Orchids are not only important for their attractive horticultural and commercial value but alsoimportant for medicinal properties. Orchids are nature’s most extravagant group of floweringplants distributed throughout the world from tropics to high alpine 1. Bangladesh is rich inorchids, with 159 species and 2 varieties under 63 genera 2 and later on the number of speciesupdated into 178 3.
These species are distributed mainly in the hilly areas of greater Sylhet,Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Track and Mymensingh district 4. Fifty-three orchid speciesbelonging to 34 genera have exhibited various medicinal properties 5. In Bangladesh about 26species of the orchids also been used by the tribal people of Bangladesh to treat differentdiseases 6. Orchid species contain different types of alkaloid e.g. dendrobine (derived fromDendrobium nobile) which provokes violent uterine contraction, progressively paralyzesperistalsis, low blood pressure and as analgesic and vanillin (Vanilla sp) is reputed to haveaphrododisiac, carminative, tonic, antispasmodic and stimulant properties 7. The first writtenrecords on the medicinal uses of plants appeared in about 2600 BC from the Sumerians andAkkaidians 8. Pharmacological studies conducted on orchids indicate the immense potentialof these plants in treatment of conditions such as neurodegenerative disorders, anticonvulsive,anticancer, antidiabetic etc.
9. Bulbophyllum lilacinum Ridl. is a member of the familyOrchidaceae having flowers of wonderful beauty and also medicinal value.
Extracted juicefrom the pseudobulbs of Bulbophyllum species are used for restoration of adolescence and alsoas tonic 10.Recently there has been observed an increase interest in the therapeutic potential of medicinalplants as in reducing of free radical induced tissue injury 11,12. An antioxidant is a moleculecapable of showing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules such as free radicals orreactive oxygen species (ROS). Antioxidants thus play an important role to protect the humanbody against damage by reactive oxygen species 13.Bangladesh, though is a small country has a valuable heritage of herbal remedies. Its rural andtribal people living in remote areas still depends on the indigenous system of medicine.
BothAyurvedic, Unani and homeopathic systems are exist in the country. Use of medicinal plantsare getting importance day by day. There are substantial numbers of medicinal plants inBangladesh 14, 15 documented more than 500 plants. Most of them have more of lessantimicrobial properties. In our country these medicinal plants were extensively used in bothraw and semi processed forms as medicines in various pharmaceutical dosage forms whilesome of these medicinal plants are procured from indigenous sources through imports fromother countries although many of these imported plants grow naturally or under cultivation in ~ 689 ~Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistrythis country. Further, many medicinal plants suitable forcommercial development as therapeutic agents are readilyavailable in this country and many of them are highlyefficacious and are internationally recognized as official drugs16.
Some medicinal plant are used in the preparation ofKabiragi, Hakimi, Unani, Ayurvedic, Homeopathic andAllopathic system of medicine 17. Disease like cancer, AIDS(Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome) etc. are stillunimpeded. No specific active properties of medicine havebeen yet discovered against to treat these diseases. It isalarming that twelve hundred plant species is being extinct inevery year and this figure is gradually increasing. There mightbe many valuable components, which would help us tocombat against the above mentioning fatal diseases.
Therefore, we should keep our restless effort to find out thevaluable components before extinction for the incominggeneration so that they can lead their lives peacefully andhappily. So aim of the present investigation is to discoverimportant photochemical components from rare orchids ofBangladesh.