Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 1353-61, 2009.
Ethnomedical Knowledge of Plants used by the Tribal people of Purandhar in Maharashtra, India
Bhosle S. V., Ghule V. P., Aundhe D. J.1 and Jagtap S. D.*
Medicinal Plants Conservation Center (MPCC), Pune, Maharashtra, India
1Department. of Botany, Waghire College, Saswad (Purandhar), Maharashtra, India
*Correspondent author, E- mail: [email protected]
Issued November 01, 2009
This study presents the results of a field survey of the plants used medically by the tribal people of Purandhar in Maharashtra, India. Tribes like Dhangars and Gowlis inhabit the dry deciduous forests of the region. This is an effort to record the valuable ethnomedical knowledge of these Purandhar tribes. A total of 77 species belonging to 30 families and 56 genera were included. These plants are used to treat various aliments, discomforts and diseases like whooping cough, asthma, diabetes, diphtheria, conjunctivitis, snake bite, scorpion bite, etc.
Keywords: Ethnobotany, Medicinal plants and Purandhar.
Nearly 70 percent of the world population is dependent on the traditional medicines for primary healthcare. India is known for its rich diversity of medicinal plants and hence called botanical garden of the world (Vedavathy et al, 1997). There is increase in the wage of herbal medicines in recent past and almost 95 percent consumption of these plants is made through collections from the forests (Gupta, 2003). The traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in the tribal people is very ideal source for exploring bioactive compounds of therapeutic importance in phytochemical research. This ethnomedicobotanical study of the tribal people can open new frontiers for searching more active and efficient herbal drugs. In an exploratory study of medicinal plants used by tribal communities of Purandhar viz: Dhangars and Gowlis, 77 plants have been recorded. In the present paper we give the details of these medicinal plants that are being used for healing and or curing various discomforts, ailments and diseases for more than 300 yrs in Purandhar. Although many studies concerning the use of medicinal plants in several parts of Maharashtra have been carried out, the ethnobotany of the Purandhar region is poorly known and is being reported here for the first time.
Purandhar in Maharashtra, India, lies between 17°02’.00 E and 18°17’.30 N. The different vegetation types present in this region are scrub, deciduous and dry deciduous forest (Fig. 1 & 2). The present study was carried out in selected areas of Purandhar where tribes are known to have inhabited the land since the 16th Century.
Figure 1. Purandhar landscape.
Figure 2. Vegetation on Purandhar fort.
Periodic field trips were conducted in different seasons of the tribal areas for three consecutive years. The frequent visits made it possible to develop a good rapport with the elderly people and traditional healers (or Vaidoos), thereby making it possible to acquire the details of medicinal plants and their uses. The information was collected from 80 people (54 women, 26 men) whose ages ranged from 45 to 86 years. Most of the interviewees (65) were more than 50 years old. The plant collections were made in three seasons (summer, monsoon and winter), as some of the plants are seasonal. The plants were identified with the help of different floristic works (Cook, 1967; Santapau, 1958; Sharma et al., 1996; Singh et al., 2000; Singh et al., 2001, as well as through comparison with specimens previously authenticated and preserved in the Herbarium of the Botanical Survey of India, Western Circle, Pune. Specimens of our plants are preserved in the herbarium of the Medicinal Plants Conservation Center (MPCC), Pune. The acquired information was cross checked with available literature about these medicinal plants and their ethnobotany (Jain, 1991; Chopra et al., 1956; Chopra and Verma, 1968; Agharkar, 1953; Vartak, 1997).
Results AND Discussion
The results of this study are given in Table 1, wherein species are arranged alphabetically by genus.
For each species are the botanical name with authority and voucher specimen number, family, local name, parts used, ailments treated, preparations and total number of reports (n) and relevant percentage (%) of citations.
A total of 77 plants from 30 different families have been documented for their healing properties. These plants are used to treat 33 types of ailments and / or discomforts. Of these, 11 plants were reportedly used to treat different type of stomach and urinary problems; 6 were used in the the treatment of muscle and joint pains; 5 for treatment of stroke and excessive heat; 4 for relief of asthma while 4 others for the healing of wounds; and 3 for treatment of skin diseases and infections. With respect to other ailments or diseases, generally one or two plant species were said to be used. The use and acceptability of these plants, which are claimed to be effective remedies, is quite popular and high among the Dhangar and Gowli tribes that inhabit Purandhar. About 45 of their species are very well known for their pharmacological, biochemical and clinical applications (Kirtikar and Basu, 1951; Bhattacharjee, 1998; Kurian, 1999; Dhiman, 2003), but the remaining plant species will need further confirmation and study to prove them as efficient healers.
Table 1 Medicinal plants used in the Purandhar region of Maharashtra, India
Way of administration: (E) external use; (I) internal use.
This study indicates the importance of large number of plants in tribal medicine, which could be of paramount interest for research and drug development and identification of new bioactive compounds that deserve further study.
We are thankful to the Director, Medicinal Plants Conservation Center, Pune; Director, Botanical Survey of India, Western Circle, Pune; Dr.Milind Sardesai (Taxonomist) Abasaheb Garware College, Pune.
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