Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 452-460. 2008.
Occurrence of Medicinal
Plant Pollen in Apis cerana
Honeys of Khammam District, Andhra Pradesh, India
A.Vijaya Bhasker Reddy and P.Ramachandra
Issued 1 July 2008
analysis of 11 honey samples from Khammam district
has been carried out. According to the pollen spectra found, most of them are
unifloral (10); 1 sample multifloral.
Thirty-two different pollen types were recorded, belonging to 20 families. Twenty-one
plants recorded from the honey samples are used as medicinal plants in
folklore and tribal medicine.
Key words: Honey,
Khammam district, Unifloral,
one of the branches of palynology, finds a very
significant application in the field of apiculture for recognizing the nectar
sources and botanical origin of honey (Ramanujam
1994). In the present work, 11 squeezed honey samples of Apis
cerana collected from the Khammam
district of Andhra Pradesh have been analyzed to determine their botanical
origin and medicinal properties of the plants recovered. Many of the plants
recorded as bee forage plants are used as medicinal plants in folklore
literature. This flower nectar contains Alkaloid and Phenolic
compounds. Baker, 1977, identified these chemicals in many of the tropical
flowers nectar. While foraging on these flowering plants, bees gather the
honey mixed with these chemical compounds. Hence, the honey would also have
the medicinal property. In folklore medicine, this honey is used for
controlling the various diseases.
The major objectives of the study
were to document the bee forage plants of Apis
cerana and the medicinal uses of the recorded
flora from the honey samples. Eleven squeezed honey samples were collected
from the various mandals of the Khammam
district. For preparation of the palynoslides 5 cc
of the honey was diluted in 10cc of water and centrifuged. The resultant
sediment was treated with 5 cc glacial acetic acid. Subsequently the acetic
acid was removed and the material was subjected to traditional acetolysis technique (Erdtman,
1960). To analyze the pollen contents, three pollen slides were prepared for
each sample and examined. Pollen types were identified as far as possible to
the genus or species level with the help of reference slide collection of the
local flora and relevant literature (Kiritikar,
K.R. & Basu, B.D, 1995). Frequencies and
frequency classes of the pollen types were determined in accordance with Louveaux et al. (1978). Medicinal uses of the
plants were identified through the literature and gathered from experienced
and aged persons. The enumeration of plants includes botanical name, followed
by name of the family, local name in Khammam
district and the uses of different plant parts were recorded.
Winter samples show the presence
of pollen referable to Melilotus alba (Fabaceae), Evolvulus alsinoides (Convolvulaceae),
Mimosa hamata (Mimosaceae),
(Fabaceae), Ageratum conyzoides
(Asteraceae), Crotalaria juncea
(Fabaceae), Capsicum frutiscens
(Solanaceae), Xanthium strumarium
Celosia argentea (Amaranthaceae),
Psidium guajava (Myrtaceae). Of these, the pollen of Melilotua
alba (47%), Ageratum conyzoides (57.5%),
(82.5%) being represented by more than 45% and referred as predominant
pollen type. Further these honeys are known as Melilotus,
honeys. The pollen of Crotalaria juncea (20%)
represents the secondary pollen type. Other pollen types are placed under
important minor and minor pollen categories.
Summer honeys consist of number of
pollen types referable to Phoenix sylvestris,
Capsicum frutiscens, Borassus
flabellifer, Coccinia indica, Tridax procumbens, Capparis grandis, Dillenia pentagyna, Syzygium cumini, Chrozophora indica, Schleichera oleosa, Terminalia arjuna, Acacia nilotica,
Lagerstroemia parviflora, Zizyphus
xylocarpa, Sapindus emarginatus, Gardenia lucida, Guazuma ulmifolia, Madhuca indica, Bombax ceiba, Feronia elephantum, Strychnos potatoram, Croton bonplandianum, Azadirachta indica. Of these, the pollen of Phoenix sylcestris (53.75-83.75%), Dillenia
pentagyna (90%), Schleichera
oleosa (53.75%), Gardenia lucida (47.5%) being represented by more than 45% of
the palynoassemblage of the summer honey samples
are represented to the predominant pollen types. These honeys are designated
as the Phoenix, Dillenia, Schleichera, Gardenia
Table 1: pollen analysis of Apis
cerana honeys of Khammam
1.C-K-K-10-9-05 (Chintoor -Mandal, Katukapalli-Village, Khammam-District)
P-Melilotus alba-47%, S- NIL, I- Evolvulus -14%,
Feronia- 11.5%, Sesamum--4.25%, M- Zizyphus
-2.75%, Borassus- 1%,
P- Ageratum conyzoides- 57.5%, S- Crotalaria juncea-
20%, I- Capsicum –
11.75%, M- Xanthium
-2%, Alternanthera -1.75%, Amaranthus -1.5%,
Coccinia-1.5%, Celosia -0.75%
3.B-N-K-16-10-07(Bhurghampad-Mandal, Nagaram-Village, Khammam-District)
indica- 82.5%, S- NIL, I- Mimosa hamata-9.5%, Psidium
sylvestris-83.75%, S-Nil, I-Capsicum -10.25%, M-Borassus
Tridax -0.66%, Capparis
5.C-B-K-2-4-07 (Chintoor-Mandal, Bodugudem-Village,
P- Dillenia pentagyna-90%, S- NIL, I-
Syzygium -6.25%, Chrozophora -
pentagyna- 58.75%, S- Schleichera oleosa-24.50%, I- Terminalia - 3%
M- Acacia -2.5%, Lagerstroemia-1.25%.
