Ethnomedicinal Knowledge for Management of Leeches in Assam
Leech infestation is a common health problem in Assam that affects people of all ages, sexes and even livestock. Ethnomedicinal practice for management of leech infestations among ethnic groups in Assam is discussed. Data collection included ethnobotanical methods of group discussions and semi-structured interview. A total of 13 medicinal plants and 08 non-plant products are used by ethnic groups for management of leech infestation. Mikania scandens and Chromolaena odorata while among non-plant sources common salt and kerosene are the most extensively used ethnomedicines against leech infestation. In rare cases of intraperitoneal leech bites, Cucumis sativus or raw duck blood is taken to expel the leech. Ethnobotanical studies followed by chemical evaluation of locally used anti-leech plants can provide valuable clues about the bioactive compounds and prioritize species for further pharmacological investigation.
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