A case study of the knowledge and use of medicinal and aromatic plants by the Semelai community in RPS Iskandar, Bera, Pahang, Malaysia / Intan Nurulhani Baharuddin, Norshakila Yusof and Dr. Lim Hin Fui

Baharuddin, Intan Nurulhani and Yusof, Norshakila and Lim, Hin Fui (2009) A case study of the knowledge and use of medicinal and aromatic plants by the Semelai community in RPS Iskandar, Bera, Pahang, Malaysia / Intan Nurulhani Baharuddin, Norshakila Yusof and Dr. Lim Hin Fui. Research Knowledge and Intellect Application Series, 2 . Unit for Research and Intellect Application (UfoRIA), Universiti Teknologi MARA Perak, Sri Iskandar. ISBN 978-983-2721-03-1

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Abstract

The forest-dependent Orang Asli in Malaysia (total about 190,000 people in 2009) has traditionally used the forest resources to meet their daily subsistence needs and to generate cash income. Their traditional knowledge has enriched local livelihood. One such area of national interest is their traditional knowledge and the use of traditional medicinal aromatic plants. The Orang Asli's traditional knowledge on medicinal and aromatic plants have yet to be fully understood, conserved and utilised for the benefits of mankind at large. Whatever information available is often limited, scattered and rested with individual researchers and institutions, and not uniformly documented. It is important to know what the medicinal and aromatic plants used by the Orang Asli communities are. In 2008, the research team in FRIM conducted a socio-economic survey on the knowledge and use of traditional medicinal and aromatic plants of the Orang Asli Semelai community in RPS Iskandar, Bera, Pahang. The method of data collection applied was face-to-face interview. In 2008, according to JHEOA, there were about 2,000 Semelai, one of the 18 sub-ethnic groups in Peninsular Malaysia. In RPS Iskandar, there are 12 villages, headed by 5 batins. These villages are Kg. Bapak, Kg. Gau, Kg. Gabenring, Kg. Jambo/Lemok Keli, Kg. Jelawat, Kg. Lenek, Kg. Lengut/Kuin, Kg. Paya Kepong, Kg. Pelawan, Kg. Pelong, Kg. Putat, Kg. Rau-rau (JHEOA TemerlohlBera: 2007). There were 369 households in RPS. Using a sampling table, a total of 184 households were sampled for interview. Our study in 2008 showed that of the 184 households interviewed, a total of 232 medicinal plants species and 42 aromatic plants species were still used by Semelai at RPS Iskandar. Overall, they are still dependent on their traditional knowledge regarding medicinal plants. About 97% of the total households interviewed still use the medicinal and aromatic plants in daily livelihood. The wide usage of medicinal and aromatic plants among the Semelai communities is a result of a very strong affinity with their natural surroundings, mainly the natural forest. Almost all of them depend on the forest resources for livelihood in varying degrees. Through the years and many generations, they have adapted to survive in this area. While being hunter-gatherers and, later, farmers, they have learned about many different plant materials found in the surrounding forest that are useful for various purposes, such as medicines, intoxicants and health tonic. All of their knowledge regarding the traditional medicinal plants has various purposes that can help cure many illnesses and diseases as well as can be used as a health tonic. Their traditional medicinal plants are usually used for illnesses such as stomachache, fever, headache, injury, and care after childbirth as well as daily health tonic for men and women. The study also showed that while the elders have inclined to use the traditional medicinal and aromatic plants, the younger generation is less keen to use them. Among the reasons given for this attitude are modem medicines are easily available and modem medicines are more effective.

Item Type: Book
Uncontrolled Keywords: Orang Asli, community, medicinal and aromatic plants
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology > Indigenous peoples. Threatened societies
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > Human settlements. Communities > Malaysia
Q Science > QK Botany > Medical botany (General)
Divisions: Universiti Teknologi MARA Perak, Seri Iskandar > Unit for Research and Intellect Application
Depositing User: Staf Pendigitan 1
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2016 08:43
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2016 08:43
URI: http://ir.uitm.edu.my/id/eprint/13837

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