Are famine food plants also ethnomedicinal plants? An ethnomedicinal appraisal of famine food plants of two districts of Bangladesh

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Abstract

Plants have served as sources of food and medicines for human beings since their advent. During famines or conditions of food scarcity, people throughout the world depend on unconventional plant items to satiate their hunger and meet their nutritional needs. Malnourished people often suffer from various diseases, much more than people eating a balanced diet. We are hypothesizing that the unconventional food plants that people eat during times of scarcity of their normal diet are also medicinal plants and thus can play a role in satiating hunger, meeting nutritional needs, and serving therapeutic purposes. Towards testing our hypothesis, surveys were carried out among the low income people of four villages in Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari districts of Bangladesh. People and particularly the low income people of these two districts suffer each year from a seasonal famine known as Monga. Over 200 informants from 167 households in the villages were interviewed with the help of a semistructured questionnaire and the guided field-walk method. The informants mentioned a total of 34 plant species that they consumed during Monga. Published literature shows that all the species consumed had ethnomedicinal uses. It is concluded that famine food plants also serve as ethnomedicinal plants. © 2014 Fardous Mohammad Safiul Azam et al.

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Azam, F. M. S., Biswas, A., Mannan, A., Afsana, N. A., Jahan, R., & Rahmatullah, M. (2014). Are famine food plants also ethnomedicinal plants? An ethnomedicinal appraisal of famine food plants of two districts of Bangladesh. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/741712

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