Sacred Groves as the Source of Local Medicinal Plants and Sites of Biodiversity Conservation in North 24 Parganas, West Bengal

Main Article Content

Dibyendu S. Mahanty
Shrabana Mazumder


A Sacred Grove (SG) is any grove of trees, shrubs and even herbs of special religious importance to a particular culture. SGs are considered
as distinct patches of vegetation (ranging in size from a small cluster of a few trees to a large forest stand spanning several hundred
acres) which are venerated in the name of local deities or ancestral spirits, promoting conservation. Conservation of biodiversity in
sacred groves is a consequence of the sacred physical space of the sacred grove which is communally shared as commons and used to
observe crucial social ceremonies in indigenous societies. While documenting the sacred groves in the district of North 24 Parganas of
West Bengal through a detailed field survey, plants of local medicinal importance were identified in these patches in which the local
people traditionally conserved the medicinal plants since time immemorial. An extensive field survey to potential district areas and
documentation of major flora, including their correct identification and their related Traditional Knowledge (TK) in each SG was done.
More than 120 local medicinal plants were found and traditional knowledge associated with these plants was documented which
included Adhatoda vasica, Abroma agustum, Andrographis paniculata, Bacopa monnieri, Centella asiatica, Cocculus hirsutus, Gloriosa
superba, Tinospora cordifolia to name very few. Out of these purified aqueous extract of Cocculus hirsutus has also been reported in
COVID-19 treatment in many research papers. Traditional knowledge associated with these plants found in the sacred groves is a hidden
treasure from where further research, learning and dissemination of potential information can ensue. These SGs are examples of in-situ
conservation traditionally by local people and gene pool for various medicinal plants.

Article Details

How to Cite
Mahanty DS, Mazumder S. Sacred Groves as the Source of Local Medicinal Plants and Sites of Biodiversity Conservation in North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. IJPE [Internet]. 2023Sep.28 [cited 2023Dec.10];9(03):237-50. Available from:
Research Articles
Author Biography

Shrabana Mazumder , Barasat Government College

Assistant Professor of Geography

Department of Geography, Government of West Bengal,

Has been teaching and doing research for last 15 years in Geography with keen intereset in the effect of urbanization on agriculture, biodiversity and environmental degradation.