Planta Med 2009; 75 - PH40
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1234757

Medicinal plants used against syphilis and gonorrhea by traditional medicinal practitioners of Bangladesh

AH Mollik 1, T Islam 1, A Khatun 1, S Hossan 1, D Nasrin 1, R Jahan 1, M Rahmatullah 1
  • 1Department of Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering, University of Development Alternative, House No. 78, Road No. 11A, Dhanmondi R/A, Dhaka-1205, Bangladesh

Sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea are prevalent worldwide and are also present in both rural and urban areas of Bangladesh. Most people suffering from these diseases, particularly the rural population seek remedy from traditional medicinal practitioners (Kavirajes) rather than visiting modern doctors either because of lack of access or because of hesitancy in telling about these diseases to an unknown doctor. The remedies offered by the Kavirajes, although based primarily on Ayurvedic medicine, relies more on their knowledge of medicinal plants and their healing properties. We conducted an ethnomedicinal survey amongst the Kavirajes of Bangladesh to gather information on medicinal plants used by the Kavirajes to treat syphilis and gonorrhea. Plants were collected from the Kavirajes and herbarium specimens were deposited and identified at the Bangladesh National Herbarium. A total of 21 plants were identified as to their being used to treat syphilis or gonorrhea. The plants used to treat gonorrhea (with family name in parenthesis) include Amaranthus spinosus (Amaranthaceae), Piper betle (Piperaceae), Pongamia pinnata (Leguminaceae), Sida cordifolia (Malvaceae), Ocimum tenuiflorum (Labiateae), Curcuma longa (Zingiberaceae), Swertia chirata (Gentianaceae), Phyllanthus niruri (Euphorbiaceae), Abrus precatorius (Leguminaceae), Aloe vera (Asphodelaceae), Senna alata (Leguminaceae), and Pistia stratiotes (Araceae). Plants used to treat syphilis include (with family name in parenthesis) include Cassia fistula (Leguminaceae), Mucuna pruriens (Leguminaceae), Solanum surattense (Solanaceae), Azadirachta indica (Meliaceae), Terminalia chebula (Combretaceae), Phyllanthus niruri (Euphorbiaceae), Gloriosa superba (Colchicaceae), Areca catechu (Arecaceae), and Gmelina arborea (Labiateae). The plant Phyllanthus niruri (Euphorbiaceae) was used as remedy for both syphilis and gonorrhea.