Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 900-09, 2009.
Ethnomedicinal Plants Used by Gond Tribe of Bhandara District, Maharashtra in the Treatment of Diarrhoea and Dysentery
1Rakhi Gupta, 2M. G. Vairale, 1P. R. Chaudhari and 1S. R. Wate
1National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur-440020 (India)
2School of Studies in Botany, Jiwaji University, Gwalior-474011 (India)
Email: [email protected]
Issued July 01, 2009
This research paper presents the findings of an investigation on traditional remedies of diarrhoea and dysentery among the ethnic group (Gond tribe) in the Bhandara district of Maharashtra state, India. 38 valuable species belonging to 27 families were identified with relevant information and are documented alphabetically in this paper with regard to their botanical name followed by family name, local name, parts used, mode of preparation and medicinal uses.
Keywords: New Bioresources; Diarrhoea; Dysentery; Gond tribe; Bhandara district; Maharashtra, India.
Since the pre-historic society man has been in way to search the cures and relief from physical and mental illness by using numerous plants and plant derived products. Biodiversity is the basis of human survival and economic well being (Singh et al., 1994) and constitutes the resources upon which families, communities and future generations depend (Dowdeswell, 1995). India is extremely rich in medicinal plant diversity distributed in different geographical and environmental conditions and associated tribal and folk knowledge systems. India has the second largest tribal population in the world after Africa (Kshirsagar & Singh, 2000).
In India it can be traced back to the ‘vedic’ period (5000-1500BC). The identity of some plants like Bombex ceiba Linn. and Ficus religiosa Linn. reffred in the ‘Rig-Veda’, can be fixed with reasonable certainty. The ‘Atharveda’ contains detailed information on approximately 2000 medicinal plants and their uses. After the ‘Vedic era’ the works of ‘Charak’ and ‘Sushruta’ namely ‘Charak Samhita’ and ‘Sushruta Samhita’ deal with 700 drugs of daily and specific uses (Mukherjee et al., 2006). The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that about 80% of the population living in the developing countries relies on traditional medicines for primary health care needs. The Indian Materia Medica includes about 2000 drugs of natural origin, almost all of which are derived from different traditional systems and folklore practices. (Narayana et al., 1998).
This plant based traditional knowledge has become a recognised tool in search for new sources of drugs and nutraceuticals (Sharma & Mujumdar, 2003). Some work on medicinal plants in relation to their utilization and conservation has been conducted in many parts of India (Padhye et al., 1992; Bhogaonkar & Devarkar, 2002; Chaudhari & Hutke, 2002 and Khumbangmayum et al., 2005).
Diarrhoea is a major public health problem in developing countries and is said to be endemic in many regions of Asia and is the leading cause of high degree of morbidity and mortality which contributes to the death of 3.3 to 6 million children annually. Multiple drug resistance among Enteropathogens in various geographic regions presents a major threat in the control of diarrhoea. Therefore indigenous medicinal plants as an alternative to antibiotic are said to play a significant role here. This particular aspect of using medicinal plants as a remedy or home cure for diarrhoea is applied in our study.
In the present study, we chose some plants currently used in the folk medicine in our region, small rural place in Bhandara, a rich fauna and a good source of medicinal plants. All of these plants selected for the study have been used as traditional folklore medicine for the treatment of dysentery and diarrhoeal diseases in this region.
Bhandara, the district of lakes and also called as the ‘rice bowl of Maharashtra’ is situated in the Nagpur division (21.09 N latitude and 79.42 E longitude). It is surrounded by Balaghat district (Madhya Pradesh) in the North, Gondia in the East, Chandrapur in the South, and Nagpur in the West and is shown in Fig. 1. The area is flat or undulating, broken by the isolated hillocks and ranges of low hills. The district is covered by Ambagad hills, Ballahi range and Pauni ranges. The forest is tropical dry deciduous type and consists of sub-types, teak forest and mixed forests. Gond people are quite aware of the uses of plant species having ethnobotanical values. So far no work has been reported on ethnobotanical uses of plant species found in Bhandara and the current deforestation trends, which threaten the existence of medicinally important plants, makes it inevitable that this information be made available and encourage preservation of their culture, traditional knowledge, conservation and sustainable utilization of the plant wealth occurring in the study area. The present paper specially deals with some new and lesser-known ethnomedicinal recipes used for curing diarrhoea and dysentery by the Gond tribe of Bhandara district of Maharashtra.
