Ethnobotanical Leaflets 14: 236-47, 2010.
Investigations on Anti-Diabetic Medicinal Plants Used by Tribal Inhabitants of Nalamankadai, Chitteri Reserve Forest, Dharmapuri, India
K. Kadhirvel1, P. Rajivgandhi1, G. Narayanan1,
V. Govindaraji1, K. Kannan1, R. Vanithaselvi1,
Issued: March 01, 2010
ethnobotanical survey was conducted to collect information about medicinal
plants used for the treatment of diabetics and associated complications by
tribals in Nalamankadai
Keywords: Malayali’s; Chitteri Hills; Ethnomedicine; Traditional Knowledge; Anti diabetic.
A mounting body of research is hoisting the credibility of traditional
knowledge in meeting the challenges of primary healthcare and management of
natural resource globally (Ragupathy and Newmaster, 2008). However, societal
domination of western medicine and lack of recognition to the stakeholders of
biological resources, place and value of traditional knowledge base has been
impeding the entry of traditional medicine into healthcare services and
related field such as nutrition, environmental management (
Aboriginal people of the study area called Malayali’s are the inhabitants
of Sherveroyan hill ranges of
“Diabetes” is a metabolic syndrome of multiple etiologies characterized by chronic hyperglycemia with abnormalities in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism due to defect in insulin secretions. Diabetes is associated with long term damage such as malfunction of eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels. It is associated with health complications including renal failure with risk of foot ulcers, including sexual dysfunction, heart disease, stroke and blindness. Different types of diabetes have been identified and categorized as Type I Diabetes, Type II Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes.
diabetes has been treated with plant medicines. Ethnobotanical studies of
traditional herbal remedies used for diabetes around the world have
identified more than 1,200 species of plants with hypoglycemic activity (Babu
et al, 2006). Natural medicines used in the
traditional Chinese medical system for therapy of diabetes mellitus (Li et
al, 2004). In
Experimentally, Shanmugasundaram et al., (1990) confirmed the efficacy of traditional preparations claimed to be effective in the treatment of diabetics. Several herbs have shown anti-diabetic activity when assessed with the available experimental techniques (Mukherjee et al., 2006;). Wide array of plant derived compounds with consistent antidiabetic activity have proven their possible use in the treatment of DM (Farnsworth, 1998). Plants like Allium cepa, Allium sativum, Aloe vera, Cajanus cajan, Coccinia indica, Caesalpinia bonducella, Ficus bengalenesis, Gymnema sylvestre, Momordica charantia, Ocimum sanctum, Pterocarpus marsupium, Swertia chirayita, Syzigium cumini, Tinospora cordifolia and Trigonella foenumgraecum have been studied in relation to diabetes and their complications. However, these plants have shown varying degree of hypoglycemic and anti-hyperglycemic activity (Grover and Vats, 2001).
The main objective of this study was to assess the diversity of ethnomedicinal plants used by Malayali’s and document the traditional medical practices followed in healing complications associated with diabetics. Similar ethnobotanical studies have been elsewhere to document the traditional knowledge that has been vanishing (Ignacimuthu et al., 2006). Therefore, documenting indigenous knowledge is important from the view point of conservation of biological resources and their sustainable utilization in the management of Diabetics and its related complications.
Materials and Methods
Description of study area
Ghats, a broken chain of mountains in the Indian peninsular extends from
Fig. 1. Sketch map of the study area.
Fig. 2. Panoramic view of the study area in Chitteri Hills and the people.
Field investigations were conducted in Nalamankadai village, Chitteri, Dharmapuri. During the study, daily activities of the local inhabitants were closely observed and interpersonal contacts were established by participating in their functions. There were 10 informants with in the age group of 30 to 68. Among them two were tribal practitioner. Ethnobotanical data were collected according to the methodology suggested by Jain and Goel (1995). The ethnobotanical data were collected using questionnaire, interviews and discussions in their local dialect.
The medicinal plants used by the tribal people were collected following
standard protocols and preserved using herbarium techniques. Specimen
collected from the field were tagged and taken to lab. Flora of Presidency of
Madras (Gamble, 1935) and Flora of Tamil Nadu Carnatic (Matthew, 1983;1991)
were used for identification and authentication of the plants collected.
Herbarium collections have been voucher numbered and deposited in the
Results and Discussion
Table 1, enumerates the data obtained during the investigation. A total of 29 plant species belonging to 22 families have been recorded in the present study. However, plants like G. sylvestre, M. indica, M. charantia, M. koeingii, S. cumini, and T. foenum-graecum were more frequently used by the people in the area. Plant species belonging to families of Fabaceae (3), Alliaceae (2), Apocyanaceae (2), Cucurbitaceae (2), Euphorbiaceaea (2) and Rutaceae (2). The usage of plant part Bulb – 2, Flower – 1, Fruit – 5, Leaf – 11, Seed – 8, Pseudo Stem – 1, Tuber – 2, Whole Plant – 1 (Fig. 3). From the data, it could be inferred that for more number of remedies fresh leaf materials (36%) is used followed by seeds (26%) and fruits (16%). However, plant parts like Bulb (3%) and tuber (3%) were less frequently used by the people in the area. Informations gathered during this study are in agreement with the previous reports (Jain and Patole, 2001; Ignacimuthu et al., 2006; Modak et al, 2007; Ramya et al, 2008).
Fig. 3. Percentage distribution analysis of remedies obtained from different plant parts.
Table 1 Anti diabetic medicinal plant species used by the inhabitants of Nalamankadai, Chitteri.
It has been previously shown that M. charantia and E. jambolana are very effective in controlling glucose levels in chemically induced mild to severe model of diabetics in rodents and seem to work by stimulating kinases involved in peripheral utilization of glucose (Grover and Vat, 2001). In addition, to the plants documented in the present study many other plants have shown excellent positive outcomes in respect to diabetic complications such as diabetic nephropathy, fructose induced insulin resistance, and cataract. Recently, efficacies of T. foenum graecum, O. sanctum, P. marsupium, M. koeingii and B. juncea have been proven effective in the management of Diabetics and its related complications (Babu et al., 2006; Jung et al., 2006 Modak et al, 2007;).
Present investigation indicates that Chitteri is blessed with splendid diversity of ethnomedicinal plants. The study depicts that resource persons are invariably elderly people and the younger generation is reluctant to take up nattuvaithiyam. Therefore, documentation of traditional knowledge is the only way out to preserve the knowledge base conserve the plant resources endemic to this area. Further, ethnomedical approach for the treatment of diabetes is a practical, cost-effective and biological safe.
The authors thank all those in Chitteri Hills who have helped us in providing the information.
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