Ethno-medicinal Plants used to Cure Different Diseases by Rural Folks and Tribes of North Eastern Tarai Districts of Uttar Pradesh, India
R. K. Singh
R. K. Srivastava
The present study was undertaken to collect information from local folks, tribes and traditional healers on medicinal plants and their uses and the types of diseases treated in tarai regions mainly districts viz., Bahraich and Shrawasti of Uttar Pradesh during August 2007 to March 2010. The indigenous knowledge was gathered through interactions and questioners with tribal rural and traditional healers. The study provides information on 68 plant species belonging to 41 families, Apocynaceae and moraceae contributed maximum species. The various ethno medicinal plants parts used. against the diseases like bronchitis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, gastro intestinal disorder, gynaecological disorder, jaundice, neurological diseases, ophthalmic infection, piles, skeletal diseases, skin diseases and snakebite were bark, flowers, rhizomes, roots, leaves, seeds, gum and sometimes whole plants. Inspite of the modernization process, the rural folk and the tribal of the districts still hold on their traditional faith and depend on indigenous plants for their various needs, especially medicines. Since, there is insensitivity among the youngers for this wealth of knowledge, this will be dwindling soon.
to cite this article:
D. Mishra, R. K. Singh and R. K. Srivastava, 2012. Ethno-medicinal Plants used to Cure Different Diseases by Rural Folks and Tribes of North Eastern Tarai Districts of Uttar Pradesh, India. Research Journal of Medicinal Plants, 6: 286-299.
Received: August 03, 2011;
Accepted: November 30, 2011;
Published: January 12, 2012
Allopathic drugs have brought a revolution throughout the world but the plant
based medicines have its own unique status. Nearly 80% of the world population
depends upon traditional system of health care (WHO, 1993;
Ishtiaq et al., 2006b; Hamayun
et al., 2006; Kumar and Chandrashekar, 2011).
It is well known that this system offers minimal side effects and relatively
low cost as compared to other systems of medicine. This is the reason that patients
in developing countries such as Bangladesh (90%), Myanmar (85%), India (80%),
Nepal (75%), Srilanka (65%) and Indonesia (60%) have strong conviction in this
system (Malik et al., 2011). It is estimated
that more than half of the drug under clinical use at present owe their origin
to plants. India is called as botanical garden of the world (Joseph
and Jini, 2011) and represented by over 17000 species of flowering plants
distributed in 9 phyto-geographical regions of which more than 43% are reported
to be of medicinal importance (Pushpangadan, 1995; Pattanaik
et al., 2006). India is one of the leading countries in Asia in terms
of the wealth of traditional knowledge systems related to herbal medicine and
employs a large number of plant species includes Ayurveda (2000 species), Siddha
(1121 species), Unani (751 species) and Tibetan (337 species) (Kumar
et al., 2011). Inspite of the modernization process, the rural folk
and the tribal of the state still hold on their traditional faith and depend
on indigenous plants for their various needs, especially medicines. Plants accumulate
a diverse array of natural products which are thought to be involved in their
interactions with the environment. These chemicals function in interactions
with microbes, animals and even other plants, as well as protecting the plant
from ultraviolet radiation and oxidants. Some compounds may attract beneficial
insects or microbes, whereas others kill or repel predators. The medicinal value
of plants has assumed a more important dimension in the past few decades owing
largely to the discovery that extracts from plants contain not only minerals
and primary metabolites but also a diverse array of secondary metabolites with
antioxidant potential (Akinmoladun et al., 2007;
Ashawat et al., 2007; Chanda
et al., 2011). These secondary metabolites, however, are likely to
be essential for the successful competition or reproduction of a given plant
species in its natural environment. Secondary compounds are often involved in
key interactions between plants and their abiotic and biotic environments that
influence those (Facchini et al., 2000). Throughout
history secondary metabolites of plants have been utilized by humanity. There
are approximately 4 major classes of secondary compounds that are significant
to humans. The classes are the alkaloids, phenylpropanoids, flavonoids and the
terpenoids (Edwards and Gatehouse, 1999). These secondary
metabolites are used in preparation of medicines. Plant which are used for extraction
of these secondary metabolites, are known as medicinal plants.
