Search JIM Advanced Search

Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2019, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (4): 244-249.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2019.04.006

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Ethnomedicinal knowledge of indigenous communities and pharmaceutical potential of rainforest ecosystems in Fiji Islands

Shipra Shah, Jahangeer A. Bhat   

  1. Department of Forestry, College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Nausori Fiji National University, Koronivia 1544, Fiji
  • Received:2018-09-13 Accepted:2019-03-14 Online:2019-07-06 Published:2019-05-21

The World Health Organization recently raised concerns about antimicrobial resistance and lack of novel antibiotics in the health sector. The success rate of drug discovery is higher when chemical constituents are sourced from natural products and when drug candidates are based on the indigenous knowledge of local communities. Tropical rainforests are an important source of medicinal plants for traditional healthcare systems. The pharmaceutical industry also recognizes the potential of rainforests in novel drug development. However, habitat degradation and loss of traditional knowledge are endangering the healing powers of nature. The islands of Fiji have a rich cultural history of traditional medicine and a number of medicinal plants are sourced from the country’s rainforest ecosystems. While deforestation and forest degradation are decimating unique rainforest biodiversity and reducing access to medicinal plants in the wild, inter-generational erosion of ethnobotanical knowledge is attributed to acculturation, rural-urban migration and their effects on the transmission of oral traditions from one generation to another. Under these conditions, plants may disappear before their therapeutic value is formally identified. This review summarizes the importance of traditional medicinal knowledge and the potential for drug discovery from the tropical rainforest ecosystems of Fiji. However, there are several challenges that need to be addressed to realize the true potential of ethnopharmacology in this country.

Key words: Medicinal plants, Rainforest, Ethnomedicine, Traditional knowledge, Fiji Islands, Drug discovery

[1] Kayode Ezekiel Adewole. Nigerian antimalarial plants and their anticancer potential: A review. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(2): 92-113.
[2] Yogesh Subhash Biradar, Swathi Bodupally, Harish Padh. Evaluation of antiplasmodial properties in 15 selected traditional medicinal plants from India. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(1): 80-85.
[3] Baxter Blonk, Ian E. Cock. Interactive antimicrobial and toxicity profiles of Pittosporum angustifolium Lodd. extracts with conventional antimicrobials. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(4): 261-272.
[4] Hanae Naceiri Mrabti, Nidal Jaradat, Mohamed Reda Kachmar, Abdelaziz Ed-Dra, Abdelilah Ouahbi, Yahia Cherrah, Moulay El Abbes Faouzi. Integrative herbal treatments of diabetes in Beni Mellal region of Morocco. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(2): 93-99.
[5] Neeraj K. Sethiya, Nasir M. Ahmed, Raeesh M. Shekh, Vivek Kumar, Pawan Kumar Singh, Vipin Kumar. Ethnomedicinal, phytochemical and pharmacological updates on Hygrophila auriculata (Schum.) Hiene: An overview. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018, 16(5): 299-311.
[6] The Su Moe, Htet Htet Win, Thin Thin Hlaing, War War Lwin, Zaw Min Htet, Khin Mar Mya . Evaluation of in vitro antioxidant, antiglycation and antimicrobial potential of indigenous Myanmar medicinal plants. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018, 16(5): 358-366.
[7] Anternite Shanthi Jesuthasan, Deepthi Inoka Uluwaduge. Ethnobotanics used in folk medicine of Tamil culture in Sri Lanka: A scientific review. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2017, 15(1): 19-26.
[8] Amal Bakr Shori. Screening of antidiabetic and antioxidant activities of medicinal plants. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(5): 297-305.
[9] Shakti Rath, Rabindra N. Padhy. Antibacterial efficacy of five medicinal plants against multidrug-resistant enteropathogenic bacteria infecting under-5 hospitalized children. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(1): 45-57.
[10] Upendarrao Golla, Praveen Kumar Gajam, Solomon Sunder Bhimathati. Evaluation of diuretic and laxative activity of hydro-alcoholic extract of Desmostachya bipinnata (L.) Stapf in rats. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(4): 372-378.
Full text



[1] Yi-ting He, Qing-lin Zha, Jian-ping Yu, Yong Tan, Cheng Lu, Ai-ping Lv. Principal factor analysis of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and their correlations with efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 32-36
[2] Dong Yang, Yong-ping Du, Qing Shen, Wei Chen, Yan Yu, Guang-lei Chen. Expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin in renal tubulointerstitium in patients with kidney collateral stasis. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 41-44
[3] Hai-feng Wei, Bai-liu Ya, Ling Zhao, Cui-fei Ye, Li Zhang, Lin Li. Evaluation of tongue manifestation of blood stasis syndrome and its relationship with blood rheological disorder in a rat model of transient brain ischemia. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 73-76
[4] Xi Lin, Jian-ping Liu. Tai chi for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 82
[5] Guo-hong Yuan, Xiao-jing Pang, He-chao Ma. Synergic effects of Danggui Buxue Decoction in reducing toxicity of cytoxan in tumor-bearing mice. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 83-88
[6] Li Zhou, Hong-xing Zhang, Ling-guang Liu, Wen-jun Wan. Effect of electro-acupuncture at Fenglong (GV 16) on nitric oxide and endothelin in rats with hyperlipidemia. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 89-92
[7] Ning-qun Wang, Liang-duo Jiang, Zong-xing Li. Research progress in asthma-related quality of life. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 93-97
[8] Daniel Weber, Janelle M Wheat, Geoffrey M Currie. Inflammation and cancer: Tumor initiation, progression and metastasis,and Chinese botanical medicines. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1006-1013
[9] Ya-bing Zhou, Jian-er Yu, Jie Wu, Li Bai, Li-li Huo, Xin-guang Zhang, Li-qing Li . Effects of Chinese herbal medicine Bushen Gubiao Recipe on toll-like receptor 4 and CD4 +CD25 +foxp3 +regulatory T cells in mice with recurrent respiratory tract infections. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1053-1059
[10] Ya-hui Liang , Ping Li, Jing-xia Zhao, Xin Liu, Qi-fu Huang. Acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid and arsenic trioxide regulate the productions and activities of matrix metalloproteinases in human skin fibroblasts and human leukemia cell line THP-1. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1060-1069