Bryophytes offer a plethora of medicinal uses for tribal peoples around the world: Review

Researchers from the Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology have put together a compilation of the medicinal benefits of different bryophytes species. This was done in response to the absence of such a list prior to the efforts of the study authors.

  • The researchers gathered the necessary information on bryophytes by perusing through numerous online scientific databases, as well as soft and hard copies of books.
  • Through these, the researchers discovered around 50 bryophytes that were utilized for medicinal applications by various tribal communities the world over.
  • These applications ranged from treating mild conditions (e.g. combating head lice and encouraging hair growth) to more severe diseases (e.g. treating hepatitis and cardiovascular disease).
  • Some of the bryophytes were found to possess compounds with anticancer activities: these included antileukemic riccardin (from Riccardia multifida), and diplophyllin (from Diplophyllum ablicans and D. taxifolium), which is effective against epidermoid carcinoma.
  • Certain bryophyte species had negative effects, however. A handful of Frullania species were reported to cause potent allergic contact dermatitis and occupational contact dermatitis.
  • In addition, the study authors stated that bryophytes had non-medicinal uses, like being utilized as natural insecticides, indicators of environmental conditions, and alternative fuel sources.

Having created a comprehensive record of medicinal bryophytes, the study authors have expressed hope that biomedical researchers focusing on bryophytes use their list as reference. They also suggested that science-based assessments be performed on traditional medicine systems, such as Ayurveda and Unani, to create opportunities for newer healthcare solutions and strategies.

Full text at this link.

Journal reference

Chandra S, Chandra D, Barh A, Pankaj, Pandey RK, Sharma PI. BRYOPHYTES: HOARD OF REMEDIES, AN ETHNO-MEDICINAL REVIEW. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2017; 7(1): 94-98. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.01.007

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