Key Words

Ethno medicinal plants, dysentery and diarrhea, tribal people, Prakasam district.


Traditional medicines have been used by the Indian people since many centuries. In India, the use of plants for medicinal treatment dates back to 5000 years. It was officially recognized that 2500 plant species have medicinal value while over 6000 plants are estimated to be explored in traditional, folk and herbal medicine (Huxley 1984).The medicinal plants find application in pharmaceutical, cosmetic, agricultural and food industry. The plant-based traditional medical systems continue to provide the primary health care to more than three quarters of the world’s populace. The World Health Organization has estimated that over 80% of the global population relies chiefly on traditional medicine (Akerele 1992). Ethnobotanical investigation has led to the documentation of a large number of wild plants used by tribal for meeting their multifarious requirements (Anonymous 1990). Studies on ethnobotany were initiated by Janaki-Ammal as an official programme in the Economic Botany Section of Botanical Survey of India (Howrah) in 1954. From 1960, Jain started intensive field studies among tribal areas of central India (Jain 1963 a-e; 1964 a-c; 1965 a-b). These publications in early sixties triggered ethnobotanical activities in many botanists, anthropologists and ayurvedic medical practitioners. Ratnam & Raju (2005) reported Folk medicine used for common women ailments by Adivasis in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh. S.N. Jadhav & K.N. Reddy (2006) presented detail account on threatened medicinal plants of Andhra Pradesh. K.N. Reddy et. al (2002, 2007) published several papers on ethnobotanical studies. Bhakshu & Raju (2007) made abstract account on Ethno-medico-botanical studies of certain medicinal plants and certain Euphorbiaciaceous medicinal plants of Eastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh. Geetha & Raju (2007) made a note on Ethno-medico-botanical properties of Terminalia species in the forests of Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh.

Study Area

Prakasam District, one of the southernmost districts of Andhra Pradesh lies between 140 571 and 160 171 N latitude and 73o 431 and 80o 251 E longitude, occupying an area about 17,626 Sq. km. The Nallamalais and the Veligondla are the two major hill ranges in the district, of which Veramkonda situated in the Eastern Nallamalais is the highest peak (939 m). Chenchus, Lambadi and Yerukulas are the tribes inhabiting the Nallamalai and Veligondla forest areas. Tribals of these forests utilize several plants medicinally in their day to day life.

Material & Methods

An attempt has been made to report the medicinal plants used by the primitive group. The information has been gathered from the local medicine men, village elders, etc. during field trips (2014-2015) to different areas of the Prakasam district. The medicinal plant species were identified and deposited in the herbarium of the Department of Botany, Andhra University, and Visakhapatnam.

Table 1: Ethnomedicinal plants Used for Diarrhea and Dysentery by tribes of Prakasam District

