Ethnobotanical Leaflets 14: 942-51, 2010.

 

 

Ethnobotanical Studies on Malayali Tribe in Nalamankadai, Chitteri Hills, Eastern Ghats, India

 

P. Amudha and R. Prabakaran*

 

Department of Botany, Vivekanandha College of Arts and Sciences for Women Elayampalayam, Tiruchengode- 637 205. Tamilnadu, India

*corresponding author. E-mail: neempraba@yahoo.com

 

Issued : August 01, 2010

 

Abstract

 

The ethnomedicinal plants used by Malayali tribes of Nalamankadai, Chitteri hills, Eastern Ghats were assessed. First-hand information on ethnomedicinal recipes was gathered from the knowledgeable elders of the tribal community and herbal healers. During field visits the tribals were contacted, interviewed and information on 31 plant species belonging to 21 families were gathered. Details regarding plant species, scientific name, family, local name and uses were provided along with parts taken for treatment, the mode of processing and the mode of administration. For most of the ailments fresh plant materials were invariably used to cure different ailments such as cold & cough, paralysis, blood clotting, vertigo, cut wounds, skin diseases etc.

Key words: Ethnobotany, Tribes, Traditional Knowledge.

 

Introduction

            Ethnobotany is the study of plants in relation to the inhabitants of an area. Ethnobotanical research can provide a wealth of information regarding both past and present relationships between plants and the traditional societies. There are altogether 427 tribal communities all over India. According to 2001 census, scheduled tribes population in the country was 84 million constituting about 8.2% of the total population. Tribals have vast knowledge about tradicinal medicine for various diseases. Since the tribes have some superstitious beliefs they do not reveal the medicinal secrets to others. The knowledge about tribal medicine is on the way to extinction because of the negligence and the absence of documentation. Higher plants as source of medicinal compounds have continued to play a dominant role in the maintains of human health since ancient times ( Farombi, 2003). This paper will help to store and retrieve the information on traditional knowledge for the benefit of mankind.

 

Materials and Methods 

            Chitteri hills present in Southern Eastern Ghats of Pappirettipatti (Tk), Dharmapuri district, Tamilnadu. It is located about 78°51’10” longitude and 12°4’48” latitude and 78°32’40” E 11°55’14”N. There are about 60 hamlets in Chitteri hills and average height is about 3600 ft. Chitteri hills falls under tropical belt and is generally hot. The average maximum temperature is 32°C and average minimum temperature is 10°C. The average annual rainfall varies from 800mm to1000mm and gets rainfall both from southwest and northeast monsoons. Tribes present in the study area is Malayali tribe and speak Tamil. The major employment is agriculture. Ethnobotanical field work is carried out with the knowledgeable informants are taken to the field and uses of the plants as given by them is recorded. Plants were collected for voucher specimens and deposited in Department of Botany, Vivekanandha college of Arts and Sciences for Women. Information on collection of plant parts and used exclusively or with other ingredients. Mode of administration, dosage, processing and preparation of crude drug were documented. Flora of Tamilnadu Carnatic (Matthew, 1983-1986), An Excursion Flora of Central Tamilnadu (Matthew, 1991) and Flora of the Presidency of Madras (Gamble & Fischer, 1921-1928) were used to ascertain the nomenclature of the plant species.

Results and discussion

      Enumeration of Ethnomedicinal plants

Human diseases

 

Cold & cough

 

1.      Plant name                  :  Eucalyptus grandis ,Hill ex maichen.

      Local name                  :  Thylamaram

      Family                         :  Mrytaceae

      Plant part used            :  Leaves

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Leaves boiled with water; white stone is added to the boiling water and vapour is inhaled

                                             to cure cold and cough.

 

2.   Plant name                  :  Vitex negundo, Linn.

      Local name                  :  Vennochi

      Family                         :  Verbenaceae

      Plant part used            :  Leaves

      Status                          :  Wild

     Mode of Preparation   :  Leaves boiled with water; white stone is added to the boiling water and vapour  is inhaled to

                                            Cure cold and cough. 