Fig. 1: Location map of study Area. (Source: www.mapsofindia.com)
Information on the use of medicinal plants was collected during January 2007 to January 2008 through field surveys in different remote villages of the Bhandara district. The questionnaires were devised to identify the indigenous knowledge of plant-based remedies from local people. Information was gathered through semi-structured interviews that were held with selected knowledgeable elders. At the end of each interview, the plant specimens were collected, dried by using routine botanical collection and herbarium techniques, identified and preserved (Jain & Rao 1997). Samples of recorded herbs, shrubs and trees were identified with the help of local floras and previous works (Theodore Cooke, 1967; Jain, 1991 and Naik, 1998). Plant based remedies have presented with botanical name of species followed by family, local name, parts used, mode of preparation and ethno medical uses. A total of 15 traditional medicine practitioners between the ages of (32-70 yrs), were chosen with the assistance of local administrators and community leaders served as key informants.
The investigations revealed the medicinal plants used in diarrohea consist of 38 species of 35 genera belonging to 27 families. Rutaceae is the dominant family (4 spp.), followed by Mimosaceae (3) Moraceae (2) Euphorbiaceae (2) Rhamnaceae (2) Combretaceae (2) Asteraceae (2) Liliaceae (2) and others having one each. The species were used either alone or in combination with other native species.
Ethanol and aqueous extracts of different parts of the commonly available plants of the Bhandara region were evaluated for antidysentery and antidiarrhoeal activity against the enteric pathogens. In the preparation of drug, leaves are mostly used which is accounting for 26% followed by fruits (21%), roots (18%), stem (13%) seeds (11%) and whole plant (8%). Other parts such as latex, tuber, gum bud and flower, used occasionally are account for 03%. A majority of remedies are prepared in the form of juice followed by powder and paste form, from freshly collected plant parts.
A single plant part or a combination of several plant parts usually makes the preparations. Sometimes combination of two or more different plant species are also used. In some treatments, animal product is used along with the plant material. Medical administration includes mostly oral administration. Based on ethno-medico-botanical information, the plant species used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery, have been arranged alphabetically along with botanical name, family, local name, parts used and mode of preparation and uses in Table 1.
Table 1: Ethnomedicinal plants used by Gond tribe of Bhandara in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery
Discussion and Conclusion
The present study reveals that the local medicine men of the study area have good knowledge of the medicinal property of a variety of plant species that grow around their locality. The traditional knowledge available with the ethnic people plays an important role in quick and proper identification of natural resources. The traditional knowledge systems of the folk, oral tradition, and also published and unpublished literature are the important sources of locating potential bio resources. Unfortunately, due to the lack of written documents, most of the traditional knowledge about medicinal plants and their uses survived only by words of mouth from generation to generation and are being gradually lost.
The most extensively used plant part in the preparation of medicine for various ailments is the leaf, followed by fruits. Though the collection of leaves is higher it does not pose a great danger to the existence of an individual plant as compared to collection of other plant parts especially underground plant parts (viz. roots, bulb, tuber), stem and whole plant. The destructive harvest is of grave consequences from both ecological as well as survival point of view of the species (Dawit & Ahadu, 1993).
The present study revealed that traditional medicinal plants still play a vital role in primary healthcare need of Gonds in Bhandara district and the knowledge received from them will be very useful for researchers in ethnobotany and pharmacology. The observations from the present study need to be validated with pharmaco-chemical studies in order to confirm their effectiveness.
The authors express thanks to the herbal doctors in the study area for revealing their traditional medico-botanical knowledge and for their permission to communicate their knowledge to a wider audience for the benefit of every one. Thanks are also expressed to Director NEERI, Nagpur for providing financial assistance and co-operation extended during study.
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