Ethnobotanical Leaflets 14 : 95-107, 2010.




Tribal Medicinal Studies on Sriharikota Island, Andhra Pradesh#


R Bharath Kumar* and B. Surya Narayana**


*Dept.Biotechnology, Vignans Engineering College, Vadlamudi,


**-307, Karnakamma Street, Venkatagiri Town 524132



Issued January 01, 2010




Sriharikota Island in Andhra Pradesh is an elliptical land mass sandwiched between Bay of Bengal in the East and Pulicat Lake in the West. Sullurpet is the nearest railway station which is 18 km from Sriharikota Island and it is on Chennai-Kolkata trunk line and 90 Km away from North of Chennai.

An aboriginal tribe called Yanadi dwells in Sriharikota. It is similar to Chenchu community elsewhere in Andhra Pradesh. Inspite of the community being drifted from their natural way of life due to agro-rural development activities, a few aged tribal men are still able to furnish traditional ethno-medicinal data. So far no ethno-botanical studies are conducted are in this area except for a list of 50 plants reported by the senior author and co-researchers (1989). Therefore a detailed study on tribal medicine in this area is undertaken. During this work 190 species are collected having a variety of ethno-pharmacological values. However this article deals with 23 species only, having remedial effect for arthritis and rheumatism. Out of them 10 species having anodyne properties from first hand ethnic information.





An aboriginal tribe called Yanadi dwells in Sriharikota. It is similar to Chenchu community elsewhere in Andhra Pradesh. Inspite of the community being drifted from the natural way of life due to agro-rural development activities a few aged tribal men are still able to furnish traditional ethno-medicinal data. In Sriharikota Island about 450 tribal families are living in 3 colonies viz. Penubakam, Kothachenu and Chengalpalem.



Sriharikota Island geomatically is located at 80 0 .21 E and 130 .22 to 140 N. It is a spindle shaped land mass sandwiched between Bay of Bengal on the Eat and Pulicat lake on the West. It is 18 km east of Sullurupet, the nearest railway Station connecting Chennai Kolkata trunk line. Chennai is 98 km away from Sriharikota.



Materials and Methods


Intensive medico-ethnobotanical survey is under taken in Sriharikota Island since one year. Regular periodical field work is conducted covering all the seasons so as not tomiss seasonal elements having pharmaceutical value and collected a large number of specimens in their, respective phonological stages. Ample field notes recorded pertaining to frequency, abundance, edaphic and morphological charters which cannot be deduced from exciccata. Local tribal men are contacted to record data related to medicinal uses, drug preparation and mode of administration etc. After identification, samples are properly processed, mounted on herbarium boards and deposited in Visvodaya Govt. College Herbarium. (VGCH) and a duplicate set at SHAR Herbarium, Sriharikota.


Results and Discussion


During these studies a good number of ethno-medicinal plants are collected. However in this article 23 species having remedial effect on arthritis and rheumatism are enumerated. Latest name followed by relevant synonyms if any, local name and collection number are given. Habit, flowering and fruiting season and ethno-medicinal data are furnished for each species. Ailanthus excelsa, Caesalpinia bonduc, Dodonaea viscosa are under threatened condition owing to degradation of scrub jungles, removal of countryside natural hedges and implementation of agro-rural development schemes. Plants marked (asterisk (*) are reported here first time for their anodyne properties. Their other medicinal uses adopted in the island and elsewhere also are given. (Table 1).



*Ailanthus excelsa Roxb. (Simroubaceae)

Ln: Peddamanu; 9054 RBK

Large trees, near tribal habitations. Vegetative. Fl. & Fr. November- February.

Stem bark warmed and applied to give relief from rheumatic complaints.


Atalantia monophylla (Linn.) (Rutaceae)

Ln: Adavinimma or Munkudu: 9421 RBK

Small trees, common in closed scrubs and forests. Fl.& Fr.: August- September.

Seed oil applied on painful joint pains.


Breynia vitis-idaea (Burm.f.) Fischer. (Euphorbiaceae)

= Breynia rhamnoides (Retz.) Muell.

Ln: Adavimunaga; 9174 RBK

Small trees or shrubs, common in forests. Fl. & Fr.: February- July.

Leaves warmed along with leaves of Dodonaea viscosa, Dalbergia paniculata and
applied for2-3 days regularly to cure swellings of legs and testis.

*Caesalpinia bonduc (Linn.) Roxb. (Caesalpiniaceae)

= Caesalpinia crista Linn.

Ln: Gacchakaya; 9209 RBK

Short trees, common on hedges impenetrable thickets in forests. Fl.: September, Fr.: October.

Seed paste applied externally on inflammatory swellings and in arthritis.



Citrullus colocynthis (Linn.) Scrad. (Curcurbitaceae)

Ln.: Yetipuccha or Yerripuccha; 8974 RBK.

Trailing scabrid herb, common on dry open scrubs especially near coasts. Fl. & Fr.:
August September.

