Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 1426-33, 2009.
Known Ethnomedicinal Plants of Alagar Hills,
S. Karuppusamy*, G. Muthuraja and K.M. Rajasekaran
*Corresponding author, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Issued 01 December, 2009
ethnobotanical uses of plant species viz. Embelia
basal (Roxb.) DC., Gymnema
lactiferum R.Br., Ophiorrhiza
mungos L., and Syzygium alternifolium
(Wight) Walp. were recorded from Alagar hills of�
recent ethnobotanical investigation of Alagar hills,
������ The study area of Alagar hills lies approximately between 77o30� and 78o20� longitude and 10o05� � 10o09� latitude. The elevation of the area of investigation ranges from 1000 to 3000 feet above sea level. Variations in the altitude and rainfall have a bearing on the vegetation in general. The floristic divisions of the area of investigation consist of dry deciduous forest, deciduous thorn forest, evergreen and grasslands
Ethnomedicinal information was gathered by interviewing the local
medicine man and persons with informal interviews a thorough knowledge of
plants. The information gathered was confirmed by different groups of local
inhabitants dwelling in different places of the area of investigation. The
methodology of previous workers was adopted (Jains and Goel, 1995). The data
was meticulously entered in a field notebook. The voucher specimens were
collected and identified by referring to standard floras (Gamble, 1957;
Matthew, 1981; Nair and Henry 1983; Henry et al., 1987; Henry et al.,
1989; Matthew, 1991). All the voucher plants were preserved in the form of
herbarium specimens, deposited in the Centre for Research and PG Department
of Botany, The Madura College (Autonomous),
Embelia basal Burm.
Description: This climbing shrub, has to be differentially identified from Embelia tsjeriam-cottam. The roots are brownish gray, with hairy reddish rootlets. The stem is whitish gray, studded with lenticels, with a mature girth of 45-72 cm. Leaves thick, elliptic, lanceolate 6-10 cms long and 2-4 cm broad, alternating, acuminate entire, perfectly glabrous and petiole 1.0 cm - 0.8 cm. Midrib prominent, inflorescence axillary or on mature stems or older leaf scar usually basal part of branches, spike up to 8 cm in long, pubescent. Flowers pentamerous, minute, pinkish. Fruit a berry, 2.4-1 cm across,� subglobular tipped with style, smooth, succulent, deep red in colour, in dry condition with wrinkles with loss of calyx (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1.� Embelia basal (Roxb.) DC.
Distribution: Southern Peninsular India, Tamil Nadu (endemic).
Flowering Phenology: Flowering in August to October; Fruiting: October onwards.
Medicinal uses: Dry fruit powder is used to oral contraceptive for prevent the pregnancy.� Fresh fruits are eaten as raw for rheumatoid inflammation.
Specimen examined: Alagar hills, way
to Natham valley,
Gymnema lactiferum R.Br.
Description: A large climber with spirally twisted stems, lenticellate; branchlets glabrous.
Leaves opposite, broadly ovate-lanceolate or ovate-elliptic, thick, coriaceous, darken bove, apex abruptly acuminate. Flowers large, in crowded axillary cymes. Ovary 2-carpels, style free to near the top. Fruit double follicle, seeds ovate, margined, ending in a silky coma (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2.� Gymnema lactiferum R.Br.
Flowering: July � August.� Fruiting: August � November.
Medicinal uses: Leaves and latex are used to treat septic wounds. Fresh leaves pasted with water taken orally for constipation and intestinal ulcers. Leaves along with pepper seed powder is administered orally for intestinal worms.
Specimen examined: Alagar hills, way to Nupuragangai on the road sides, 550 m msl, 15-07-2009, S. Karuppusamy & K.M. Rajasekaran 24535.
Taxonomic note: The genus Gymnema is closely related to Bidaria and included in it by most authors. Bidaria can easily be recognized by pubescent internodes, bifarious with umbel like cymes. J.D.Hooker in Fl. Brit. India 4; 31. 1883 treated Bidaria (Rndl.) Decne and Gymnema R.Br. as congeneric under the latter name. However, recently Huber (in Abeywick., Rev. Handb. Fl. Ceylon1: 47. 1973) reinstated the genus Bidaria by clearly pointing out the generic distinctions.
