Aim: The present study was aimed in exploring the indigenous knowledge of native tribes on the utilization of wild plant species for local healthcare management in Malda district of West Bengal.
Method: Successive field surveys were carried out from July 2012–August 2013 in search of traditional healers or practitioners who ceaselessly use their worthy knowledge to treat several ailments for human purposes. The information was gathered by means of semi-structured questionnaire and group discussion. Information obtained from the informants was also cross verified to check the authenticity.
Results: Present study revealed that a total of 53 medicinal plants belonging to the 37 families are frequently used to treat 44 types of ailments with 88 herbal preparations. Out of 53 plants, herbs possess the highest growth forms (32%) that were used in making traditional formulations, followed by shrubs (24%), trees (23%), climbers (17%) and parasites (4%). Roots comprised the major plant part used (25%), followed by leaves (21%), seeds (17%), bark (13%), whole plant (8%) and fruits (6%) to prepare the medicinal formulations. The chief ailments treated in this province were azoospermia, diabetes, menstrual disorder, dysentery, rheumatism etc.
Conclusion: It can be concluded that the documentation of the ethnobotanical knowledge in management of local healthcare is the first step which will open new door for the researchers in the field of modern drug development.
Key Words: Healthcare management, Ethnobotany, Tribal, Malda district, West Bengal, India.