Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 1003-1006. 2008.



Some Lesser Known Medicinal Plants of the Kondha and Gond Tribes of Bolangir, Orissa, India


* S.P. Mohapatra and ** H.P. Sahoo


* Lecturer in Botany, S.C.S College, Puri.

E Mail Id_

** Reader In Botany, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack


Issued 08 November 2008




            The present paper enumerates about 25 plant species used by the Gond and Kondha tribe of Bolangir dist, Orissa, against human ailments and livestock diseases. These plants are used as folk medicines in the treatment of various diseases. These plants were collected from nearby forest. The medicines prepared from these plants are used against various common and serious diseases in human and also against animal diseases.

Key Words: Folk Medicine, Local name, Piscidal, Tribe, Bolangir.



            India is very rich in floristic diversity as well as ancient folk literature which may be trapped for information since all system of medicine have their roots in one way or the other in folk medicine and house hold remedies. As the rural Indian tribal villagers are deprived of modern health care system, they are highly dependent on traditional therapeutic methods of medicinal plants for meeting their health care needs. The present is one of its kinds in the Bolangir dist. of Orissa which depicts the use of less known folk medicinal plants against various diseases of human being and live stock ailments.



            The district of Bolangir is flanked in the North West by Gandhamardhan hills, a name of Ramayana fame, the north east by the rock infested Mahanadi. It lies between 20011’ 40” – 210 05’ 08” northern latitude and 820 41’ 15” – 830 40’ 22” east longitude. The district is situated in the valley of rivers like Ang and Tel. It is in the western highlands of Orissa state with an average rain fall of about 1230 cm. and red sandy to red loamy soil nature. . In the Bolangir district less than 25% of the area is under forests which are basically scrub and dry deciduous which is reported botanically under explored (Panigrahi, 2002).

Ethno- botanical surveys were conducted in the eleven tribal villages (randomly selected) of three panchayat namely Chikalbahal, Kudasingha and Bhutiyarbahal of Bolangir Dist. of Orissa. Out of 6 million tribal about 62 notified tribes are seen in Orissa ( Mohapatra, 1993 ).Bolangir is dominated by tribal like Sangara, Kondha, Mahar, Gond etc. First hand information regarding the therapeutic properties of wild plants was recorded from these areas. Frequent visits were made to collect plants from the forest. Voucher specimen were collected and preserved as herbarium specimen and deposited in the department of Botany, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack.



1. Realizing the fact that tribal rich forest pockets of Bolangir dist. were not adequately worked out from the ethno botanical point of view, field trips were conducted at regular interval in different season. Tribal uses of plants were studied in situ by establishing close intimacy with the tribal healers. Care was taken to priorities vulnerable areas for immediate attention. Folk lore claims were documented along with voucher specimens.

2. Data recording- The detailed information about plants, plant parts, dosages, duration, method of preparation, mode of administration, precautions to be taken etc. was recorded.

3. Plant collection and Herbarium studies- The supportive plant specimen of folk lore claims were collected, processed, critically studied, identified and preserved in the Dept. Of Botany, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack. Identification of plants was done using Haines (1921-25) and Saxena and Brahmam(1994-96).

4. Criss  cross checking- An effort was made to cross check the folk lore claims. This study involved checking and re checking of a particular folk lore claim by the different dwellers of the same tribe in different forest pockets. This has cleared many doubts regarding use and identity of plant specimens.

5. Critical identification- Correct identification of plant was given highest priority. Identification by the local name is the non-specific and redundant. It so happens that a plant may be known by several names and one name may be applied to more than one species. If the plant can’t be identified all the effort of ethno botanical knowledge becomes a futile exercise. Hence, every effort was taken to identify the plant in the field itself by extending the stay in the field.



            Out of the 62 tribes notified as scheduled for the state of Orissa (Mohapatra, 1993), as many 17 are found in the district. A careful scrutiny reveal that the bulk of the population belong to only two tribes i.e. Kondha and Gond. Some of the tribal communities of this district have been rated as the primitive by all standards ad they still eke out their living as hunters and food gathers. Their knowledge of plants for curative as well as offensive purpose is un- parallel in the indigenous medical history.

            Out of the 50 different species of plant specimen collected only 25 species were found to possess the ethno botanical information in one form or the other. These 25 plant species are shown in 3 tables (17 species in Table-1, 4 species in Table-2, 4 species in Table-3), under 3 headings, i.e. Less known folk medicinal plants, Veterinary medicinal plants, Piscidal plants. These plants are arranged alphabetically in their botanical names.