Leaf juice applied on rheumatic swellings.

Note: Root was reported as a remedy for rheumatism in earlier records.


*Clerodendrum plomides (Linn.) L.f. (Verbenaceae)

Ln.: Peddanelli or Takkeda; 9203 RBK

Shrubs, occasional in forests. Fl. & Fr.: December-February.

Warmed leaves applied for relief from rheumatic and filarial swellings.


*Coccinia grandis (Linn.) Voigt. (Cucurbitaceae)

= Coccinia indica Wt.& Arn.

Ln.: Donda; 9106 RBK

Climber, common in forests and also cultivated. Fl.& Fr.: September- January.

Root tubers well ground and juice (Milk) warmed with Foeniculum vulgare and it is
applied for curing rheumatic pains.


Crotalaria laburnifolia Linn. (Fabaceae)

Ln.: Gilakati or Peddagirakati; 9249 RBK

Tall erect herbs, occasional in open scrubs. Fl. & Fr.: July- September.

Leaves ground with coconut oil and applied on affected parts for relief of joint


Dalbergia paniculata (Linn.f.) Roxb. (Fabaceae)

Ln.: Pacchari; 9431 RBK

Trees, common in forests. Fl.: April-May; Fr.: June-July.

Leaves used in combination with Dodonaea viscosa and Breynia vitis-idaea (See above).


Deonix elata (Linn.) Gamble. (Caesalpiniaceae)

Ln.: Vathaneredu or Vathanarayana; 8997 RBK

Trees, planted near colonies. Fl.& Fr.: December June.

Leaves warmed with pepper, grind to prepare pills taken inside to give relief from

rheumatic swellings.


*Derris scandens (Roxb.) Benth. (Fabaceae)

Ln.: Konnatiteega or Minaputeega or Pacchari; 8912 RBK.

Lianes, common in forests. Fl.& Fr.: September- February.

Tender stems and twigs crushed, warmed and applied on painful parts for relief of
rheumatic pains.


Dichrostachys cinerea (Linn.) Wt. & Arn. (Mimosaceae)

Ln.: Veluturuchettu; 9172 RBK

Shrubs, common in open dry scrub jungles, Fl.& Fr.: May December.

Root and leaves made into paste, warmed and applied on painful parts and taken head
bath to give relief from rheumatic pains.


Dodonaea viscosa (Linn.) Jaq. (Sapindaceae)

Ln. : Bandaru; 9328 RBK.

Under shrubs, common. Leaves suppurative. Fl. & Fr.: October-January.

Midrib of leaves separated, lamina warmed and spread on the affected part and
bandaged, to give relief from rheumatic pains and swellings.


Ficus benghalensis Linn. (Moraceae)

Ln.: marri; 9344 RBK.

Trees, common in forests. Fl.& Fr.: July- October.

Latex applied to give relief from joint pains and muscular pains.


Holoptelea integrifolia (Roxb.) Planch. (Ulmaceae)

Ln.: Peddamanu or Tabasu; 9196 RBK.

Trees, occasional in forests. Fl. & Fr.: October December.

Root bark warmed and applied to cure rheumatism.


Pisonea aculeata Linn. (Nyctaginaceae)

Ln.: Peetrinchi; 9401 RBK

Herbs, occasional in scrubs forming impenetrable bushes at Sriharikota Island. Fl. &

Fr.: January March.

Root bark and leaves warmed and applied to cure swellings and rheumaticarthritis.


*Pongamia pinnata (Linn.) Pierre. (Fabaceae)

Ln.: Kanuga; 8924 RBK

Small trees, common. Fl.& Fr.: August-December.

Poultice of leaves applied to give relief from rheumatic arthritis.


*Ricinus communis Linn. (Euphorbiaceae)

Ln.: Amudam; 9152 RBK

Planted at Penubakam and Chengalpalem. Fl.& Fr.: December January.

Paste of seeds applied in curing joint-swellings and in rheumatic arthritis.


*Solanum trilobatum Linn. (Solanceae)

Ln.: Mullamustiteega; 9159 RBK

An occasional gregarious climber along hedges. Fl. & Fr.: September December.

Root and fruit paste in castor oil used as an ointment for rheumatic swellings.


*Toddalia asiatica (Linn.) Lam. (Rutaceae)

Ln.: Mirapagandra; 9021 RBK

Armed shrubs, occasional along hedges. Fl. & Fr.: September December.

Root and fruit paste in castor oil as an ointment for rheumatic swellings.


*Trichosanthes cucumerina Linn. (Cucurbitaceae)

Ln.: Pamudonda; 9219 RBK

Climber, rare on hedges. Fl.& Fr.: November February.

Root tuber grind well and juice is mixed with Foeniculum vulgare powder
warmed and made in to paste. It is applied 2-3 days for cure on joint swellings.

chosanthes tricuspidata Lour. (Cucurbitaceae)

= Trichosanthes palmata Roxb.

