Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ethno medicine: brief introduction

Ethno medicine is the study of the traditional medical practice. It can take in methods of diagnosis and treatment. It is used within various societies and developed before the era of modern medicine.
These include broad areas such as herbal medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathy. Most of the ancient human beings adopted different therapeutic depending upon climatic and faunal characteristic, and upon peculiar cultural and socio-structural typologies. It investigates dynamic, complex and fluid, and the deep relatively of body descriptions.
About 80% of the world's population depends wholly or partially on traditional medicine for its primary health care needs (wambebe 1990). But in Nepalese context about 70-80% rural People depend on the traditional medicine for health care. Nepal is rich in cultural, ethnic group, language and also in herbal medicine. There are various species of herbal found in Mountain region of Nepal is known by bank of herbal medicine.
The Himalayan region is rich in diverse, traditional medical knowledge systems due to cultural and environmental diversity. Hundreds of ethnic minority groups have developed their traditional medical knowledge system and they are still being used. Most of the families use the folk medicine.
The indigenous knowledge in biodiversity management is useful for the development. Excessive collection of timber, fuel wood, food plants and commercial exploitation of medical plants has provided a great deal of vulnerability to individual species. By nature, forests serve as the best biodiversity habitats of ethno medicinal plants.
Tourists coming on excursion, trekking or mountaineering rampantly collect botanical specimens. In the expedition for revenue generation, the policy of the Forest Department regarding clear felling of forest trees causes severe loss of habitat for a myriad of species. Similarly outdated measure of a forestation has led to substantial loss of medicinal plant biodiversity. Cattle grazing are one of the most destructive activities.
The medical plants used in the local health traditions are gradually becoming extinct due to developmental activities, population explosion and other prehistoric reasons. In order to reverse this trend, domestication of wild medicinal plants is utmost importance. Farmers should be involved in the cultivation of medicinal plants at least in their barren and fallow land. This would argument their income and in turn helps in the conservation of the species.
Many ethnic groups have depended on natural resources. For these people, plants from an integral part of their culture, and information about plants are passed on one generation to another through oral folklore, it often being kept secret. The use of natural herbal drugs to alleviate suffering is perhaps as old as the origin of man himself on this planet. Plants and animals with medicinal properties were held in the highest esteem in indigenous medicine systems all over the world. All indigenous remedies have originated directly or indirectly from folklore, and rituals or measures hold the key to the treasures of folk medicinal knowledge and ethno medico-botany.
The use of herbal medicine reflects the long history of human interaction with the environment. The earliest uses were documented in the Vedas from about 4500 to 600 BC representing the oldest repository. Ancient literature as well as modern scientific record of traditional medical knowledge provides evidence that medical resources for the mountain people's health care systems in the Himalayan Region are constituted of natural environmental resources.
Mountain cultures are understood as the context of biodiversity resource management which is importance for mountain people's health care. In conclusion ethno medicinal plant work related to medicinal plants and ethnic groups, culture. Nepal is rich in ethno medicinal plants. Due to low productive soil, most of them move toward wild medicinal plants for the subsistence. They are engaged particularly in collecting medicinal herbs and raw food items as part of their traditional ventures

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