Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 281-92. 2009.




A Study of Phytochemical Composition of a Few Tribal Medicinal Plants from Sriharikota


*R. Bharath Kumar and **B. Suryanarayana


*Associate Professor, Dept.Biotechnology, Vignan’s Engineering College, Vadlamudi,   Guntur-522213. email:

**Associate Professor (Retd.), # 8-307, Karnakamma Street, Venkatagiri Town –524132.


Issued 30 January 2009




SRIHARIKOTA acquired importance botanically because of rich Island vegetation and due to installation of Rocket Launching Station by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). A few Tribal colonies are domiciled there. Some aged tribal men conversed with herbal medicines and practices. With a fear that this tribal medicinal knowledge of the island may be lost, if urgently not pursued in a recorded manner for the benefit of modern society, a project on Ethnobotany  and tribal medicines of Sriharikota Island is taken up three years back in 1996. Regular field tours are conducted covering all the seasons and about 300 medicinal plants are collected along with ample field notes on folklore medicinal uses with the support of local aged tribal men. Out of these, a few plants are selected on the basis of endemism and utility and subjected to phytochemical analysis. Investigation for 11 chemical components is made in 21 samples. All the data is recorded in this paper. The results are mostly in conformity with the medicinal uses and they are discussed.



Yanadies an aboriginal tribe are in Sriharikota Island in Andhra Pradesh even after establishment of Rocket Launching Station. They are said to have been migrated from Malaya Peninsula, Africa or Australia.


Until the establishment of SHAR Centre at Sriharikota, yanadies used to live in forests and near sea coast in traditional way, drifted from the natural way of life due to agro-rural developmental activities a few aged tribal men are able to furnish ‘ethno-medicinal  data’ pertaining to their  traditional practices and healings. With the help of local tribal men, 300 ethnomedicinal plants are recorded. Based on their pharmaceutical uses they are classified into 16 – categories [Annexure II ].


Out of 300 species surveyed 21 samples falling under 6 –categories are selected for phytochemical screening. Out of them 14 species are endemic/rare. The results are discussed in detail in this article.



Sriharikota Island geometrically is located at 800 .21’ E and 130 .22’ to 140 N. It is a spindle shaped land mass sandwitched between Bay of Bengal on the east and Pulicat lake on west. It is 18 km east of Sullurpet, the nearest Railway Station connecting Madras-Kolkata trunk line. Madras is 98 km away from Sriharikota.


Materials and Methods

Intensive medico-ethnobotanical survey is conducted in Sriharikota Island for 3 years since 1996-99.Field tours at regular intervals were conducted covering all the seasons so as not to miss seasonal elements having pharmaceutical value. Plants are selected for phytochemical screening are popularly used by tribals for their general ailments [Annexure 1].

Phytochemical screening was done by the standard procedures prescribed by Bhattacharya (1956), later modified by Chhabra (1984) and Harborne (1973, 1977).


Preparation of Extracts

The plant parts (root bark, stem, leaf and whole plant etc.) were washed with water, chopped into small fragments and shade dried.  The dried samples were ground to power (each 200 gr.) and stored in polythene containers at room temperature. These samples are used for screening to detect the different classes of chemical constituents.

Extracts of sample are prepared by taking of 20 gr. of sample in 200 ml. methanol. Each sample is tested for 11 components Results are given in Annexure I.


16 Field tours of 5-7 days duration of each tour are conducted for three years during 1996-99. with the assistance of local tribal men. 300 species having medicinal uses and ample field notes also are collected regarding flowering, fruiting, flower colour and smell etc; phenological data. Further data pertaining to ethnomedicinal information of each species also recorded. 21 plant samples are choosen for phytochemical screening based on their popular pharmaceutical importance, coupled with their endemic or rare in occurrence.

Active constituents present in the plant species in different plant parts (root bark, stem, whole plant, leaves etc.) are responsible for their therapeutic effects. A preliminary phytochemical analysis is conducted to detect the presence of alkaloids, saponins, tannins, carbohydrates, proteins, steroids, trterpinoids, amino acids etc., which act as possible curing agent during folk therapy.

Tests are conducted for 11 components as detailed in the Annexure-I. Their occurrence in noted with symbol (+)in the table given total number of components present in each sample is given  in the last column (17) in parenthesis. The table also contains tribal medicinal uses and other folklore medicinal uses, so as to relate medicinal properties with the components of positive occurrence. Further these samples also grouped into 6 broad pharmaceutical categories as given in Annexure-II. Results of the tests for chemical constituents of each of the pharmaceutical group are discussed in detail, here under.



