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Need of Digitisation of Indigenous Knowledge on Medicinal Plants:A Study on Santals of Birbhum Dist.

Library Herald Year : 2019, Volume : 57, Issue : 2 First page : ( 195) Last page : ( 204) Print ISSN : 0024-2292. Online ISSN : 0976-2469. Article DOI : 10.5958/0976-2469.2019.00011.3

Need of Digitisation of Indigenous Knowledge on Medicinal Plants: A Study on the Santals of Birbhum District, West Bengal

Sinha Atanu Kumar Palli Samgathana Vibhaga Library, Visva-Bharati, Sriniketan. Email: atanu.sinha1977@gmail.com; Contact: 8250880146, 8609320481

Abstract

Background Managing knowledge in general and Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in particular has become important and valuable input in management of Sustainable Development (SD). Assessment of medicinal plants and their documentation are key steps to generate the information related to their availability, utilization pattern and for the conservation prevent the rapid loss of medicinal plants. A major part of total population of India still uses traditional folk medicine obtained from plant resources. Medicines obtained from plants are believed to be much safer and exhibit a remarkable efficacy in the treatment of various ailments. Though not living in a dense forest but till now the Santals of Birbhum district basically depend upon the medicine plants, herbs and shrubs.

Objective Main objective of this paper is to assess the IK related with ethno-medical uses of plants by the Santals of four selected villages of Bolpur-Sriniketan Block of Birbhum district, West Bengal. Specific objective is to identify, capture, document and digitise IK under the study area.

Methods Questionnaire surveys, interviews, participatory observations and field visits were planned to elicit information on the uses of various plants. Respondents were selected on the basis of their ability to identify a particular plant and their basic knowledge of ethno-medicine.

Findings A total of 25 plant species belonging to 19 families were found to be used for treating 46 various physical ailments. In terms of the number of medicinal plant species, Acanthaceae (3 species) and Apocynaceae and Asteraceae (2 species each) are dominant families. Among different plant parts used for the preparation of medicine, the leaves (46.45%) were most frequently used for the treatment of diseases followed by fruits and root (consisting 10.71% each).

Conclusion The present study focuses on the documentation in preserving the IK of the Santals for these valuable medicinal plants, which may enhance the potentiality of these to other communities as well as for to understand the importance, and for further use overcoming the major challenges like intellectual property rights, languages, funds, preservation media.

Keywords Santals, Indigenous knowledge, Ethno-botany, Digitisation, Birbhum district. West Bengal.

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