Traditional Uses Of Plants In Medicine Among The Ethnic Groups In Sarawak

Author

PAUL P. K. CHAI

Proceeding

First National Seminar on Ethnobotany,Serdang , Selangor, Malaysia

Date

16/9/1991

Keyword

Sarawak, ethnic group, traditional medicine, plants materials

Abstract

Sarawak has 24 ethnic groups who have for generations depended on the forests for survival. They have accumulated a great wealth of knowledge on uses of plants for medicines. The plants used for various purposes include epiphytes, lianas, herbs, shrubs and trees. Species used for handicrafts and rituals are limited by comparison to those for medicines. The Sarawak Forest Department initiated the project on ethnobotany in the early 1970's, and have to-date documented over 300 species in more than 100 families. The project is still on-going and specific collecting expeditions are being organised annually. This study is urgent because the primary forest resources (gene pool) from where most of the information are stored are disappearing steadily. In Sarawak, such forest resources are being preserved in totally protected areas comprising national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves. Secondary forests and abandoned farm land also play a significant role in the study of traditional medicines.