Seven test samples have PC 5 property based on their tribal /folklore medicinal use.

Upon chemical analysis five components viz. alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, amino acids, steroidal nucleus are positive in variable combinations in 7 samples. Saponins occur in 4 samples, tannins occur in 2 samples.

Presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, amino acids, steroidal nucleus in the samples consistently in variable combinations and minimum of two components positive for any 2 samples is indicative of having curative effect for PC 5 either individually or cumulatively



   4 samples positive for alkaloids (t 6) 

   Flavonoids (t 7), phenols (t 8), saponins (t 9) and steroidal nucleus (t 15) are positive for 3 samples out of 4 tested samples variably.

   Thus alkaloids seems to have curative effect in combination with flavonoids, phenols, saponins and steroidal nucleus for PC 7.



   2 samples when tested, out 11 components resulted positive for four tests i.e., t 7, 8, 9, and 15 viz. flavonoids, phenols, steroids/triterpinoids and steroidal nucleus.



   5 samples are reported for PC 9

   All the 5samples are positive for flavonoids (t7) where as 3 samples are positive in variable order for alkaloids (t 6), phenols (t 8), saponins (t 9) and tannins (t 10).

   All the 5 components occur in 1 sample i.e., Eugenia bracteata.

Thus flavonoids (t7) seem to be curative component either indivially as in Capparis brevispina or cumulatively in other samples. 


PC No. 13: Cooling and Alterative

   1 sample – Colubrina asiatica shown positive for t 7, t 9, t 13, and t 15.


PC No.16: Diabetes

   1 sample tested for 11 components. Interestingly it is positive for  9 components.  T 12 and t 16 are negative. Out of nine components which of them is specific curative is not certain for PC 16.




PC Category No.

Pharmaceutical Category [P.C.]

No. of Species Used


Respiratory and Bronchial problems






Urinary and Kidney



Piles and Constipation



Arthritis and Rheumatism



Anodyne elements



Sexual problems



Skin and Dermatitis



Opthalmic and E.N.T



Psychoactive and Nervous



Jaundice and Liver disorders



Digestive and Stomachic



Cooling and Alterative



Antipyretic, Anthelmintic and Antiperiodic



Antidotes and Antivenom







   21 Phyto-samples falling under 6 pharmaceutical categories are investigated for 11- chemical components. Results obtained are analysed to note that the presence of specific classes of chemical constituents are in confirmity with the tribal medico-therapy, given in Annexure –II.

   Further it is interesting to note that 14 samples out of  21 belong  to endemic/ rare species. In view of Endemism/Rarity of the species chosen for phytochemical analysis, these specimens need further investigation to detect specific active principles of curative effect.



   Authors are thankful to the Principal, Visodava Government College, Venkatagiri, for providing facilities and encouragement to the Director, SHAR Centre, Sriharikota, for providing facilities to carryout field work and to Dr. V. Veerraju, Head, C& LD Division, SHAR Centre, Sriharikota, for help during field work. Authors are also thankful to ISRO, Bangalore, for extending financial assistance.


Literature Cited

Anonymous, 1948-76… The Wealth of India (Raw Materials). Vol. 1-11.CSIR,          

               New Delhi, India.


Bhattacharya, S.C. 1956 a … Constituents of Centella asiatica Linn. Examination of    the Ceylonese Variety.  J. Indian. Chem. Soc.  33 : 599-586.

Chhabra, S.C., F.C.Viso and E.N.Mshiu. 1984… Phytochemical screening of Tanzanian  

  Medicinal plants 1. J. Ethno pharmacology 11 : 157-179.

Chopra, R.N., S.L.Nayar & I.C.Chopra, 1956… Glossary of Indian Medicinal plants.

CSIR,  New Delhi..

Harborne, J.B. 1984... Phytochemical methods : A guide to Modern Techniques of plant Analysis.  1 - 278 P. Chapman and Hall, London.

Nagaraju, N and Rao, K.N. 1994…Plant Phenolics of some Indegenous medicinal pants of Apocynaceae. Higher Plants of Indian subcontinent.(Addit. Series of Indian Jour. of Forestry No. VI). 211-215. 

Rameshwar Dayal 1997… Chemical Investigation of Medicinal Plants. Indian Forester,  ( 1 ) :  249-255.

Saiprasad Goud, P. 1995… Ethno-medico-Botanical studies in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh and screening of selected species for Biological activity. Ph.D. Thesis, S.K.University, Anantapur.

