Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 741712, 28 pages
Research Article

Are Famine Food Plants Also Ethnomedicinal Plants? An Ethnomedicinal Appraisal of Famine Food Plants of Two Districts of Bangladesh

Department of Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Development Alternative, House No. 78, Road No. 11A (new), Dhanmondi, Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh

Received 27 November 2013; Revised 30 December 2013; Accepted 6 January 2014; Published 20 February 2014

Academic Editor: Menaka C. Thounaojam

Copyright © 2014 Fardous Mohammad Safiul Azam et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Plants have served as sources of food and medicines for human beings since their advent. During famines or conditions of food scarcity, people throughout the world depend on unconventional plant items to satiate their hunger and meet their nutritional needs. Malnourished people often suffer from various diseases, much more than people eating a balanced diet. We are hypothesizing that the unconventional food plants that people eat during times of scarcity of their normal diet are also medicinal plants and thus can play a role in satiating hunger, meeting nutritional needs, and serving therapeutic purposes. Towards testing our hypothesis, surveys were carried out among the low income people of four villages in Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari districts of Bangladesh. People and particularly the low income people of these two districts suffer each year from a seasonal famine known as Monga. Over 200 informants from 167 households in the villages were interviewed with the help of a semistructured questionnaire and the guided field-walk method. The informants mentioned a total of 34 plant species that they consumed during Monga. Published literature shows that all the species consumed had ethnomedicinal uses. It is concluded that famine food plants also serve as ethnomedicinal plants.