Human communities have developed knowledge and practices by trial and errors
experimentations (Siddique et al., 2004) and by
intuitive methods etc., leading to unique creation known as Traditional Knowledge
(TK). The indigenous traditional knowledge of medicinal plants of various ethnic
communities, where it has been transmitted orally for centuries is fast disappearing
from the face of the earth due to the advent of modern technology and transformation
of traditional culture. Indian traditional medicine is based on different systems
such as Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani used by various communities (Gadgil,
1996). In recent times, many important medicinal plants are being depleted
very swiftly due to unscientific exploitation, natural calamities road construction,
uprooting, cutting and overgrazing ignorantly or determinately which may lead
towards complete extinction of some of these species (Ishtiaq
et al., 2006a; Kumar et al., 2011;
Prakash et al., 2011) and the growing biopiracy
and misappropriation of Traditional Knowledge, held by the various communities
especially of the developing world, have raised concerns for a new system of
legal protection of TK. Hence, there is an urgent need to document the ethno
biological information presently existing among the diverse communities before
the traditional knowledge is completely lost (Rao, 1996).
In present scenario there is a vast area of research in phyto-medicine which
increases the global tendency for reinforcement and documentation of traditional
system of medicine. The present study is therefore, undertaken to interact with
local folks, tribes and traditional healers to share their knowledge on medicinal
plants and their uses and the types of diseases treated, to world through documentation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
North eastern tarai regions mainly Bahraich and Shrawasti districts of Uttar
Pradesh is located between 28° 15 N latitude and 81° 11' E longitude
with a total area of 6702 sq. kms. towards the Northern region of the state
Uttar Pradesh. The study involves intensive explorations and critical study
of specimens for 3 years. Regular field trips were made in such a way so as
to cover all the areas of the district as regular intervals in different seasons
from August 2007 to March 2010. First-hand information was gathered through
interactions with tribal and rural people including members of forest protection
committees. Also interactions were made by local traditional healers to tap
the information of medicinal plants commonly used by these traditional healers
by questionnaire. Medicinal properties of plants were learned through informal
interviews. A number of group discussions were also conducted during the period
of investigation. To ascertain the uses of these medicinal plants the earlier
published scientific literature sources referred to are: Sharma
et al. (1985), Jain (1991), Kirtikar
and Basu (1991), Ambasta et al. (1992) and
Chopra et al. (1996). In the following enumeration,
plant names have been arranged alphabetically in disease wise. The correct botanical
name is followed by family, local name, parts use with their medicinal uses.
An effort was made to crosscheck the folklore claims. This study involves checking
and rechecking of a particular folklore claim by the different dwellers of the
same area in different pockets. This has cleared many doubts regarding the use
and identity of plant specimens. The details have been provided in Table
1 with correct botanical identification followed by family, vernacular names,
parts used and mode of administration in respect to different diseases.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The study provides information on 68 plant species belonging to 41 families
(Table 1). Apocynaceae and moraceae contributed maximum species
(Fig. 1). Of the plants species described, 4 species are monocotyledons,
64 are dicotyledons, 19 species are herbs, 18 are shrubs, 26 are trees and 5
are climbers (Fig. 4). The most important medicinal species
were: Acacia nilotica, Aegle marmelos, Lawsonia inermis,
Mangifera indica, Mimosa pudica, Saraca indica, Terminalia
chebula. The plant parts used for medical preparation were bark, flowers,
rhizomes, roots, leaves, seeds, gum and whole plants. In some cases the whole
plant including roots was utilized. The most frequently utilized plant parts
(Fig. 3) were leaves (52) followed by root (24), whole plant
(22), bark (20), fruit (17), seeds (11) and rhizome (5), flower (3), stem (2)
and latex (2). The paper presents a brief account of the uses of various ethno
medicinal plants parts against the diseases like bronchitis, cardiovascular
diseases, diabetes, gastro intestinal disorder, gynaecological disorder, jaundice
, neurological diseases, ophthalmic infection, piles, skeletal diseases, skin
diseases and snakebite by the people of Bahraich and Shrawasti district and
highlights the need for further investigation on biochemical and pharmaceutical
aspects. The largest number of 19 plant species were used to treat skin diseases
(blood purification, scabies, leprosy and itching), 18 plant species were used
for gastrointestinal ailments (constipation, diarrhoea, dysentery, gastric and
stomach-ache), each 15 plant species were used for jaundice and piles, 14 plant
species were used for diabetes, 13 plant species were used for skeletal diseases
(pain on limbs, gout, rheumatism and arthritis), 10 plants species each were
used for respiratory tract infection(bronchitis and asthma) and gynaecological
disorders (gonorrhoea, leucorrhoea and menstrual problems), 7 plant species
each were treated for, neurological diseases, ophthalmological ailments and
snakebite and 3 plant species were used for cardiovascular diseases (Fig.
