������� Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 36-43, 2008.
Exploration of Tribal Knowledge of Entada pursaetha DC: An Endangered Gigantic Medicinal Legume in Eastern Ghats
Sai Vishnu Priya K1 and Srinivasa Rao JV2
Department of Botany,
1Genetic Transformation Lab, ICRISAT, Patancheru,
2 PNCKR College of PG studies,
1Author for correspondence:
�������������� The third largest family of flowering plants is the
legume family, with more than 18, 000 species. Legumes play an important role
in daily human diet, and an array of compounds which can be useful in curing
diseases. Tribals utilize many species in their
daily lives; most of the uses are still unknown to researchers. Entada pursaetha
is a gigantic creeper with giant pods among legumes, and is an endangered
species. Many uses for this legume were discovered as a result of the surveys
conducted by the authors at five localities in
Key words: Soap plant, tribal pulse, giant pods, gigantic liana.
Legumes include a wide range of species from road-side weeds and valuable crop plants to ornamental shrubs, vines and giant canopy trees of the tropical rain forest. Legumes act as a mini fertilizer factory and contribute substantially to the fertility of the soil and they are also important sources of food, feed, forage, manure, timber, gum, etc. Pradhan (1995) emphasizes the key role the legumes play in daily human diet, owing to their immense nutritional value with high protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, essential for tissue formation. In the developing countries where protein malnutrition is widespread, legume seeds play a vital role in bridging the protein gap and meeting the demand for proteins. Less known tribal pulses could make a useful contribution to world food production due to their adaptation to adverse environmental conditions and, in some instances, high disease and pest resistance, and possessing good nutritional qualities (Vijayakumari et al. 1993).
Entada pursaetha is a gigantic woody liana among legumes, which produces 90-150 cm long woody giant pods (Fig. 1) with 5-30 seeds (Fig. 2). All parts of this species contain saponins and are thus used in the soap industry. This species is reported as tribal pulse (Siddhuraju et al. 1993). Its semi ripe seeds are also used as a substitute for coffee. The plant material is used by the tribals as a broad spectrum compound. This species can be used as a narcotic or as a tonic, etc, or used in curing liver troubles, allaying body pains, in warding off cold, curing eye diseases, arthritis, and paralysis (Johnson 1999). This species is reported as endangered (Janardhanan et al. 2001, Varak and Suryanarayana 1995, Jadhav et al. 2001). In recent times, there has been a deeply felt concern for the conservation and preservation of E. pursaetha germplasm (Das 1994) owing to an increasing realization of its importance and usefulness. The present study was carried out to explore the tribal�s knowledge and traditional uses of this species.
�������������� The Eastern Ghats of India are located between 11�30� and 22�N latitude and 76�50� and 86�30� E longitude, spread over three continuous states of India, namely Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which are highly significant in terms of biodiversity. Five locations such as Araku valley (82� 52�0E, 18� 19� 60N) of the North-Eastern Ghats, Rollapenta (78� 49�0E, 15� 52� 60N) of the central region, Talakona (78� 8E, 13� 43�N)and Tirumala (79� 20�60E, 13� 14� 60N )in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh, and the Kolli hills (78� 30�E, 11� 30� 60N) of the South-Eastern Ghats in Tamil Nadu were selected for the present study, where tribals inhabit and use this species,. Continuous field trips were undertaken to the study area, and the names of the various tribal communities, their professions and how they use this species for different medicinal and domestic purposes were elicited from them and recorded.
the field studies, it was found that the plant population was comparatively
large at Talakona (fifteen individuals), while at
�������������� In Araku Valley, there are nine tribal communities, in which two communities (Valmiki, Bakatha) represent 90% of the population; one community each was found in Rollapenta (Chenchus) and Kolli hills (Malai grounder); Yanadi community represented approximately 80% communities compare to Girijan and Lambadi; Simultaneously, 75% tribals at Tirumals belong to Nakkalolu and the rest 25% with Guvvalolu group. Surveys brought to light the multi uses of the species. Interaction with the tribal families brought out several interesting facts that almost all of them, men, women and children, were aware of the presence of this plant because of its giant pods and twisted tendrils (Fig. 3), but they did not know that it was endangered. Tribals of all five localities utilize the species for multi purposes in their lives, those uses were recorded (Figs. 4, 5, 6) and similar uses were listed (see below).
� Seeds are considered alexiteric, narcotic, tonic, emetic, anthelmintic, antipyretic, febrifuge, and hemorrhoidal.
� The powdered kernel of the seeds is given to women for some days immediately after delivery for allaying body pains and warding off cold.
� Used as stomachache, carminative and anodyne.
� Excites appetite, control fever and relieves pain.
� Used in pains of the loins, in debility and in inflammatory glandular swellings and for scabies.
� Roast and cook the seeds to detoxify and use as tribal pulse.
� Half-ripe seeds are used as a substitute for coffee.
� Paste of the seed kernel, green algae (i.e Anabena) and Solanum myriacanthm in 2:1:2 proportions is used to women for 7 days after
����� menstruation as contraceptive.
