Keywords

Ethno-medicine, Fever, Tribal communities, Visakhapatnam district

Introduction

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 [4]. Native phytotherapy for fever and malaria from Kurnool district [5]. Medicinal plants for the treatment of fever (Jvaracikitsa) in the Madhavacikitsa tradition of India [6]. 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 [7]. 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.

Methodology

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.

Enumeration

  1. Acacia torta (Roxb.) Craib. Family-Fabaceae VN: Korintha chekka *Two spoonful of stem bark extract with 10 g of jaggery is admnistered twice a day for 3 days.
  2. Achyranthes aspera Linn. Family-Amaranthaceae VN: Kukka pallu chettu E: Prickly chaff flower *Twenty leaves are ground with seeds of Piper nigrum and 2 spoonful of paste is administered with a glass of hot water daily twice for 2 days.
  3. Acorus calamus Linn. Family- Araceae VN: Vasa E: The Sweet flag Rhizome paste is applied over the body. Two spoonful of rhizome or leaf paste is administered with a glass of water only once.
  4. Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f.) Wall. ex Nees . Family -Acanthaceae VN: Nela vemu E: King of bitters A spoonful of dry leaf powder mixed in half glass of hot water is administered twice a day for 3 days.
  5. Azadirachta indica A. Juss. Family -Meliaceae VN: Vepa E: Margosa tree A spoonful of stem bark decoction is administered daily thrice a day for 2 days.
  6. Bixa orellana Linn. Family –Bixaceae VN: Jaffra E: Annatto plant A spoonful of root extract is administered daily twice for 2 days.
  7. Bridelia retusa (Linn.) Spreng. Family -Euphorbiaceae VN: Koramanu, E: Spinous kinotree *Fifty g of stem bark ground with 5 or 6 seeds of Piper nigrum and made into pills of red gram seed size. Two pills are administered once a day for 2 days.
  8. Caesalpinia pulcherrima (Linn.) Sw. Family -Fabaceae VN: Turai chettu E: Peacock flower A spoonful of leaf juice mixed in half glass of hot milk is administered once a day for 3 days.
  9. Carissa carandas Linn. Family -Apocynaceae VN: Pedda vaka E: Karanda A spoonful of root powder mixed with half spoon of honey is administered twice a day for 2 days.
  10. Cassia fistula Linn. Family -Fabaceae VN: Rela E: Indian laburnum A spoonful of root powder with a glass of hot water is administered twice a day for 1 day.
  11. Citrus aurantifolia (Chr.) Sw. Family -Rutaceae VN: Narinja E: Acid Lime Three spoonful of fruit juice with a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of salt is administered twice a day for 2 days.
  12. Cleome aspera Koen. ex DC. Family -Cleomaceae VN: China ventukura A spoonful of whole plant juice with half spoon of honey is administered twice a day for 2 days.
  13. Cleome gynandra Linn. Family -Cleomaceae VN: Ventumkura A spoonful of root juice mixed in half glass of hot water is administered twice a day for 2 days.
  14. Cleome viscosa Linn. Family -Cleomaceae VN: Kukka vaminta, Vaminta E: Wild mustard A spoonful of leaf juice mixed in a glass of hot water is administered daily twice for 2 days.
  15. Clerodendrum serratum (Linn.) Moon. Family –Verbenaceae VN: Bommala marry E: Beetle Killer Hundred g of root in a glass of water is boiled until half glass original volume of water remains and this decoction is administered twice for one day only.
  16. Cyclea peltata (Lam.) Hook. f. & Thoms. Family –Menispermaceae VN: Chanti maal E: Pataroof *Ten g of root paste mixed with a glass of hot water is administered twice a day for 4 days.
  17. Ehretia laevis Roxb. Family -Boraginaceae VN: Gidigiri chettu E: Ivory wood. *Two spoonful of leaf paste is administered with a glass of water twice a day for 2 days.
  18. Erythrina variegata Linn. Family – Fabaceae VN: Baradapu E: Indian coral tree Stem bark with that of Oroxylum indicum and rhizome of Acorus calamus are taken in equal quantities and ground. Paste mixed in water is applied on the body twice a day.
  19. Eucalyptus globulus Labill. Family – Myrtaceae VN: Euklis chettu E: Eucalyptus *Stem bark with those of Pongamia pinnata and Jatropha curcas are taken in equal quantities and ground, paste is applied all over the body only once.
  20. Evolvulus alsinoides Linn. Family – Convolvulaceae VN: Neelam puvvu Leaf paste is applied on the head for 12 h only once.
  21. Hemidesmus indicus (Linn.) R. Br. Family -Periplocaceae VN: Aavu sugandhi paala E: Indian sarsaparilla A spoonful of root paste mixed in a glass of hot water is administered twice a day for 2 days.
  22. Hibiscus micranthus Linn. f. Family – Malvaceae VN. Nithya malle *A spoonful of root paste is administered twice a day till cure.
  23. Hyptis suaveolens (Linn.) Poit. Family – Lamiaceae VN: Semma tulasi E: Hyptis Root paste is applied on the forehead and bandaged only once.
  24. Millettia racemosa (Wight & Arn.) Benth. Family -Fabaceae VN: Nela tangedu *Two spoonful of stem bark paste with a spoonful of honey is administered daily twice for 3 days.
  25. Mollugo pentaphylla Linn. Family -Aizoceae VN: Yerrichetharasi Two or three spoonful of whole plant decoction is administered daily twice for 4 days.
  26. Neolamarckia cadamba (Roxb.) Bosser. Family –Rubiaceae VN: Cadamba E: Kadam Two spoonful of stem bark decoction is administered twice a day for 2 days.
  27. Ocimum basilicum Linn. Family -Lamiaceae VN: Sabja E: Sweet basil Five tender leaves with 5 tender leaves each of Punica granatum, Psidium guajava and Eucalyptus globulus are ground along with a spoonful of castor oil and applied on the forehead early in the morning only once.
  28. Ocimum tenuiflorum Linn. Family – Lamiaceae VN: Krishna tulasi E: Holy basil Twenty leaves are ground along with 20 g of dried ginger and a spoonful of honey mixed in a half glass of hot water is administered daily twice for 3 days.
  29. Phyllanthus emblica Linn. Family -Euphorbiaceae VN: Pedha usiri E: Emblica myrobalan Five hundred g of leaves are ground and paste is applied on the head and bandaged for one hour only once.
  30. Pseudarthria viscida (Linn.) Wight & Arn. Family -Fabaceae VN: Batantu aaku Roots crushed with that of Gmelina arborea (1:1) and a spoonful of extract is administered daily twice for 2 days.
  31. Sesbania grandiflora (Linn.) Poir. Family – Fabaceae VN: Avisa E: Swamp pea A spoonful of leaf juice is administered twice a day for 2 days.
  32. Xanthium indicum Koen. Family -Asteraceae VN: Marulamatangi Two or three spoonful of root decoction is administered twice a day for 3 days.

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.

Conclusion

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.