 

3.   Plant name                  :  Ocimum sanctum, Linn.

      Local name                  :  Tulasi

      Family                         :  Labiatae

      Plant part used            :  Leaves

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Leaf paste applied externally to young children chest to cure                                  

                                             cough.  

      

4.   Plant name                  :  Ocimum gratissimum ,Linn.

      Local name                  :  Kanavalai

      Family                         :  Labiatae

      Plant part used            :  Leaves

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Leaves ground with mother milk and given orally to children to               

                                             cure cold and cough.

     

Paralysis

 

5.   Plant name                  :  Drynaria quercifolia, (L).

      Local name                  :  Attukal khilangu                       

      Family                         :  Polypodiaceae

      Plant part used            :  Rhizome

      Status                          :  Wild   

      Mode of Preparation   :  Fresh rhizome grounded with jiggery into paste form and mixed

                                             well with gingely oil. The paste isgiven orally for 2-3 months.

      

6.      Plant name                  :  Pergularia daemia ,(Forsskal) Chiov.

                                             (=Pergularia extensa ,(Jacq) N.E.Br).

                                             Curcuma longa, Linn.

                                             Alangium salviifolium ,Wang.   (=Alangium lamarckii ,Thw).

                                             Strychnos nux-vomica ,Linn.

                                             Evolvulus alsinoides ,(L) L.

                                             Calotropis gigantea, (,L) R.Br.

                                             Tarenna asiatica,(L)Kuntze ex schumann.

                                             (=Chomelia asiatica ,(,L) Kuntze).

      Local name                  :  Velly paruthi, Manjal, Alangi, Yetti, Vishnuganthi, Erukku, Kura.

      Family                         :  Asclepiadaceae, Zingiberaceae, Alangiaceae, Loganiaceae,

                                             Convolvulaceae,Asclepiadaceae, Rubiaceae.                          

      Plant part used            :  Young leaves

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  The young leaves of above mentioned plants were ground and

                                             made into paste and applied externally to affected portion on

                                             Sunday and Tuesdays for two to three months.    

 

Hemorrhoids or Clotting

 

 7.  Plant name                  :  Artocarpus hirsuta ,Lamk.

      Local name                  :  Pila

     Family                         :  Moraceae

     Plant part used            :  Stem bark

     Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Equal amount of bark powder is mixed with ragi powder, boiled

                                             with hot water and made into paste form. The paste is applied

                                             externally to affected portion of body for 12 hours.

Vertigo

 

 8. Plant name                  :  Adhatoda vasica ,Nees.

      Local name                  :  Adatodai

      Family                         :  Acanthaceae

      Plan part used             :  Leaves

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Fresh young leaves boiled with one liter of water and filtered. The

                                             ¼ tumbler of decoction give orally for 3- 4 days.                         

Cut wounds & Swelling gum

 

 9. Plant name                  :  Lantana camara ,Linn. (=L.aculeata, Linn).

      Local name                  :  Unnichedi

      Family                         :  Verbenaceae

      Plan part used             :  Young leaves

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation  :  (i). Young leaves ground with turmeric and made into paste and

                                                  applied externally on wounds.

                                             (ii). Ventral side of the leaves scratched on swelling gum.

Skin disease & Insect bite

 

10. Plant name                  :   Nerium oleander, Linn (=N.odorum, Linn).

      Local name                  :  Arali

      Family                         :  Apocynaceae

      Plan part used             :  Leaf latex

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  (i). Latex is mixed with coconut oil in equal proportion and this

                                                   mixture is processed up to 6 days and this is applied on skin

                                                   externally to treat skin disorders.

                                             (ii). Latex mixed with coconut oil and gingely oil. This is applied

                                                    on beetle bitten site.

 

        

Dog bites – Rabies

 

11.  Plant name                 :  Toddalia asiatica, Lamk (=T.aculeata ,Pers).

                                             Capsicum annum, Linn.

                                             Premna tomentosa, Wild.

      Local name                  :  Kindu mullu, Chilly, Kolakatta.

      Family                         :  Rutaceae, Solanaceae, Verbenaceae

      Plan part used             :  Young leaves

      Status                          :  Wild, cultivated, Wild.

