The local people are very much closely associated with nature, and with their ethno biological knowledge about the plants available around them, they can easily avert and cure themselves from several disease complications. The present study deals with the Ethno-medicinal plants used by tribal communities in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, India. An ethno medicinal survey was carried out the use of medicinal plants in agency region; the information was gathered from tribals using an integrated approach botanical collections, group discussion and interview with questionnaire during 2014-15. Among 40 informants interviewed, 10 were tribal practitioners. A total of 43 taxa belonging to 40 genera and 25 families are documented. In most of case, fresh parts of the plants was used for the prepararation of diarrhea and dysentery.
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.
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
Abrus precatorius L.
Achyranthes aspera L.
Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr.
Aristolochia indica Linn.
Azadirachta indica A.Juss.
Bauhinia racemosa Lam.
Bauhinia vahlii Wight and Ain
Buchanania lanzan Spreng
Cryptolepis buchanani Roem and Schutt.
Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb.
Eclipta prostrate (L.) L.
Elephantopus scaber L.
Erythrina suberosa Roxb.
Euphorbia hirta L.
Ficus racemosa L.
Ficus religiosa L.
Gymnema sylvestre (Retz.) R.Br.ex Schult
Helicteris isora L.
Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R.Br.
Holarrhena pubescens (Buch- Ham) Wall.
Jatropha curcas L.
Justicia adathoda L.
Lagerstroemia parviflora Kurz.
Musa paradasiaca L.
Nelumbo nucifera Garten.,
Ocimum basilicum L.
Oroxylum indicum (L.)Vent.
Orthosiphon rubicundus (D.Don)Benth.
Pongamia pinnata (L.)
Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb.
Scoparia dulcis L.
Strychnos nuxvomica L.
Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels
Toddalia asiatica (L) Lam
Tylophora indica Burm ,f Merr
Woodfordia fruticosa (L.)Kurz.,
Zornia diphylla (L.) Pers.
Zornia gibbosa Span.
Table 1: Ethnomedicinal plants Used for Diarrhea and Dysentery by tribes of Prakasam District
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.
AcknowledgementsThe authors are thankful to Forest Officer and his staff, tribal doctors and local tribal people of Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh for their help during field trips.
- Akerele, O. 1992. WHO guideline for assessment of herbal medicines. Fitoterapia 63: 99-118.
- Anonymous, 1990. Ethnobiology in India: A Status Report. Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India, New Delhi, 1 – 68 pp.
- Bhakshu, L & R.R.V. Raju. 2007. Ethnomedicobotanical studies of certain threatened medicinal plants from Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh. National Seminar on Conservation of Eastern Ghats, Chennai. Dec. 28th -29th Page: 28.
- Bhakshu, L & R.R.V. Raju. 2007. Ethnomedicobotanical studies on certain Euphorbiaceous medicinal plants from Eastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh. National Seminar on Conservation of Eastern Ghats, Chennai. Dec. 28th -29th Pages: 41.
- Geetha, K & R.R.V. Raju 2007. Ethnomedicobotanical properties of Terminalia species in the forests of Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, India. Nationational Seminar on Conservation of Eastern Ghats, Chennai. Dec. 28th -29th Page: 35.
- Huxley, A. 1984. Green Inheritance: The World Wildlife Fund Book of India, Collins/Harvel, London.  Jadhav, S.N. & K.N Reddy 2006. Threatened Medicinal Plants of Andhra Pradesh. ENVISSDNP Newsletter special issue pp 18-28.
- Jain, S.K. 1963a. The origin and utility of some vernacular plant names. Proc. Nation. Acad. Sci. India, Sec. B. 33: 525-530.
- Jain, S.K. 1963b. Studies in Indian Ethnobotany – II. Plants used in medicine tribals of Madhya Pradesh. Bull. Reg. Res. Lab. Jammu 1: 126-128.
- Jain, S.K. 1963c. Magico-religious beliefs about plants among the adivasis of Bastar. Q. J. Myth. Soc. 4: 73-94.
- Jain, S.K. 1963d. Observations on ethnobotany of tribals of Madhya Pradesh. Vanyajati 11: 177- 183. Jain, S.K. 1963e. Studies on Indian Ethnobotany – Less known uses of 50 common plants from tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh. Bull. Bot. Surv. India 5: 223-226.
- Jain, S.K. 1964a. The role of botanist in folklore research. Folklore 5: 145-150.
- Jain, S.K. 1964b. Wild plant foods of the tribals of Bastar. Khadi Gramodyog 10: 557-561.
- Jain, S.K. 1964c. Native plant remedies for snakebite among adivasis of central India. Indian Med. J. 57: 307-369.
- Jain, S.K. 1965a. Wooden musical instruments of the Gonds of Central India. Ethnomusicology 9: 39-42.
- Jain, S.K. 1965b. Medicinal plant-lore of the tribals of Bastar. Econ. Bot. 19: 236-250.
- Jain, S.K. 1991. Dictionary of Indian Folk Medicine and Ethnobotany. Deep Publications, New Delhi. Jain, S.K. 1994. Ethnobotany and research on medicinal plants in India. CIBA Foundation Symposium 185. In: J. Chadwick and J. Marsh (Ed.), Ethnobotany and the Search of New Drugs. John Willy & Sons, United Kingdom, pp. 153- 168.
- Jain, S.K, & R. Mitra 1997. Ethnobotany in India: Retrospect and prospect. In: S.K. Jain (Ed.) Contribution to Indian Ethnobotany. pp. 1-15