KATHMANDU — Sandwiched between China and India, Nepal is known for its geographical as well as botanical diversity. The country is not only home to the tallest mountains in the world, but also to fertile floodplains on the banks of the Ganges, and rolling hills and valleys in between. Here, too, grow flowers such as the brightly colored rhododendron (Rhododendron arboreum), the national flower of Nepal, and swertia (Swertia chirayita), used to treat fevers, constipation, intestinal worms, skin diseases and liver inflammation. Local communities have for centuries lived alongside nature and made use of the plants around them for various purposes. That’s made Nepal a rich source of ethnobotanical knowledge, used to harness the medical, culinary and even ecological benefits of different plants. However, younger generations of Nepalis are shunning these age-old practices, often regarding them as superstitions, says ethnobotanist Ram Prasad Chaudhary, professor emeritus at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. Ram Prasad Chaudhary is an ethnobotanist who for decades has studied how various communities throughout Nepal use medicinal plants. Image courtesy of The World of Academy Sciences. Chaudhary, who began his journey into the field of ethnobotany in 1975 as a graduate student, recently spoke to Mongabay’s Abhaya Raj Joshi at his office about his experiences and how ethnobotanical knowledge can be saved for future generations. This interview was conducted in Nepali, and has been translated into English and edited for clarity. Mongabay: First, let’s talk about the history of ethnobotany in Nepal. According to your research, what led botanists…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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