� Seed powder and paste of long pepper in a 2:1 ratio is used for intestinal worms.
� Seed powder with ghee in a 2:1 ratio is used as an anodyne and given to women as oral contraceptive.
� To cure liver troubles, and to cure mumps.
� �Income is derived by selling the seeds to the soap industry.
� Skin diseases.
� Stem as an emetic.
� Bark juice to cure ulcers and internally as a vulnerary.
� Soapy solutions of leaves to wash their bodies and fabrics.
� The leaves are smeared with warm coconut oil and placed on the head of a child for infantile cold.
� The leaf juice is given orally to children every morning for three days for infantile cold.
� Soap industry.
� The root paste along with the powder of black peppers in a ratio of 3:1 is given to women in the treatment of epilepsy.
�������������� The various tribal communities of the above mentioned locations revealed specific uses for this legume. The specific uses, tribal community names, their languages, vernacular names of the species are given in Table 1. When we focused our eyes on Tirumala, Kolli hills, we learned that the tribals were increasing their income by selling their seeds as fertility stimulating agent, and to the soap industry (Figs. 7, 8).
�������������� Overall, our major findings coincide with such previous researchers as Ravishankar et al. (1994), who mentions a medicine for inflammatory swellings and for the making of shampoos, and Siddhuraju et al. (1993) who describes a tribal pulse. The other uses collected by us, including medicinal uses, require laboratory analysis. If the species could be protected and propagated it could serve as good herbal shampoo material besides improving the economic conditions of the tribal inhabitants of forest areas. Understanding of the ethnic perceptions of any species is necessary for in situ and ex situ conservation projects, which help to enhance the effectiveness of educational efforts (Burgess 1994). The local people's involvement and intervention in any conservation of species is very important, and without their active co-operation, the conservation of existing population will not happen, so while collecting the tribal information, we created awareness in them about their role in conservation of this species from further extinction.
�������������� This type of survey has been helpful in bringing to light the uses of plant species whose utility had not been previously known. It has also been helpful not only in exploring tribal uses, but in creating awareness about the role of tribals in the conservation and protection of this species from further extinction.
Burgess, M. A., 1994. Cultural responsibility in the preservation of local economic plant resources. Biodiversity and conservation., 3: 126-136.
Das, C. R., 1994. Rare & beautiful
crawling climbers of special interest in
Jadhav, S. N., Ved,
D. K., Reddy, K. N. and Reddy, Ch. S., 2001. Proceedings of the workshop on
conservation assessment & management planning for medicinal plant of
Andhra Pradesh., pp. 4, FRLHT,
Janardhanan, K., Vadivelu,
V. and Pugalenthi, E., 2001. Biotechnology for improvement
of legumes. In: Jaiwal,
P. K. and Singh, R. P (ed). Biotechnology
in Indian tribal/under exploited pulses., pp. 18-21, Kluwer
T., 1999. Ethno botany Desk Reference., pp. 302,
Kamboj, V. P., 2000. Herbal medicine. Current Science., 78: 28-35.
Mahewari, J. K., 2001. Ethnobotany and
medicinal plants of [the] Indian sub-continent., pp. 32, Scientific
Myers, N., Mittermeier, R. A., Mittermeier, C. G., da Fonseca, G. A. B. and Kent, J., 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature., 403: 853-856.
Pradhan, S., 1995.
Economic Botany-The Pulses and Legumes., pp. 54, Hae-anand Publications,
Ramakrishnan, P. S., 1996. Conserving the sacred: From species to landscapes. Nature & Resources., 32: 11-19.
Ravishankar, T., Vedavalli,
L., Nambi, A. A. and Selvam,
V., 1994. Role of tribal people in the conservation and utilization of plant
genetic resources., pp. 57-65, MSSRF,
Siddhuraju, P., Vijayakumari, K. and Janardhanan, K., 1993. Genetic resources in tribal pulses. Plant Genetic Resources., 96: 47-49.
Tiwari, D. N., 1999. Medicinal plants for helath care. Yojana Ministry of Information and Broadcasting., 44: 8-17.
Varak, V. D. and Suryanarayana,
M. C., 1995. Enumeration of wild edible plants from
Vijayakumari, K., Siddhuraju, P. and Janardhanan, K., 1993. Nutritional and anti-nutritional properties of certain under exploited legume seeds. International Journal of Food Science & Nutrition., 44: 181-189.
Table 1. Tribal uses of E. pursaetha.
Fig. 1. Pod (1cm Bar=1.2 mm)������������������� Fig. 2. Seeds (1 cm=5.6 mm).
Fig. 3. Interaction with tribals at��������������� Fig. 4. Collection of tribal uses at
Fig. 5. Recording the tribal uses at������������ Fig. 6. Collection of tribal uses at
Tirumala hills.�������������������������������������������� ��Kolli hills.
Fig. 7. Nakkalola tribal woman selling������ Fig. 8. Nakkalola tribal man selling seeds.
the seeds of E. pursaetha along with��������������������������������������������������������������������� .
Pinus cones.������������������������� ����������������������������������������������������������������������.