Wednesday, March 2


Malaysia is a country that treasured it natural forests (Muhamad and Mustafa, 1998). It consist precious forest heritage and rare wildlife with an abundance flora and fauna (Anon, 2004). Rainforest like Malaysia consist no less than 60% of all higher plant species known on earth and they provide all that needed for human survival, including remedies against disease (Seters, 1997).

Plant can be define as a living thing that has leaves and root and also grows in earth, especially one that is smaller than a tree (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 2005). During photosynthesis and other biochemical metabolism, plants synthesis natural biodynamic compounds for its food and protection against physiological destruction. These natural chemicals produced are recognized as active compound also known as medicine (William, 1978).
Scientific studies have proven that several medicinal plants used in Malay traditional medicine indeed do contain organic compounds which produce therapeutic effect, in other words, possess medicinal values (Muhamad and Mustafa, 1998).  In present, medicinal plants play a critical role in the healthcare provision of much of the world’s population (Natural Medicines Marketing, 1996).

Kelantan, in Malaysia is one such area where traditional healing systems are still in practice among the local natives, especially the ‘Orang Asli’ tribes (Gopinath, 2010). Orang Asli can be define as any person whose male parent is or was, a member of an aboriginal ethnic group, who speaks an aboriginal language and habitually follows an aboriginal way of life and aboriginal customs and beliefs, and includes a descendant through males of such person (Aboriginal People Act 1954, 2006).

 Many of the Orang Asli practitioners use local plant parts and plant juices to cure ailments and this practice is still in use (Gopinath, 2010). These traditional medicinal plants knowledge is only inherited to them from generation to generation which is passed down to them through tough and illustration trainings (Guntavid, 1992).  Yet, little attention has been given to their traditional expertise to incorporate their knowledge in modern medicine (Gopinath, 2010).
Problem statment:
Plants play a major role in the treatment of diseases and still remain the foremost alternative for a large majority of people. Many of the Orang Asli practitioners use local plant parts and plant juices to cure ailments and this practice is still in use.

Orang Asli community live near to the forest or in urban area where other local community live. Most of local community believes that a taboo is related to the effectiveness of medicinal plants. All practitioners seriously observe taboos. Thus, one has to undergo a long period of apprenticeships to get familiar with taboos. On the other hand, certain taboos must be observed during teaching and acquiring knowledge of traditional medicinal plants. Orang Asli community also believes on taboos in using medicinal plant as medicine.

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