S.N Common Name Scientific Name Habit Family Parts
1. Gurivinda Abrus precatorius L. Shrub Fabaceae Root
2. Uttareni Achyranthes aspera L. Herb Amaranthaceae Leaf
3. Maredu Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr. Tree Rutaceae Fruit
4. Eswari Aristolochia indica Linn. Herb Aristolochiaceae Root
5. Vepa Azadirachta indica A.Juss. Tree Meliaceae Stem bark
6. Ari Bauhinia racemosa Lam. Tree Caesalpinaceae Root bark
7. Addaku Bauhinia vahlii Wight and Ain Climber Caesalpinaceae Root
8. Sara pappu Buchanania lanzan Spreng Tree Anacardiaceae Stem bark
9. Sambakaya Canavalia gladiate Climber Fabaceae Root
10. Adavipala theega Cryptolepis buchanani Roem and Schutt. Climber Asclepidaceae Root
11. Thunga gaddi Cyperus rotundus Herb Cyperaceae Root
12. Beedi aku, Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb. Tree Ebenaceae Leaf
13. Guntagalagara Eclipta prostrate (L.) L. Herb Asteraceae Whole plant
14. Hasthikaraka Elephantopus scaber L. Herb Asteraceae Root
15. Mulumoduga Erythrina suberosa Roxb. Tree Fabaceae Root
16. Seemaneredu Eugenia bracteata Shrub Myrtaceae Root
17. Pachhabotlu Euphorbia hirta L. Herb Euphorbiaceae Leaf
18. Atti, Medi Ficus racemosa L. Tree Moraceae Stem bark
19. Raavi Ficus religiosa L. Tree Moraceae Stem bark
20. Podapatri Gymnema sylvestre (Retz.) R.Br.ex Schult Climber Asclepidaceae Root
21. Chamalanara Helicteris isora L. Shrub Streculiaceae fruit
22. Sugandhipala Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R.Br. Grass Poaceae Root
23. Pala kodisa Holarrhena pubescens (Buch- Ham) Wall. Shrub Apocyanaceae Root
24. Pedda nepalamu Jatropha curcas L. Tree Euphorbiaceae Root
25. Addasaram Justicia adathoda L. Shrub Acanthaceae Leaf
26. Chennangi Lagerstroemia parviflora Kurz. Tree Lytheraceae Leaf
27. Arati Musa paradasiaca L. Herb Musaceae fruit
28. Thurravelaga Naringi crenulata Tree Rutaceae Stem bark
29. Kamalam Nelumbo nucifera Garten., Herb Nelumbonaceae Rhizome
30. Bhutulasi Ocimum basilicum L. Herb Lamiaceae Seed
31. Pampini Oroxylum indicum (L.)Vent. Tree Bignoniaceae Root bark
32. Nela thappidi Orthosiphon rubicundus (D.Don)Benth. Herb Lamiaceae Root
33. Kanuga chettu Pongamia pinnata (L.) Tree Fabaceae Leaf
34. Yegisa Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb. Tree Fabaceae Root bark
35. Vishnu adhukam Scoparia dulcis L. Tree Scrophulariaceae Leaf
36. Mushini, Mushti Strychnos nuxvomica L. Tree Loganiaceae Stem bark
37. Neredu Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels Tree Myrtaceae Leaf
38. Adavikapi Tarenna asiatica Tree Rubiaceae Stem bark
39. Adavikapi Toddalia asiatica (L) Lam Straggler Rutaceae Root
40. Mekameyani aku Tylophora indica Burm ,f Merr Climber Asclepidaceae Root
41. Arepuvvu Woodfordia fruticosa (L.)Kurz., Shrub Lythraceae Flower
42. Neetiganiki Zornia diphylla (L.) Pers. Herb Fabaceae Whole plant
43. Pichimokka Zornia gibbosa Span. Herb Fabaceae Whole plant

Result and Discussion

In recent years the drug resistance of human pathogenic bacteria has been commonly reported from all over the world, which is one of the most important challenges faced by the modern civilization today. Ethnomedicinal study on the tribals of the Prakasam district revealed usage of 43 plant species that were found to be distributed across 25 families and 40 genera. Among them 12 were herbs, 6 shrubs, 18trees, 5 climbers, stragglers and grass each 1 respectively. The most cited family was Fabaceae (7 species) followed by Rutaceae and Asclepiadaceae (3 species each), Moraceae, Caesalpiniaceae, Astaraceae, Myrtaceae, Lythraceae, Euphorbiaceae and Lamiaceae (2 species each), remaining families have single species. Information on plant species, local names, family, has been presented (Table-1). The uses of aboveground plant parts for medicinal purposes were found to be higher than the underground plant parts. Roots was the most widely used plant part accounting for 16 plant species in a total of 43 reported plants followed by leaf( 8 species) and bark (7 species). There is an urgent need to pay attention to adopt research strategies, through which new herbal formulations could be developed which could be used for treatment without any side effects. Therefore, we should search for new antidysentery and antidiarrhoeal drugs which could provide effective protection against these resistant organisms. The preservation of herbal medicinal plants along with the traditional knowledge of how to use them is an indispensable obligation for sustaining traditional medicine as a medicinal and cultural resource. The traditional knowledge available with the ethnic people plays an important role in quick and proper identification of natural resources and discussed the scope of ethnobotany.


The survey indicated that, the study area has plenty of medicinal plants to treat a wide spectrum of human ailments. Earlier studies on traditional medicinal plants also revealed that the economically backward local and tribal people of Prakasam district prefer folk medicine due to low cost and sometimes it is a part of their social life and culture. It is evident from the interviews conducted in different villages; knowledge of medicinal plants is limited to traditional healers, herbalists and elderly persons who are living in rural areas.