      Mode of Preparation   :  (i). The above plant leaves, pepper and garlic in the same amount                       

                                                   ground into paste form apply to the dog bitten site.

                                             (ii).The above ingredients paste is mixed with neem oil and give

                                                   dought on the dog bitten site.

Eye diseases

 

12. Plant name                  :  Ocimum gratissimum ,Linn.

      Local name                  :  Kanavalai

      Family                         :  Labiatae

      Plan part used             :  Seeds

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation  :  Dry seeds were cleaned, applied to retina of human eyes and close

                                              the eyes for some time. It cleans the eyes and improves eye site.        

     

13. Plant name                  :  Clausena dentate ,(Willd) Roemer.

                                             (=C.willdenowii ,Wight & Arm).

      Local name                  :  Potti

      Family                         :  Rutaceae

      Plan part used             :  Leaves

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Young fresh leaf juice is taken and 2-3 drops of juice is applied to

                                              eye to cure eye diseases.

                   

Tumor

 

14. Plant name                  :  Hardwickia binata, Roxb.

      Local name                  :  Acha

      Family                         :  Leguminosae

      Plan part used             :  Root latex

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Root latex and mud soil made into paste. It is applied externally to

                                              the female breast to cure breast cancer.

 

 

 

Piles & Jaundice

 

15. Plant name                  :  Phyllanthus amarus, Schum & Thonn

      Local name                  :  Vellai Keelanelli

      Family                         :  Euphorbiaceae

      Plan part used             :  Entire plant

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Leaves grounded with goat urine and made into paste form. Paste

                                              is given orally for few days.     

 

Toothache

 

16. Plant name                  :  Capparis zeylanica, Linn (=C.horrida, Linn).

      Local name                  :  Athandai

      Family                         :  Capparidaceae

      Plan part used             :  Stem bark

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Small piece of bark is applied to affected tooth, rotten teeth portion

                                             to kill the germs and also relieve the toothache.         

 

Stomachache

 

17. Plant name                  :  Caesalpinia bonduc ,(L) Roxb (=C.crista ,L).

      Local name                  :  Kalarchi

      Family                         :  Caesalpiniaceae

      Plan part used             :  Seeds (endosperm)

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Endosperm is boiled with hot water and filtered. A tumbler of

                                             decoction is given orally to cure stomachache.

                                            

Animal diseases

Dysentery& Constipation in Goat

 

18. Plant name                  :  Ipomoea staphylina, Roem & Sch. 

                                                          (=I.racemosa, Roth).                                  

      Local name                  :  Oonankodi

      Family                         :  Convolvulaceae

      Plan part used             :  Young leaves

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  (i). Young leaves ground with pepper and given orally.

                                             (ii).Young leaves, garlic, onion and pepper were grounded and is

                                                   mixed with warm water and given orally to animals.

 

                                                                                   

Constipation in Cow & Buffalo

 

19. Plant name                  :  Premna serratifolia, L.

      Local name                  :  Pay minnay

      Family                         :  Verbenaceae

      Plan part used             :  Young leaves

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Young leaves, 3 onion, 3 garlic, 3 pepper were ground and it is

                                              boiled with water and give orally to cows and buffaloes.

 

Dog bites – Rabies

 

20. Plant name                  :  Toddalia asiatica, Lamk (=T.aculeata ,Pers).

                                             Capsicum annum, Linn .

                                             Premna tomentosa, Wild.

      Local name                  :  Kindu mullu, Chilly, Kolakatta.

      Family                         :  Rutaceae, Solanaceae, Verbenaceae

      Plan part used             :  Young leaves

      Status                          :  Wild, cultivated, Wild.

      Mode of Preparation  :  (i). The above plant leaves, pepper and garlic in the same amount

                                                   ground into paste form apply to the dog bitten site.

                                             (ii).The above ingredients paste is mixed with neem oil and give

                                                   dought on the dog bitten site.

                                                                                                                                                             

Increase Lactation

 

21. Plant name                  :  Cryptolepis grandiflora ,Wight.

      Local name                  :  Mattankodi

      Family                         :  Asclepiadaceae

      Plan part used             :  Entire plant

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Entire plant directly given to domestic animals for increase

                                             lactation.