P- Schleichera oleosa-53.75%,
S- NIL, I- Zizyphus -15%, Sapindus -10%,
Terminalia -6.25%, Syzygium- 5%, M- Borassus -2.5%.
8.K-B-K-1-4-07 (Kuknur-Mandal, Barlamadugu- Village, Khammam-District)
Gardenia Lucida-47.5%, S- Schleichera - 38%, I- Lagerstroemia
9.B-R-K-5-4-07 (Burgampad-Mandal, Rudramkota- Village, Khammam-District)
NIL, S- Schleichera oleosa-18%, I- Zizyphus -13.75%,
- 10%, Terminalia -7.5%, Borassus -6.75%, Guazuma -6.25%,
5%, Madhuca -4.25%, Bombax-3.75%, Lagerstroemia –3.75%,
M- Feronia -2%, Strychnos -1.75%.
Schleichera -80%, S- NIL, I- Sapindus -6.25%, Croton-7.50%,
Madavaram- Village, Khammam-District)
Schleichera oleosa-72.5%, S- NIL, I- Lagerstroemia -8.75%,
-5%, Strychnos -5%, M-NIL.
P- Predominant pollen, S- Secondary pollen, I- Important minor pollen, M- Minor pollen
1. Ageratum conyzoides L.
Local name: Midaku
Uses: plant antihelimintic,
Antipyretic, haemostatic, styptic; and used for
colic, cuts, headache, and uterine problems.
2. Acacia nilotica
Local name: Tumma
Uses: bark extract is applied
externally to cure wounds. Gum and bark paste applied
wound will heal.
Local name: Mullabanthi
Uses: whole plant is used as lactagogue. The leaf and root extract is given internally
honey for stomachache.
Local name: Thotakura
Uses: the root is considered diuretic,
laxative, and galactagogue. The decoction is
for retention of urine and gonorrhea; Root paste is applied for curing piles.
Local name: Vepa
Uses: the bark is bitter; anthelmintic, relives bad taste in the mouth, cough;
inflammations. The leaves are anthelmintic,
insecticidal, and good in skin
Local name: Buruga
Uses: the gum is bitter; astringent,
styptic, aphrodisiac; used in stomatitis, diseases
burning of the body.
Local name: Butta
Uses: The plant is diuretic, emetic,
laxative, rubefacient; and used for chest pain
juice is used for earache.
8. Celosia argentea
Local name: Gunugu
Uses: the seeds are useful in diarrhea,
mouth sores. The leaves are antipyretic,
reduce inflammations, strengthen the liver; useful in gonorrhea.
9. Croton bonplondianum
Local name: Galivana
Uses: the watery latex is used for skin
10. Capsicum frutiscens L.
Local name: Mirapa
Uses: the fruits are used in spices and
indica Wt. & Arn.
Local name: Kaki donda
Uses: leaf juice mixed with
castor oil is used for body pains; leaves are boiled in
oil and applied externally in psoriasis, itch.
Local name: Ravidi
Uses: fruits are laxative and used in
Local name: Badisa
Uses: the bark is used in dysentery;
leaves are bitter, hot, stomachic, anthelmintic;
appetite; flowers are used ear troubles.
Local name: vishnukrantha
Uses: the leaves and roots are used in
medicine by the local tribe (Konda Reddy).