Ophiorrhiza mungos L.
Description: This is a half-woody, erect, smooth, plant up to 30 centimeters in height. The leaves are very thin, elliptic or ellioptic-lanceo-latte, 4 to 12 centimeters long, 2 to 6 centimeters wide, and pointed at both ends. The cymes are flat-topped, 2 to 7.5 centimeters in diameter, and smooth or hairy; their branches are subumbellate and very spreading. The calyx-teeth are very short. The corolla is white and smooth, with very short, obtuse lobes which are keeled at the back. The pedicelled capsules are 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter. The seeds are many, minute, and angled� (Fig. 3).
Fig. 3.� Ophiorrhiza mungos L.
Flowering: April � June. Fruiting: June � August.
Medicinal uses: Leaves and roots used to treat poisonous bites and external tumors. Roots extensively collected for medicinal purposes by local medicine man.
Specimen examined: Alagar hills, on the way of Gnetum falls stream banks, S. Karuppusamy and G. Muthuraja, 26542.
Syzygium alternifolium (Wight) Walp.
Description: Deciduous tree, up to 12 m tall; bark fissured, branchlets pale, glabrous. Leaves alternate, 10-15 x 7-10 cm, glabrous, midrib thick, prominent lateral nerves parallel, numerous, petiole up to 4.5 cm long, reddish. Cymes axillary and lateral, sometimes form the old branches on the leaf scars. Flowers yellowish white, sweet scented. Berry globose, dark purple to light purple or yellowish pink (Fig. 4).
Fig. 4.� Syzygium alternifolium (Wight) Walp.
Flowering: March � April. Fruiting: April � June.
Distribution: This tree is endemic to
Medicinal Uses: Bark is used to treat the external wounds. Unripe fruits are eaten for stomach pain due to indigestion. Seeds largely collected by local people to prepare antidiabetic herbal powder mix with Gymnema sylvestre leaves. Ripe fruits are edible.
�Specimen examined: Alagar hills, way to the Natham valley, 700 m msl, 25-2-2009,���� S. Karuppusamy & G. Muthuraja 27683.
Taxonomic Note: Pullaiah et al., (2007) and Mohan and Laksmi (2000) noted that the tree is associated with Terminalia pallida Brandis, Shorea tumbuggaia Roxb., Boswellia ovalifoliolata Balakr. & Henry and Pterocarpus santalinus� Roxb. In Alagar hills, the tree is associated with Terminalia chebula, Shorea roxburghii, Buchanania axillaris, and Gareya arborea. Monkeys were identified the major herbivore on this tree and the main dispersal factor of the species.
����������� The authors are thankful to the
Director, Botanical Survey of India, Southern Circle,
Chitra, V. 1983. Flora of Tamil
Ganesan, S., Ramar Pand,
N. And Banumathi, N. 2007. Ethnomedicinal Survey of Alagarkoil Hills
(Reserved forest), Tamil Nadu,
Gmable, J.S. 1919. Flora
of Presidency of
A.N., Kumari, G.R. and Chitra, V. 1987. Flora of Tamil Nadu, Series�I,
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A.N., Chithra, V. and Balakrishnan, N.P. 1989. Flora of Tamil Nadu,
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S.K. and Goel, A.K. 1995. A manual of Ethnobotany, S.K. Jain
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Matthew, K.M. 1991. An
Excursion flora of Central TamilNadu, India Oxford and IBH Publishing
Mohan, B.A. and Lakshmi, B.B. 2000. Brief note on Syzygium alternifolium (Wight) Walp. an endemic plant species found in Sri Venkateswara wild life sanctuary of Andhra Pradesh, with special refrence to its fruiting. Zoos� print J. 15: 210.
Nair, N.C and Hentry,
A.N., 1983. Flora of TamilNadu, Series�I, Vol. I, Botanical survey of
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Saldanha, C.J. 1996. Flora of Karnataka, Oxford &
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Thesis submitted to