TABLE-1. List of Some Less Known Folk Medicinal Plants.


Sl.No..      Local name        Botanical name                                   Family             Tribe              Disease 


1               Indramarisha    Acalypha indica (L.)                          Euphorbiaceae       Gond            Bronchial asthma

2               Pokasungha      Ageratum conyzoides (L.)                  Asteraceae             Kondha        Gastric pain

3               Semel               Bombax ceiba (L.)                              Bombaceae            Kondha        Dysentry

4               Kumbi              Caryea arborea (Roxb.)                     Lecythidaceae       Gond            Leucoderma

5               Kharkhari         Clerodendron serratum (L.)               Verbenaceae          Gond            Indigestion

6               Nirmuli             Cuscuta reflexa (Roxb.)                     Convolvulaceae     Gond             Snake bite

7               Badachandal     Desmodium gangeticum (L.F.).          Fabaceae                Gond             Dysentry

8               Kendu               Diospyros melanoxylon (Roxb.)         Ebenaceae              Kondha         Leucorrhoea

9               Kanta padma     Eurayle ferox (Salisb.)                       Nymphaeaceae       Gond             Arthritis

10             Ghar podia        Hedyotis corymbosa (L.) Lam.           Rubiaceae              Gond             Dyspesia

11             Champa             Michaelia champaca (L.)                   Magnoliaceae        Gond              Oral contraceptive

12             Acchu               Morinda citrifolia (Roxb.)                  Rubiaceae              Gond              Rehumatic pain

13             Anela                Phyllanthes emblica (L.)                     Euphorbiaceae       Gond              Abdominal disorder

14             Chitaparu          Plumbago zeylanica (L.)                     Plumbaginaceae    Gond              Piles

15             Muturi               Smilax zeylanica (L.)                          Liliaceae                Gond              Leucorrhoea

16             Chanapata         Triumfeta rhomboidea Jacq.               Tiliaceae                Gond              Piles

17             Dhatki               Woodfordia fruticosa (L.) Kurz          Lythraceae             Kondha          Leucoderma






TABLE-2. List of Veterinary Medicinal Plants.



Sl.No.   Local name           Botanical name                                  Family             Tribe            Disease                Animal

1           Chatiana              Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br.                 Apocynaceae     Gond             Cold                      Goat

2           Danglia siju         Euphobia tirucalli (L.)                          Ephorbiaceae     Kondha         Neck swelling       Buffalo

3           Kurum                 Haldinia cordifolia (Roxb.)                  Rubiaceae          Gond             Dysentry                Calves

4           Kusum                 Schleichera oleosa (Lour.)                   Sapindaceae       Gond             Wounds                  Sheep



TABLE-3. List of Piscidal Plants.



Sl.No.             Local name           Botanical name                                  Family                  Tribe             Parts used

1                     Chakunda              Cassia alata                                       Caesalpiniaceae        Gond               Fruit

2                     Badi anala             Phyllanthes urinaria                           Euphorbiaceae          Kondha           Whole plant

3                     Gab                       Ricinus communis                               Euphorbiaceae         Gond                Seed

4                     Dhatki                   Woodfordia fruticosa (L.)                  Lythraceae               Gond                Flower



The folk medicinal claims listed in Table-1 can be pursued clinically. By dint of veterinary practices most of the tribals are getting their bread and butter. As more than 50% of people are tribal in the district, their indigenous knowledge can be utilized for well being of others.



We are thankful to the tribals of the villagers for their timely support and valuable information about some less known folk medicinal plants used by them. Sincere thanks to the staff of Rajendra College, Bolangir and to Prof. G.P. Nayak of dept. of Botany, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack for allowing us to keep the specimens for future reference.




1. Das, P.K and Mishra, M.K (1988) - Some medicinal plants among Kondhas around Chandrapur, J. Econ. Tax.Bot. 12:103-109.


2.. Hains H.H , 1921-25 – Botany of Bihar and Orissa (Ed.1961), Botanical survey of India, Calcutta 1-537.


3. Mohapatra, S. (1993) - The tangled web tribal life and culture, Orissa Sahitya Academy Publ. BBSR, 1-148 pp.


4. Panigrahi G, 2002 – Taxonomy, Nomenclature and Conservation of Biodiversities with special reference to under explored region of Orissa. In plant resource utilization ( Ed. Sahoo  et al ) Allied Publication, New Delhi 3-5.


5. Saxena, H.O. and Brahamam, M. (1994-96) - The flora of Orissa, vol. I-IV, RRL. & OFDC Ltd., BBSR.