Leaves are made into
cigarettes and smoked in chronic bronchitis and asthma;
is used in intermittent fever in children.
Local name: Velaga
Uses: the fruit is sour, sweet;
refrigerant, cardio tonic, tonic to the liver and the lungs,
astringent diuretic; the
juice is good for stomatitis and sore throat;
the pain due to stings of bees and wasps.
16. Gardenia Lucida Roxb.
Local name: Karinguva
Uses: the yellow resin is used to
17. Lagerstroemia Parviflora Roxb.
Local name: konekomma
Uses: leaves are used for throat
Local name: Buushi
Uses: the bark and the leaves are used
19. Madhuca indica J.F. Gmel.
Local name: Ippa
Uses: the milky juice from the bark is
astringent; the flower is aphrodisiac, good in
heart diseases, cures burning
sensation; the leaves are boiled in water, and
as cure for several skin diseases. The honey from the flowers is used in
treatment of eye diseases.
Local name: china mentha
Uses: leaf paste is externally applied
for pains and aches.
21. Mimosa hamata Lamk.
Local name: Korindum
leaves are applied to burns.
Local name: Jama
Uses: leaves are used for wounds and
ulcers; leaves are chewed for toothache. Leaf
bark extract is used in epilepsy.
Local name: Poosuga
Uses: Bark paste supported by bamboo
sticks is applied to cure fractured bones. For
early relief, this treatment
should also be accompanied by oral use of bark juice
a day. Bark also used for skin diseases, ulcers
Local name: Kunkudu
Uses: the seeds pounded with water are
given in epilepsy.
Local name: Chilla
Uses: the seeds are used to clear
turbid water; astringent to the bowels, diuretic; the
cures all kinds of leucoderma.
26. Terminalia arjuna W. & A.
Local name: Tellamaddi
Uses: the bark is antidysenteric;
useful in fractures, ulcers, urinary discharges; ashes
plant parts applied for wounds and cuts.
Local name: Railu
Uses: the juice of leaves is applied
externally to cure wounds and cuts.
28. Xanthium strumarium L.
Local name: Marulamatangi
Uses: the plant is diaphoretic,
sedative and used for chronic cases of malaria; the root
is bitter and
Local name: Regu
Uses: the bark cures boils; good in
dysentery and diarrhea, dry fruits removes
from the blood.
The results of
the pollen analysis of the 11 honey samples from Khammam
district indicate that Melilotus alba,
Ageratum conyzoides, and Aspidopteris
indica constitute the chief nectar source
during winter; extensive distribution of Schleichera
oleosa furnished the chief sources of
nectar, followed by Phoenix
sylvestris, Gardenia lucida,
and Dillenia pentagyna
during summer for Apis cerana. It has also been noted that most of the
pollen types encountered in winter samples are from herbaceous taxa whereas in summer from tree taxa.
The present study highlighted the following melliferous
taxa, which are characteristic elements of the
forest, as fairly reliable nectar sources for bees: Dillenia
pentagyna, Schleichera oleosa, Gardenia lucida,
Lagerstroemia parviflora, Terminalis
arjuna, Feronia elephantum, Strychnos potatorum, Zizyphus xylocarpa,Syzygium cumini.
Our studies on medicinal properties
of the plants recorded from the honey samples indicate that many of the
plants are being used as medicinal plants by the local practitioners and
tribal people (Koya and Konda
Reddy). However, the authors are of
the opinion that the medicinal properties of the honey are attributable to the
fact that the pollen comes from medicinal plants. An in depth study, mainly
experimental with clinical efficacy of these plants and honeys is essential
in many cases.
The authors are grateful to Prof.
C.G.K. Ramanujam for his kind cooperation and
guidance in the preparation of this research article. We are also thankful to
Prof. YNR Varma and Prof. H.Ramakrishna
for their valuable suggestions.
Baker, H.G. 1977. Non-sugar
components of nectar. Apidologie, 8:
G 1960. The acetolysis method. A revised
description. Svens.bot.tidskr. 54:
K.R. & Basu, B.D, 1995. In Indian medicinal
plants. Volume I-IV.
Louveaux, J, Maurizio, A & Vorwohol, G
1978. Methods of melissopalynology. Bee
Ramanujam C.G.K. 1994,
Forage source for rock bees during may-july in
deciduous forest of Ranga Reddy district,
A.P. Geophytology, 24(1): 119-122.