladesh Forest Research Institute.

Results and Discussion

The study reveals a rich diversity of medicinal plants used to treat various disease conditions by the Khasia people in Moulvibazar district. It was further revealed rich ethnomedicinal knowledge among the Khasia community people. The families like Asclapidaceae, Apocynaceae, Liliaceae, Lauraceae, Meliceae, Piperaceae and Verbenaceae, were the dominant in this study are consistently recorded in other ethnomedicinal studies.

A total of 45 plants were identified by the Baidday’s of Khasia community along with their medicinal uses. The plants were distributed into 37 families (Table 1).

Table 1: List of plants used by the Khasia people for treating different ailments.

Sl. No Scientific Name Vernacular Name Khasia Name Family Habit Plant parts used Uses/Indication
1 Abroma augusta L. Ulatkambal Tulhadar Sterculiaceae Shrub Stem Gas formation and indigestion
2 Acampe papillosa Lindl. Mar Mar Orchidaceae Herb Root Rheumatism and sciatica
3 Adiantum philippense L. Goyalelata Crakeria Adiantaceae Fern Leaf, root and stem Stomach problem and burning sensation
4 Allium tuberosum Rottler ex Spreng. Banga- gandina Bon-pias Liliaceae Herb Rhizome Skin disease and pain
5 Alstonia scholaris L Shhaitian Therosi Apocynaceae Tree Leaf, bark and latex Chronic diarrhea and malarial fever
6 Azadirachta indica A. Juss. Neem Tamaka Meliaceae Tree Leaf and bark. Skin disease, fever and pyorrhea
7 Bombax ceiba L. Shimul Tuluh Bombacaceae Tree Root Sexual weakness and dysentery
8 Calotropis procera R. Br. Akand Cele-bao Asclepiadaceae Shrub Leaf, latex and flower Toothache and pain, constipation and asthma
9 Calotrpis gigantea (L.) R.Br. Boro-akonda Chilibou Asclepiadaceae Shrub Leaf Pain and wound
10 Centella asiatica (L.) Urban Thankuni Cracro Apiaceae Creeper Leaf Blood dysentery and sexual diseases
11 Clerodendrum viscosum Vent Bhat Cradum Verbenaceae Shrub Leaf and root Chest complaint, tumors, treat impotency
12 Curculigo orchioides Gaertn. Talmul Le-liang-khudak Hypoxidaceae Herb Root Insect bite
13 Desmodium gangeticum L. Shalpani Madani Fabaceae Shrub Stem and leaf Stomach pain and menstrual pain.
14 Dioscorea alata L. Mete alu Crapung Dioscoreaceae Twiner Tuber Body pain and stomach pain.
15 Drimia indica (Roxb.) Jessop Gorasun Cra-nia Liliaceae Herb Tuber Ascites, asthma, rheumatism and skin diseases
16 Elaeocarpus floribundus Blume. Jalpai Bel-foi Elaeocarpaceae Tree Leaf Diarrhea
17 Ficus semicordata Buch.- Ham. ex Smith Dumur Shoshco Moraceae Tree Root and fruit Leprosy and ear diseases
18 Hemidesmus indicus L. Anantamul Crasara Asclepiadaceae Creeper Root and stem Cough asthma, skin diseases and pain.
19 Ichnocarpus frutescens (L.) R.Br. Shyamlata Crathera Apocynaceae Creeper Leaves Injury
20 Ipomoea mauritiana Jacq Bhuikumra Cralohid Convolvulaceae Twiner Tuber Body injury and sexual disease’s
21 Justicia gendarussa Burm. Jagatmadan Berabaha Acanthaceae Shrub Leaf Fever, rheumatism,
22 Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers. Pathorkuchi Sha Crassulaceae Herb Leaf Stomach pain and wound
23 Leucas aspera (Roth) Spreng Shetadrone Young pra Lamiaceae Herb Leaf, Stem, and flower Cold, cough, Stomach pain and toothache
24 Litsea glutinosa (Lour.) Roxb. Menda Ra-rang gra Lauraceae Tree Bark and leaf Boils, carbuncles and dysentery
25 Ludwigia hyssopifoa (G.Don) Exell. Long gach Pagla gash Onagraceae Herb Leaf and fresh stem Sores in foot
26 Microcos paniculata L. Assar Pristi Tiliaceae Tree Bark Stomach pain, blood dysentery and diarrhea
27 Mikania cordata (Burm. f.) Rob. Assam lata Japani-lot Asteraceae Climber Leaf Body injure, gastric ulcer and dysentery
28 Mimosa pudica L. Lajjabati Budialahari Mimosaceae Shrub Leaf Piles, urine tract stone and skin diseases
29 Oroxylum indicum (L.) Vent. Khana/Kanaidinga Tuliliang Bignoniaceae Tree Bark Jaundice and wound by insect bite
30 Pandanus amaryllifolius Roxb Polaopata Cra-plang Pandanaceae Herb Leaf Body pain
31 Phyllanthus emblica L. Amloki Aola Euphorbiaceae Tree Fruit Anemia and dyspepsia
32 Piper nigrum L. Golmarich Merit Piperaceae Climber Fruit Cold and cough
33 Polygonum lapathiflium L. Biskatali Hajra Polygonaceae Herb Leaf juice Jaundice and liver problems
34 Psidium guajava L. Peyara Supriam Myrtaceae Tree Leaf, flower Dysentery, wounds, and asthma
35 Scoparia dulcis L. Bandhane Slibkhar Scrophulariaceae Herb Leaf Urinary problem,, anemia, gastric ulcer , weakness
36 Swietenia mahogany (L.) Jacq. Mahogini Sowa Meliaceae Tree Bark Indigestion
37 Tamarindus indica L. Tetul Saken-chili Caesalpinaceae Tree Fruit and leaf Body pain , gastric, dysentery and dyspepsia
38 Tectaria decurrens Copel Fern Daynna Tectariaceae Fern Leaf Insect bite
39 Terminalia arjuna (Roxb.) W.and A. Arjun Arjune Combretaceae Tree Bark Dysentery, asthma, heart diseases, menstrual problems and leucorrhoea
40 Tinospora cordifolia (Willd) Hook. f. Gulancho Jermay Menispermaceae Climber Stem Acidity, jaundice chronic dysentery and diarrhea.
41 Zingiber montanum (Koenig) Wild-ada Chiangpra Zingiberaceae Herb Rhizome Cough, indigestion and weakness
42 Piper betel L. Paan Pratah Piperaceae Climber Leaf and root Cough, indigestion and gonorrhea
43 Gmelina arborea Roxb. Gamar Sagamay Verbenaceae Tree Root and leaf Fever, constipation, anemia and dysentery
44 Aquilaria malaccensis Lamk. Agar Agru Thymelaceae Tree Resin Chronic diarrhea, asthma and rheumatism
45 Cinnamomum tamala Nees. Tejpata Isli-pariang Lauraceae Tree Leaf and bark Cough, piles, skin diseases, heart diseases and gonorrhea

