Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 254-260. 2008.

 

 

Medicinal Plants in Tropical Evergreen Forest of Pachakumachi Hill, Cumbum Valley, Western Ghats, India

 

Jegan, G., Kamalraj, P. and Muthuchelian, K.

Centre for Biodiversity and Forest studies, School of Energy Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai 625 021, Tamil Nadu, India

jeganmku@yahoo.co.in

 

Issued 24 May 2008

 

 

ABSTRACT

Western Ghats is a treasure of medicinal plants. In this survey, two previously unreported endemic medicinal plants were identified from the study area.

Keyword: Medicinal plants, Western Ghats, endemic plants.

 

Introduction

There has been struggle between man and sickness since time immemorial. Man has acquired methods of treating sickness as rendered by his bio- cultural environment. In every society, whether technologically primitive or not, there exists some sort of curative methods for health. It is difficult to separate the magico- religious practices associated with the administration of such prescriptions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed 20,000 medicinal plants globally; Indias contribution is 15- 20 %. According to the WHO estimation, about 80% of the population in the developing countries depends directly on plants for its medicines (Gupta, 1995, Singh, 2000). In India, about 2000 drugs used are of plant origin. In the last few decades over- exploitation of forest resources has led to species loss. As a result, 20- 25% of existing plant species in India has become endangered. Medicinal plants are now under great pressure due to their excessive collection or exploitation. The degree of threat to natural populations of medicinal plants has increased because more than 90% of medicinal plant raw material for herbal industries in India and also for export is drawn from natural habitat.

Plants are useful for man in many ways. They are the source of food, fodder, fruits, manure and medicine. Modern man depends on the advanced medical systems such as allopathy and homeopathy for healthcare. But ayurveda played major role in India and now it is in the path of revival and global acceptance.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

 

Our study site is situated in the Pachakumachi hill (9 35 to 9 45 N latitude and 77 15 to 77 27E longitude) of Western Ghats, South India. The Pachakumachi hill is surrounded by Palani Hills in the North, Sethur and Sivagiri hills in the South, Cardamom hills and Kerala state in the West, the Varushanadu hills in the Northeast and Thekkadi hills in the Southwest. Vaigai and Surliyaru are the main rivers originating from Pachakumachi hill. Study area is showed in fig 1. Climatological data of the study site are collected from Pachakumachi estate Climatological station. Pachakumachi hill receives 2726 mm rainfall annually. June is recorded as the hottest month with maximum temperature of 31C and January is the coldest month with the minimum temperature of 17 C. Humidity is high (95%) during the months of June, July and August; and low humidity is noted only in the month of March (85%). In the 10,000 Acres of total area of Pachakumachi hill, 2,000 acres are under the cultivation of cash crops such as cardamom, coffee and tea. These plantations are intermingled with the patches of Evergreen forests. The altitude of the hill ranges from 600 m to 2,000 m. The vegetation ranges from scrub jungles in the foothill to evergreen and sholas at hill tops. Our study site is situated at an altitude of 1,700 m. Our study site is defined as the tropical evergreen forest. Our study period was from May 2006 to March 2007. The phytosociological studies were carried out in 1 ha permanent plot which was divided into one hundred 10x 10 m2 subplots. Then, 5x 5 m2 and 1x 1m2 sub plots were laid within each 10x 10 m2 for medicinal shrubs and herbs respectively. The diversity indices were calculated using the software BIODIVERSITY PRO BETA VERSION (Mc Aleece, 1997).

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

All in all, 16 medicinal plants were identified in our study area. Shannon and Simpson indices of the medicinal plants are 2.03 and 0.02 respectively. Among 16, 2 species are endemic.

 

CONCLUSION

To improve the status of the medicinal plants in Pachakumachi Hill, the local people must become aware of the problem.

 

Figure 1. Map showing the study area.


 

Figure 2: Evergreen Forest of Study Area (Pachakumachi Hill).

 

 

 

Figure 3: Tea plantation in study area.

 

Table1. Medicinal plants in Pachakumachi Hill and their uses.

