Bangladesh

Introduction

Bangladesh, together with India, constitutes the largest part of South Asian genetic diversity. It has about 5,000 species of higher plants of which over 500 have ethnomedical value. Recently, 546 species have been identified as having medicinal and therapeutic use, of which 257 in effective remedies for diarrhoea and 47 for diabetes. (Haque, 2004). Some medicinal and aromatic plants found in Bangladesh are given in Table 1 (Haque et al., 2000; Rahman et al., 2001). The medicinal plants, particularly Indian lilac (Azadirachta indica Juss.), sacred basil (Ocium sanctum Linn.), snake root (Rauwolfia serpentina (Linn.) Benth.), malabur nut (Adhatoda vasica Nees.), white murdah (Terminalia arjuna (Roxb.) W. & A.) etc. are very popular. However, indiscriminate destruction and lack of new plantations have significantly reduced the number of these plants. Some leading medicinal and aromatic plants of Bangladesh are listed in Table 2 (Rahman et al., 2002).

Plants such as Blumea spp., Clerodendrum inerme (L.) Gaertn., Holarrhena antidysenterica (Roxb. ex Fleming) Wall. ex A. DC., Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R. Br., Leea aequata L., Pandanus foetidus Roxb., Phyllanthus emblica L., Premna corymbosa Linn., Terminalia belerica Roxb, and Terminalia chebula Retz. found in Sundarbans are commonly used for their medicinal as well as aromatic properties. The leaves of Blumea densiflora DC. and Blumea lacera (Burm. f.) DC. are used for camphor manufacture. The ripe inflorescence of Pandanus odoratissimus auct. yield an essential oil called kewda katta attar which is a popular perfume that has been extracted and used since ancient times (FAO, 2002).