Most of the plants recorded during the study found to possess multi uses. The plants used to cure different ailments by the Khasia’s were tree 36% (16 species) followed by herb 24% (11 species), creeper 20% (9 species) shrub 16% (7 species), and fern 4% (2 species) (Figure 1).

Image 1

Figure 1: Habit-wise classification of ethnomedicinal plants used by the Khasia people.

Plant parts like leaf, stem, root, rhizome, bark, fruit, flower and gum/resin were used for treatment of different diseases. Leaves constituted the major plant part used (35%), followed by rhizome (19%), root (12%) and bark (11%). Other plant parts used included stem (10%), fruit (5%), flower (4%) and resin/gum (4%). The results are shown in Figure 2.

Image 2

Figure 2: Percentage of use of plant parts by the Khasia people.

About 26.5% plants were used to treat stomach problem followed by different type of pains (24%), dysentery (17.5%), cough (13%), asthma (13%), sexual diseases (13%), skin diseases (13%) and diarrhea (11%).

Fever, diarrhea, skin diseases, rheumatism, insect bite, tooth ache, injury and jaundice are the other major complaints treated by Baidday’s. The most common disorder skin diseases and rheumatism treated with 6 medicinal plants (13%). However, the Baidday’s used 12 plants for the treatment of stomach problem, 11 plants for pain and 8 plants for dysentery which suggests this is a common disorder among the Khasia people of Moulvibazar district.

Table 2: Types and frequency of different ethnomedicinal plants used by the Khasia people.

Diseases Tree Herb Shrub Creeper Fern Total Frequency of use (%)
Anemia 2 2 4.5
Asthma 3 1 1 1 6 13
Boils 1 1 2
Cold ailments 1 1 2 4.5
Constipation 1 1 2 4.5
Cough 1 2 3 6 13
Diarrhea 4 1 5 11
Dysentery 5 3 8 17.5
Ear ache 1 1 2
Fever 3 1 1 5 11
Heart diseases 2 2 4.5
Indigestion 3 1 1 1 6 13
Injury 3 3 6.5
Insect bite 1 1 1 3 6.5
Jaundice 1 1 1 3 6.5
Leprosy 1 1 2
Menstrual problem 1 1 2 4.5
Pain 2 5 2 2 11 24
Piles 1 1 2 4.5
Rheumatism 1 2 1 4 9
Sexual diseases 2 1 3 6 13
Skin ailments 2 2 1 1 6 13
Stomach problem 2 4 2 3 1 12 26.5
Tooth ache 1 1 1 3 6.5
Tumor 1 1 2
Urinary problem 1 1 2 4.5
Weakness 2 2 4.5


It is important that modern scientific studies to be done on these medicinal plants, so that the plants may be used as remedies in a more rational scientific manner. The result of this study revealed a rich diversity of medicinal plants used to treat various disease condition and ethnomedicinal knowledge, among the Khasia people. Through proper scientific investigation may yield novel compound to treat both old and emerging diseases. The study should be extended other parts of the country to discover an unknown potential use of any medicinal plants that have not been noticed earlier, but is being used for the centuries to treat many difficult diseases.


We like to express sincere appreciation and deep gratitude to all participants in this work particularly the Khasi’s of Moulvibazar who have given the permission to conduct the study.