 

S.No.

Plant species

Family

Plants Parts

Medicinal Uses

1.

Elaeocarpus serratus Linn.

 

Elaeocarpaceae

Leaves

 

Fruits

Used in rheumation, antidote to poison

Used in dysentery and diarrhea

2.

Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume

Lauraceae

Bark

Aromatic, astringent,

stimulant, carminative,

useful for checking nausea

and vomiting

3.

Cinnamomum malabathrum (Burm.f.) Berchrh & Presl.

Lauraceae

Seeds, bark and dried buds

Astringent, stimulant and carminative.

4.

Mesua ferrea Linn

Clusiaceae

Flower buds, leaves, flowers, fruits, seed.

Root and bark

Form poultice- head in severe colds.

 

In decoction or infusion or tincture is a bitter tonic- useful in gastritis and bronchitis.

5.

Gordonia obtusa Wall.

Ternstrmiaceae

Leaves

Stimulant, similar to tea

6.

Commelina benghalensis Linn.

Commelinaceae

Whole Plant

Bitter, emollient,

demulcent, refrigerant,

laxative, and beneficial in

leprosy.

7.

Cynodon dactylon (Linn.) Pers.

Poaceae

Decoction of Root

 

Infusion of root

 

Crushed roots

 

Juice of Plant

Diuretic, in dropsy in

secondary syphilis

For stopping bleeding from

piles.

Mixed with curds used in

gleet.

Astringent, used as application to fresh cuts and wounds, diuretic, used in dropsy and anasarca, in hysteria, epilepsy, insanity, astringent in chrdiar and dysentery useful in

catar opthalmia.

8.

Lantana camara Linn.

Verbenaceae

 

Decoction given in tetanus,

rheumatism and malaria,

tonic much used in atoxy of

abdominal viscera.

9.

Loranthus longiflorus Desr.

Loranthaceae

Bark

Astringent, narcotic used

for wounds and menstrual

troubles and also as a

remedy for consumption,

asthma and mania,

substitute for betel nut.

10.

Lycopodium clavatum

Lycopodiaceae

 

Diuretic antiseptic in form

of a decoction used in

rheumatism and disease of

lungs and kidneys.

11.

Ficus retusa Linn.

 

Moraceae

Juice of the bark

Powdered leaves and bark

Root- bark and leaves

 

In liver disease

In rheumatic headache

 

Boiled in oil application for

wounds and bruises.

12.

Lobelia nicotianaefolia Heyne.

Campanulaceae

Infusion of leaves

 

Leaves and seeds

 

Root

Antispasmodic

 

Acrid, poisonous

 

In Scorpion sting

Antiseptic to asthma

13.

Michelia nilagirica Zenk.

Magnoliaceae

Bark

Febge. Essential oil and

bitter substance

14.

Polygonum chinense Linn

Polygonaceae

Whole Plant

Tonic, Vulnerary, anti

scorbutic

15.

Strychnos colubrine Linn.

Loganiaceae

Fruit

 

Root

 

 

 

 

Fresh leaves

 

 

Bruised and applied to the

head in mania

Rubbed down with pepper given to check diarrhea. Boiled with oil used as liniment for pains in the joints.

 

Rubbed into a paste with cashenut kernel applied to suppurting tumors.

16.

Piper nigrum Linn.

Piperaceae

Fruit

Used as aromatic,stimulant,

in cholera, in weakness

following fevers, vertigo,

coma, as stomachic in

dyspepsia and flatulence; as

antiperiodic in malarial

fever; and alterative in

paraplegia and arthritic

diseases; externally used as

rubefacient and as local

application for relaxed sore

throat, piles and skin

diseases.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

Gupta,R. and Chadha, K. L., Medicinal and aromatic plants in India. In Advances in Horticulture, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (eds Chadha, K.L., and Gupta, R.), Malhotra Publishing House, New Delhi, 1995,1-44.

McAleece, N. 1997. Biodiversity professional beta version. The National History Museum and Scottish Association for Marine Science.