2). Such is the enormous potential hidden in these plants gifted by Nature
(Ahmad et al., 2003; Sahu
et al., 2010). Most of the interviews were familiar with the species
dealing with common ailments like cough, cold, fever and skin diseases. Although
our ancient sages through hit and trial method developed herbal medicines, the
reported uses of plant species do not certify efficacy (Tarafdar,
1986). The present preliminary report on ethno-medicinal uses of some plants
species need to pharmacologically screened, chemically analysed and tested for
bioactive activities (Chandler et al., 1979;
|| Families of ethno-medicinally important plants
Pharmacological screening of plant extracts provides insight to both their
therapeutic and toxic properties and helps in eliminating the medicinal plants
or practices that may be harmful. Modern allopathic medicine, even as of to
date, is dependent upon medicinal plants for discovery of newer and better drugs
(Cotton, 1996; Rahmatullah et al.,
2010). Some information recorded in the study particularly for Aristolochia
indica L., Ficus racemosa L., Hygrophila auriculata K. Schum
and Syzygium cerasoides (Roxb.) Raizada were found to be either not
known or little known, whereas Asparagus racemosus Willd, Holarrhena
pubescens (Buch.-Ham,) Wall ex.G-Don. and Rauvolfia serpentina (L.)
Kurz were found to be used very common by other tribes indicating the authenticity
of their usefulness (Saxena et al., 1988; Sarkar
et al., 1999).
|| Ethno-medicinally use of plants
|| Plants parts used for ethno-medicinal purpose
|| Habit of ethno-medicinally important plants
|| Important ethno-medicinal plants of district bahraich and
The study area is rich in medicinal plant resources. An attempt was made to
collect information on the traditional medicinal knowledge present with the
local folks and tribes. However, more in depth information may be explored from
the tribes residing in the remote forest areas of the districts.
The study indicated that, the study area is rich in plants having ethno-medicinal properties that may cures wide spectrum of human ailments and. It is evident from the interviews conducted during study; knowledge of medicinal plants is limited to traditional healers, elders and tribes who are living in rural areas. Due to lack of interest among the new generation as well as their charms toward cities for lucrative jobs, there is possibility of losing this wealth of traditional knowledge in future. Thus there is need to preserves this wealth through proper documentation. This study also highlights the need for further investigation on biochemical and pharmaceutical aspects of these traditional system of medicine.
We express our sincere gratitude to the rural folk, healers and the tribal to share their knowledge and we also are thankful to Mr. Shaktinath Singh, progressive farmer from Village-Begampur, Bahraich for his coordination during identification of plants with their local name and their local uses.
Ahmad, M., M.A. Khan and R.A. Qureshi, 2003.
Ethnobotanical study of some cultivated plants of Chhuchh region (District Attock). J. Hamdard Medicus, 4: 15-19.
Akinmoladun, A.C., E.O. Ibukun, E. Afor, B.L. Akinrinlola and T.R. Onibon et al
Chemical constituents and antioxidant activity of Alstonia boonei
. Afr. J. Biotechnol., 6: 1197-1201.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Ambasta, S.P., K. Ram Chandran, K. Kashyappa and R. Chand, 1992.
The Useful Plants of India. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India, Pages: 918
Ashawat, M.S., S. Shailendra and S. Swarnlata, 2007. In vitro
antioxidant activity of ethanolic extracts of Centella asiatica
, Punica granatum
, Glycyrrhiza glabra
and Areca catechu
. Res. J. Med. Plant, 1: 13-16.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Ishtiaq, C.M., M.A. Khan and W. Hanif, 2006.
Ethno veterinary medicinal uses of plants from Samahni valley dist. Bhimber, (Azad Kashmir) Pakistan. Asian J. Plant Sci., 5: 390-396.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Ishtiaq, C.M., M.A. Khan and W. Hanif, 2006.
An ethnomedicinal inventory of plants used for family planning and sex diseases treatment in Samahni valley, (A.K.) Pakistan. Pak. J. Biol. Sci., 9: 2546-2555.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Chanda, S., R. Dave and M. Kaneria, 2011. In vitro
antioxidant property of some Indian medicinal plants. Res. J. Med. Plant, 5: 169-179.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Chopra, R.N., S.L. Nayar and I.C. Chopra, 1996.
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants. CSIR, New Dehli, ISBN: 8172361262
Chandler, R.F., L. Freeman and S.N. Hooper, 1979.
Herbal remedies of maritime Indians. J. Ethnopharmacol., 1: 49-68.PubMed |
Cotton, C.M., 1996.
Ethnobotany: Principle and Application. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA., ISBN: 047195537X, pp: 399
Edwards, R. and J.A. Gatehouse, 1999.