Sudarsanam, G. and N.S. Balaji Rao. 1994… Medicinal Plants used by the Yanadi tribe of Nellore district.  Andhra Pradesh. India. Bull. Pure and Applied Sci. 13b : 65-70. 

Suryanarayana, B., A.S.Rao, A.M.Rao and V.Veerraju. 1998. Flora of Sriharikota Island – Technical Report. I.S.R.O., Bangalore.

Ullah, N, Ahmed, Z, Anis, F. and Malik, A. 1997…Phytochemical Investigation of Daphne oleoides. Fitoterapia. Vol. 1.XIX, No.3.280.


Presented at Indian Science Congress (ISCA), 3 –7th January 2000, Pune  University, Pune.


















































Annexure 1




Tribal Medicinal Plant species is about 19 no., with their crude drug samples 21 (leaf, Root, Root bark, stem, stem bark and fruit etc.)were tested against for 11 Phytoactive components (Phytochemical screening), which are widely present in various plant species their respective results are also given here. (*with their  Phytoactive sample nos.)



S.No.   Bn., Ln., Family       Part          Tribal uses in                         Reported other

                                      used       island                                    uses




1. Breynia vitis-idea                 Lf.        Warmed with                            Leaves smoked

    Adavimunaga                                      Dalbergia paniculata              like tobacco in

    EUPHORBIACEAE                           leaves and applied in     swelled  uvula

                                                               rheumatic pains.            and  tonsils 


   Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 1(+), 2(+),5(+), 6(+), 7(+),8(+), 9(+), 10(+), 11(+) ,Total : 9. 


2.Clerodendrum                         Lf.       Warmed and applied                Leaf juice given         

    phlomidis                                          for filarial and                            in neglected

   Peddanelli/ Takkeda                             rheumatic                                  syphilitic

   VERBENACEAE                                swellings.                                  complaints.


   Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 1(+), 2(+), 5(+), 7(+),8(+), 9(+), 10(+), 11(+) Total : 8. 


3.Crotalaria                               Lf.   Leaf paste with                             Infusion of  

   laburnifolia                                    coconut oil applied                       the Wh.plant for

  FABACEAE.                                                                           inflammation of

                                                                                                               the mouth.                                                                                                                                                  

   Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 2(+), 3(+), 4(+), 6(+), 7(+), 9(+), 10(+), 11(+), Total : 8. 


4. Dalbergia                               Lf.     Warmed, applied for                              ¾     

       paniculata                                      rheumatic swellings  

     Pacchari                                             and painful parts.


  Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 1(+), 2(+), 3(+), 6(+), 8(+),9(+),10(+),11(+) Total : 8. 


 r5.Garcinia spicata                  Rt.B     Paste applied for                                       ¾   

      Pidatha /                                           pains and rheumatic              

      Errijambi                                           swellings.


     Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 1(+), 2(+), 3(+), 4(+), 6(+), 7(+),8(+), 9(+), 10(+), 11(+) Total: 8. 

 6.Holoptelia                          St.B     Warmed and applied                Juice of boiled

      integrifolia                                      on rheumatic                             bark applied on 

    Peddamanu/                                        swellings.                                  rheumatic swellings.    




    Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 2(+), 5(+), 6(+), 10(+) Total: 4.

7.Pisonea aculeata                 Rt.B     Leaves+Rt.B war-                    Bark and leaves             

   Peetrinchi                                 med and applied for                  used for swellings

   NYCTAGINACEAE              rheumatic swellings.                  & rheumatic pains

    Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 1(+), 3(+), 4(+), 5(+), 6(+),

           10(+) Total: 6.


PC.No.7 ; SEXUAL PROBLEMS :                                                                                                 

8. Capparis                             Rt.B     Used for treatment                    Cholera,                

       zeylanica                                        for janni (Post natal                   stomachic and

    Aridonda                                            complications of                        cholagogue.              

   CAPPARACEAE.                               ladies: fever accom-                             

                                                               panied with chillness).

     Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s:1(+), 2(+), 5(+), 10(+)

            Total: 4.

9.Crinum defixum                    Bul.      Scale leaves warmed   Emetic, diapho-    

   Porla gadda/                                        and applied for                         retic used for

   Chembu gadda                         swellings of testis.         treatment of the

   AMARYLIDACEAE                                                                          burns.                                                                                                                                                   

  Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s:1(+),4(+)5(+), 6(+) Total: 4.


