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Living knowledge of the healing plants: Ethno-phytotherapy in the Chepang communities from the Mid-Hills of Nepal

DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-4-23

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Abstract:

The close and traditional dependence of many indigenous and local communities on biological resources and its importance in conservation and development is now being recognised widely. The growing appreciation of the value of traditional knowledge is due to its importance to development, conservation and other wide range of uses also for other people than those who are traditionally dependent on it [1-4].Traditional knowledge that built upon the long experiences of people was adopted in social, economic, environmental, spiritual and political practices. Since traditional knowledge is developed through a long trail and error, this could guide search for new drugs. Together with the recognition of importance of traditional knowledge, serious concern about the loss of knowledge could be observed in last few years throughout the world [4,5].Chepangs lived a semi-nomadic life, more dependent on the forests. They have generated enormous knowledge on a large number of plants species on which they have depended for centuries. Due to this, forests were most important resources for them in terms of food, fibre, medicine, housing materials, fodder and various other needs [6,7]. The loss of knowledge could also threat the existing balance between these people and natural environment.Despite many studies on various uses of plants a large number of plants and associated traditional uses still wait proper documentation [8]. This is perhaps because of the fact that these studies do not fully represent the wide range of environments in Nepal, where topography has created diverse ecological niches for species and stirred localized cultural constructions. In Chepang areas also documentation of ethonobotanical knowledge was limited to a few medicinal plants [9,10]. This study helped to document knowledge of several medicinal herbs use including many new reports for Nepal.There are approximately 52,000 Chepangs in 2000 [11] and their habitats are quite identical and found along the Tris

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