POST TIME: 8 May, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Medicinal plants

Medicinal plants

Bangladesh is undoubtedly rich in medicinal plant species. About 500 species of medicinal plants are found in this country. Unfortunately though, some of the medicinal plants are on the verge of extinction because of neglect and lack of knowledge about them. The use of medicinal plants is as old as human civilization. These plants species in Bangladesh are mostly used for preparation of ayurvedic, unani and homeopathic drugs. Unfortunately, the sector remains neglected although these herbs have been used by the public for cure as modern system of treatment remains inaccessible to them due to high cost. Agricultural research development programmes have kept their focus mainly on major crops to the neglect of the smaller ones, especially medicinal herbs and species.

Thankfully though, the future looks bright. With the rapid growth of the global herbal medicine market, which the World Health Organisation estimates would be valued at $3tn by 2020, researchers have said Bangladesh has the potential to tap the market with its medicinal plants. Diversity, flexibility, easy accessibility, broad continuing acceptance in developing countries and increasing popularity in developed countries, relatively low cost, low levels of technological input, relatively low side effects and growing economic importance have been identified as some of the positive features of traditional medicine.

Preserved monuments, written documents, and even unique plant medicines practiced now a day’s also indicate link between people and their quest for plant derived drugs from nature to the far-off past. The development of ideas and evolution of awareness related to the usage of medicinal plants in traditional health care systems is an outcome of long time efforts done against diseases which rendered man to learn to use plant mediated drugs from roots, leaves, barks, seeds, fruit bodies and other parts of the plants.

So far, there is hardly regulatory body to oversee the functioning of the sector, and as a result, it has turned into a happy hunting ground for the quacks. Disciplining the sector should also take care of the methods in which the plants are grown and harvested. Mainstreaming traditional medicine into public health care to achieve the objective of improved access to healthcare facilities also needs to be considered.