10.Hybanthus                           Lf.        Powder with turmeric   Plant tonic,  

     enneaspermus                      powder taken orally                  diuretic; leaves

   Ratnapurusha                           for general debility        and tender sta-

   VIOLACEAE                                      and vigor.                    lks demulcent. 

   Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s:1(+),2(+),3(+),4(+),9(+),

          10(+) Total:6.


11.Linociera                             Rt.        Paste taken orally in                  ¾                 

         zeylanica                          case of sexual diseases

     Punagani                                (syphilis, gonorrhoea)

     OLEACEAE                                     and menstrual problems.

    Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s:1(+), 2(+),3(+),10(+)Total:4.



12.Pisonea                                Lf.        Leaf curry orally                       Juice mixed with        

          aculeata                                      given to children                        pepper administe-      

    Peetrinchi                                for mumps and                          red for pulmonary                

    NYCTAGINACEAE                         leprosy.                                    complaints of children.

    Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 2(+),3(+),8(+),10(+)Total:4.

r13.Ventilago                            Rt.B.    Paste applied for                       Juice remedy for   

      madaraspatana                   skin deseases.                           pains, and

    Churidi/Surudu                                                                                    malarial fever.


   Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 1(+),2(+),3(+), 4(+), 6(+),



14.Capparis                               Rt.        Paste used in                                        ¾       

      brevispina                                       tooth ache and

     Palasuri                                  infected gums.


Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 2(+) Total: 1.


r15.C. rotundifolia                    Rt.        Paste applied                                        ¾  

     Nagetimullu /                                      incase of head

     Suramullu                                           ache.



     Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 1(+), 2(+), 3(+), 4(+), 5(+)

           Total: 5.

r16.Cymbidium                         Lf.        Juice warmed and                     Emetic, purgative   

        aloifolium                                     administered                             nutrient and

     Thatisaga                               incase of earache.                     demulcent.


     Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s:2(+),4(+),5(+),8(+) Total:4.


*17.Eugenia                               Lf.      Smoke used as                                     ¾               

         bracteata                          mosquito repellent.

     Kundanedu /                  



     Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 1(+),2(+)3(+),4(+),5(+), 
             6(+),7(+),8(+),9(+),10(+),11(+) Total:11.

*18.E. bracteata                       Rt.        Paste mixed with                                   ¾               

     Kundanedu /                          goat milk and

     Kundaneredu                         applied for mumps.



    Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s:1(+),2(+)3(+),4(+),5(+), 
             6(+),7(+),9(+),10(+),11(+) Total:10.


19.Sarcostemma                        St.        Juice given to chil-                     Emetic, plant   

              acidum                                    dren to get relief                          bitter, cooling.

     Pulla teegalu                           from cold, Latex     

    ASCLEPIADACEAE                         dropped in eyes in

                                    case of cataracht

                                    for remedy. 


  Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s:1(+), 2(+), 3(+),6(+), 8(+),




*20.Colubrina                          Lf.        Juice taken as tonic.                               ¾   





  Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s:2(+), 4(+),8(+),10(+) Total:4.




*21.Casearia                            Rt.        Decoction effective                   Promotes action        

        esculenta                           remedy for diabetes                  of liver. Decoc-                                               

     Kunda jungeru                                                                                   tion used in        

     SAMYDACEAE.                                                                  diabetes and piles.


    Phytoactive components are present in the drug sample/s: 1(+),2(+), 3(+), 4(+),5(+),
              6(+), 8(+), 9(+),10(+)Total:9.





1.Alka: Alkaloids


3.Phen.: Phenols

4.Sapo.: Saponins

5.Tann.: Tannins

6.Carbo: Carbohydrates

7.Pro.: Proteins

8.Stero. /Triter.: Steroids/Triterpinoids

9.Amino.: Amino acids

10.Ster.Nuc. : Steroidal nucleus

11.Leu.antho.: Leuco anthocyanins

Total : Total Components


PLANT SPECIES                           :  19.

CRUDE DRUG SAMPLES            :  21.

ABBREVIATIONS                         :  St.: Stem, St.B: Stem bark, Rt.: Root, Rt.B: Root
                                                            bark, Lf.: Leaf, Fr.: Fruit   and

                                                            PC.No.: Pharmaceutical category number

                                                            Bn : Botanical name , Ln : Local name  and 

                                                            Fy : Family. 

                                                       *:  Endemic; r: Rare


COLOUR APPEARENCE              : R: Red, Y: Yellow, B: Blue, G: Green, P: Pink

                                                           (or) Rose, M: Majanta (or) Crimson & V: Violet.


       Plant samples extracts are prepared with methanol. (Universal solvent).