This paper deals with 32 plant species belonging to 24 families used to treat fever prevalent among different tribal people of Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh. Plant species enumerated along with scientific name, local name, method of administration and prescribed dose. The present study also documents 2 new plants and 10 new medicinal practices. The present investigation is aimed to create awareness about the ethno medicinal value of the plants and their uses to draw the attention of pharmacologists, phytochemists and pharmaceuticals.
Ethno-medicine, Fever, Tribal communities, Visakhapatnam district
Fever refers to an elevation of body temperature. This rise in body temperature above 99° F is called fever. Fever is just one part of an illness, many times no more important than the presence of other symptoms such as cough, sore throat, fatigue, joint pains or aches, chills, nausea, etc. Fever may occur with almost any type of infection or illness. Fever is part of the body’s own disease-fighting arsenal. Rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease- producing organisms. For that reason, low fevers should normally go untreated but high temperatures need treatment. Fever is also called pyrexia. As fevers range to 104 degrees F and above, however, there can be unwanted consequences, particularly for children. These can include delirium and convulsions. A fever of this sort demands immediate home treatment and then medical attention. Home treatment possibilities include cool baths, or sponging to reduce the fever while seeking medical help.
An ethno botanical emphasis was laid on the different tribal communities inhabiting the deep forest areas of Eastern Ghats of Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh during the period of 2006- 2010. Visakhapatnam district is well known for their rich anthropogenic diversity. The total population of the district is about 38,32,336 out of which 5,57,572 is the tribal population comprising 14.55% of the district population (2001 census) and spread over by a number of scheduled tribes such as Bagata, Konda Dora, Valmiki, Konda Kammara, Mali, Kotia, Khond, Jatapu, Muka Dora, Gadaba, Porja and Khond covering 11 mandals of agency area. The study area lies between 17º-34′ 11”and 18º-32′ 57” N latitude and 81º-51′ 49”and 83º-16′ 9” E longitude with altitudes varying between 900-1200 m above MSL. The tribal people of this area have a good knowledge regarding medicinal plants and their uses. They also use their traditional knowledge to prepare simple medicines, using available herbs against fever. Ethno botanical studies in the tribal dominated areas of the district have been carried out by Banerjee, Rao et al [1,2, 3]. Medicinal plants used as antipyretic agents by the traditional healers of Darjeeling Himalayas . Native phytotherapy for fever and malaria from Kurnool district . Medicinal plants for the treatment of fever (Jvaracikitsa) in the Madhavacikitsa tradition of India . A perusal of literature reveals that there is still an ethnobotanical gap in knowledge. Ethnomedicinal plants used as an antipyretic by the tribal people of Srikakulam district . In view of this, the present work was taken up to make an extensive survey of the medicinal plants, which are used for the treatment of fever.The Ethnomedicinal plants of Andhra Pradesh have been studied for their medicinal uses in herbal and folk remedies by many workers [8-11]. The present paper therefore is an attempt to fill this gap.
Standard methodologies of field and herbarium techniques were followed. The information was tapped by interviewing repeatedly the tribal people, their medicine men, elder men and women. They were cross checked regularly. Each claim was verified at least 3-4 times. Local names of the plants and doses of administration have been documented. Plant specimens collected during different seasons were identified with the help of local floras and prepared herbarium and kept in the Department of Botany, Andhra University.
Results and Discussion
In the present study 32 species falling under 29 genera and 24 families are used for curing fever either single or in combination. Two plant species (Cleome aspera and Neolamarckia cadamba) and 10 practices were found to be new (Jain, 1991 and Kirtikar and Basu, 2003). Of the 24 families Fabaceae is the dominant family represented with 5 plants followed by Cleomaceae with 3 and Euphorbiaceae and Lamiaceae with 2 each and other 20 families are with one species. In the present study area tribes have a deep traditional knowledge that warrants a detailed documentation.
The data about plant use in this ecosystem gives a complete picture of the natural wealth this district is bestowed with. The knowledge gathered from the study can thus be exploited in arousing the general masses to conserve the natural wealth of bioresources in the region before they fall prey to deforestation. Thus there is an immediate need for documentation of the same for the greater benefit of the future generation. These studies of ethnomedicinal aspects will be useful for further researches in the field of pharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry.
AcknowledgementsSBP and BSS are grateful to the tribes of Visakhapatnam district for sharing their knowledge.
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