The Bedes are a nomadic people who live in boats and travel throughout Bangladesh by rivers. Their major occupation is selling various items like cooking utensils, jewelry, spices and performing various acts of entertainment like snake dancing, magical tricks or palmistry. Another occupation of this community is catching snakes, treating snake-bitten patients and advising on preventive measures to adopt to keep snakes away from entering homesteads. For their nomadic life on river boats, they are also known as the river gypsies of Bangladesh. In recent years, the Government is trying to settle the community, which is spread in small pockets throughout the country by allotting them places to live by the rivers where they can erect their own homesteads and lead a more settled life. One such community of about 7,500 people is settled by the Bangshi river in Savar municipality, which is on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital and biggest city of Bangladesh. The Bedes used to rely on their own traditional medicinal practitioners but proximity to urban life is bringing changes in their health management practices. The objective of this present study was to determine how much the health management practices of the Bedes have changed due to their adopting a more settled life. Interviews of 225 respondents were conducted with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and extensive discussions between the interviewers and the respondents. It was observed that a substantial number of respondents now visit allopathic or other types of medicinal practitioners for common ailments like colds, coughs, fevers, or dysentery. However, for sexually transmitted diseases and psychiatric problems, they still rely mainly on their own traditional medicinal practitioners. Information on several medicinal plants used by the Bede traditional medicinal practitioners (mal-vaidyas and ojhas) were collected during the interview process and detailed information on formulations and dosages obtained. Some of the medicinal plants used by the Bede traditional medicinal practitioners have been validated by scientific reports on their pharmacological properties and may prive useful in the discovery of new drugs. Key words: Bede, Savar, Bangladesh, medicinal systems
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