Ln.: Papara; 9204 RBK

Climber, occasional on hedges. Fl. & Fr.: October December.

Leaf juice applied to give relief from joint pains.

Vitex negundo Linn. (Verbenaceae)

Ln.; Vavili; 9125 RBK

Shrubs; common, abundant in forests. Fl.& Fr.: Through out the year.

Root and leaves warmed and applied to cure joint swellings and in rheumatic pains.






Table 1. Other Medicinal Uses For Plants of Anodyne Properties Reported First Time from Sriharikota Island.


Other uses


S.No. Plant Name, Island Use(s) Elsewhere

Loc. Name &Family

1 2 3 4


1. Ailanthus excelsa Wood used in furniture making Bark febrifuge, tonic,
Ln. Peddamanu expectorant, antiseptic, asthma,
SIMAROUBACEAE diarrhoea, chronic bronchitis

2. Caesalpinia bonduc Leaves warmed and applied Leaves in liver disorders.

= Caesalpinia crista on stomach to relieve pains. bark febrifuge, anthelmentic

Ln: Gacchakaya



3. Clerodendrum plomides Paste of root bark applied 2-3 Although this species is known

Ln.: Peddanelli or Takkeda times on deep cut wounds. The as a remedy for measles,

VERBENACEAE two parts of the wound gets diarrhea, etc. ailments. Its use

united and healed. for rheumatism is reported
first time.

4. Coccinia grandis Root tuber grind (milk) and It is noticed earlier as remedy

= Coccinia indica juice warmed with Foeniculum for diabetes, gonorrhoea and

Ln.: Donda vulgare applied in nerves - external erruptions

CUCURBITACEAE disorders and pains.


5. Crotalaria laburnifolia Leaf paste with lime stone water It is so for known to give throat

Ln.: Gilakati/Peddagirakati and applied on burnings. Inflammation.



6. Derris scandens Root is pasted with garlic and Plants as fish poison. Fibre

Ln.:Konnatiteega/Pacchari applied for tooth ache on from bark for weaving mats.

FABACEAE damaged tooth as medicine


7. Pongamia pinnata Poultice of leaves applied in skin Seed oil is known earlier as a

Ln.: Kanuga diseases. remedy for rheumatism

FABACEAE Root paste warmed and applied on Root antiseptic as wash for

boils on head wounds.


8. Ricinus communis Leaves warmed and smeared Seed paste is known earlier

Ln.: Amudam with castor oil applied on as a remedy for head ache,

EUPHORBIACEAE stomach to give relieve pains boils, scorpion stings.

and uneasiness.


9. Solanum trilobatum Root decoction used in fever Earlier berries are reported

Ln.: Mullamustiteega epilepsy. Fruits prepared as curry for use in cough

SOLANCEAE and taken inside for one week,acts

as a tonic for general ailments


10. Toddalia asiatica Root bark used in curing fever Ripe berries are used for
Ln.: Mirapagandra pickles. Fresh leaves are

RUTACEAE eaten for pains in bowels.

Infusion of root bark is
stimulating tonic, carminative
and used in diarrhea.


11. Trichosanthes cucumerina Root tuber grind well and juice is So for it was reported for a

Ln.: Pamudonda mixed with Foeniculam vulgare variety of medicinal uses

CUCURBITACEAE powder warmed it is applied to other than rheumatism

back pain and nerves pains


12. Trichosanthes tricuspidata Leaves warmed and applied on -----

= Trichosanthes palmata boils.

Ln.: Papara








A critical study of 23 plants having anodyne properties collected from Sriharikota Island revealed that 10 plants are first hand report as pain killer plants used by local ethnic tribe. In addition to the already known conventional uses for these 10 plants additional pharmaceutical uses as reported by Yanadies also are given. (Annexure) Three species viz. under threatened state. They need be conserved in this area and propagated for their proper utilization and exploitation.



The authors are thankful to the Chairman, DOS-ISRO, Bangalore for Financial assistance to conduct the project. He is also grateful to the Principal, Visvodaya Government College, Venkatagiri. Director, SHAR Centre, Sriharikota for providing facilities and encouragement, at Laboratory and in the field respectively. Authors are thankful to Dr. V. Veerraju, Head, C&LD. Division, SHAR Centre for his keen interest and consistant support to conduct the field work smoothly. Authors also extend their thanks to the Yanadies and other tribals for their co-operation in furnishing information during field work.



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A Few Tribal Medicinal Plants from Sriharikota Island




Breynia vitis-idaea Leaf paste for rheumatism

Atalantia monophylla Seed oil for rheumatism

Dalbergia paniculata - Leaf paste for rheumatism



Ipomoea pestigritis Leaf paste applied on painful swellings

Crinum defixum scale leaves of tuber layers applied on swellings of testis














# Presented at National Conference and Annual meeting of I.A.A.T., Organized by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Marthwada University , 16-19th October , 1997.