Sustainability and Change in Ethnomedicinal Practice and Healing Systems of the Traditional Fishing Communities in Coastal West Bengal

The present paper deals with ethnomedicinal practices of the traditional fishing communities in the coastal areas of West Bengal. The traditional fishermen have used various medicinal plants for curing health-related problems and diseases for a long time. The ethnomedicinal system among them is quite diverse and old. In most cases, conventional knowledge was applied in primary health care. Usually, the fishing community members have a better understanding of ethnomedicinal practices as it is available in the local areas instead of modern medical systems. The phenomenon is that they gradually left their old traditions and practices, rather accustomed to new emerging situations. In many cases, it happened due to the effects of infrastructural development, governmental influences, modernization, acculturation etc. The spread of education as well as the increasing level of consciousness also play a vital role. Here an attempt has been made to realize the conventional uses of various ethnomedicinal substances among the traditional fishing communities and successive changes come in the scenario. It is mainly a fieldwork-based study that is conducted in the traditional fishing communities’ concentrated villages in the two coastal districts of West Bengal. To conduct the study, conventional anthropological field methods have been used with due importance.