Secondary Metabolism. In: Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Lea, P.J. and R.C. Leegood (Eds.). John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex, pp: 193-218
Facchini, P.J., K.L. Huber-Allanach and L.W. Tari, 2000.
Plant aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylases: Evolution, biochemistry, regulation and metabolic engineering applications. Phytochemistry, 54: 121-138.PubMed | Direct Link |
Fairbairn, J.W., 1980.
Perspective in research on the active principles of traditional herbal medicines a botanical approach: Ientification and supply of herbs. J. Ethnopharmacol., 2: 99-104.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Gadgil, M., 1996.
Documenting diversity: An experiment. Curr. Sci., 70: 36-44.Direct Link |
Hamayun, M., S.A. Khan, H. Kim, C.I. Na and I. Lee, 2006.
Traditional knowledge and ex situ
conservation of some threatened medicinal plants of Swat Kohistan, Pakistan. Int. J. Bot., 2: 205-209.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Jain, S.K., 1991.
Dictionary of Indian Folk Medicine and Ethnobotany. Deep Publications, New Delhi
Joseph, B. and D. Jini, 2011.
Insight into the hypoglycaemic effect of traditional indian herbs used in the treatment of diabetes. Res. J. Med. Plant, 5: 352-376.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Kirtikar, K.R. and B.D. Basu, 1991.
Indian Medicinal Plants. Vol. 4, Lalit Mohan Basu Publications, Allahabad, India
Kumar, G.P., R. Kumar and O.P. Chaurasia, 2011.
Conservation status of medicinal plants in Ladakh: Cold arid zone of Trans-Himalayas. Res. J. Med. Plant, 5: 685-694.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Kumar, T. and K.S. Chandrashekar, 2011. Bauhinia purpurea
Linn.: A review of its ethnobotany, phytochemical and pharmacological profile. Res. J. Med. Plant, 5: 420-431.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Malik, A.R., M.A.A. Siddique, P.A. Sofi and J.S. Butola, 2011.
Ethnomedicinal practices and conservation status of medicinal plants of North Kashmir Himalayas. Res. J. Med. Plant, 5: 515-530.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Pattanaik, C., C.S. Reddy, M.S.R. Murthy and P.M. Reddy, 2006.
Ethnomedicinal observations among the tribal people of koraput district, Orissa, India. Res. J. Bot., 1: 125-128.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Prakash, V., H. Bisht and M.C. Nautiyal, 2011.
Seed germination enhancement in high altitude medicinal plants of Garhwal Himalaya by some pre-sowing treatments. Res. J. Seed Sci., 4: 199-205.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Pushpangadan, P., 1995.
Ethnobiology in India: A Status Report. Government of India, New Delhi
Rahmatullah, M., R. Jahan, M.M. Rahman, S. Seraj and D. Nasrin et al
A survey of medicinal plants used by folk medicinal practitioners for treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in randomly selected areas of four districts of Bangladesh. Adv. Nat. Applied Sci., 4: 139-147.
Rao, R.R., 1996.
Traditional knowledge and sustainable development: Key role of ethanobiologists. Ethanobotany, 8: 14-25.Direct Link |
Sahu, S.C., N.K. Dhal and R.C. Mohanty, 2010.
Potential medicinal plants used by the tribal of Deogarh district, Orissa India. Ethno. Med., 4: 53-61.Direct Link |
Sarkar, N., S. Rudra and S.K. Basu, 1999.
Ethnobotany of Bangiriposi, Mayurbhanj, Orissa. J. Econ. Tax. Bot., 23: 509-514.
Saxena, H.O., M. Brahmam and P.K. Dutta, 1988.
Ethnobotanical studies in similipal forests of Mayurbhanj district (Orissa). Bull. Bot. Surv. India, 10: 83-89.
Sharma, P.C., K.S. Murthy, A.V. Bhat, D. Narayanappa and K. Prem, 1985.
Medicinal-lores of Orissa-I, skin diseases. Bull. Medico-ethnobot. Res., 67: 93-101.
Siddique, N.A., M.A. Bari, A.T.M. Naderuzzaman, N. Khatun and M.H. Rahman, 2004.
Collection of indigenous knowledge and identification of endangered medicinal plants by questionnaire survey in Barind Tract of Bangladesh. J. Biological Sci., 4: 72-80.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Tarafdar, C.R., 1986.
Ethnobotany of Chhotnagpur, less known and unknown 38 medicinal plants used by the tribals. Folklore, 27: 119-122.
Research Guideline for Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of Herbal Medicines. World Health Organization, Manila, Philippines, Pages: 2