22. Plant name                  :  Cardiospermum halicacabum ,L.

      Local name                  :  Mudakkattan

      Family                         :  Sapindaceae

      Plan part used             :  Entire plant

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   :  Entire plant freshly given to animals or internally in paste form.

Haemorrhoeid or Clotting

 

23. Plant name                  :  Artocarpus hirsuta ,Lamk.

      Local name                  :  Pila

      Family                         :  Moraceae

      Plant part used            :  Stem bark

      Status                          :  Wild

      Mode of Preparation   : Equal amount of bark powder is mixed with ragi powder, boiled

                                             with hot water and made into paste form. The paste is applied

                                             externally to affected portion of body for 12 hours. 

                                                                                                                                                             

Edible fruits

 

24. Plant name                  :  Premna tomentosa, Willd.

                                             Schleichera oleosa (Lour)Oken

                                             Glochidon zeylanicum A.Juss.

      Local name                  :  Kolakatta, Puvan,

      Family                         :  Verbenaceae, Sapindaceae, Euphorbiaceae

      Plan part used             :  Fruit

      Status                          :  Wild

      Uses                            :  Fruits are edible.

 

Narcotics

 

25. Plant name                  :  Hiptage benghalensis ,(L) Kurz.

      Local name                  :  Boromali

      Family                         :  Malpighiaceae

      Plan part used             :  Leaves

      Status                          :  Cultivated

      Uses                            :  Leaves used in narcotics.

 

           Medicinal plants used by tribes have listed disease wise, for each plant vernacular name as spelled by the tribes, binomial, family name, plant parts used, mode of preparation, dosage were given. In the study 31 ethnomedicinal plant species distributed to 29 genera, 21 families have been documented. Out of 31 plant species 24 plants were used to cure various ailments for human beings and 7plants were used to cure various ailments for domestic animals.

           Tribes mostly use fresh plant materials for the preparation of medicine. Generally young leaves and bark were frequently used when compared to other parts of the plant. Tribals consume decoction, infusion (oral treatment) and paste for external application. In most ailments internal use of plants predominates the external application. Paste formulations were quite common in external application. Tribes mix several plants, as ingredients to cure disease but detailed information on the role of the components used in such formulation are obscure. In few ailments single plant is used to cure the disease. Tribals use different species to cure various ailments like cold & cough (4 species), paralysis (8 species), cut wounds (1species), skin disease (1species), Insect bite (1species), dog bite (3 species), stomachache (1species), toothache (1species), tumour (1species), eye disease (2 species), vertigo (1species).

           Tribes use different plants to cure various ailments in domestic animals such as dysentery (1species), constipation (2 species), Increase lactation (1species), and viral fever (1species). Tribes use Premna tomentosa, Schleichera olersa, Glochidon zeylanicum fruits as food and       Hiptage benghalensis leaves as narcotics. Though Malayali tribes still depend upon plant resources to cure various ailments, the young generation is almost ignorant or least interested in their traditional knowledge. Hence documentation of valuable traditional knowledge of ethnomedicinal plants were recorded in this study.

 

      Conclusion

 

           Ethnobotanical research provides information regarding plant wealth to cure difficult and chronic diseases. Tribes mostly use fresh plant material for the preparation of medicine. Young leaves and bark were more frequently used when compared to other part of the plant. Tribes depend upon plant resources to cure various ailments, but younger generation almost ignorant or least interested. So documentation of ethnobotanical plants knowledge is needed.            

 

Acknowledgement

           The Authors thank the Chairman and the management for the permission to undertake this work. They also thank Mr. P. Manikandan and Mr. Murugesan for their help and support.

 

References

 

Farombi, E.O. (2003). African Indigenous Plants with Chemotherapeutic potentiallllls and biotechnological approach to the production of bioactive prophylactic agents. African J. Biotech., 2: 662-671.

Gamble, J.S. & Fischer, C.E.C. (1921-1928). Flora of the Presidency of Madras. 3 vol. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun.

Matthew, K.M. (1983-1986). Flora of Tamilnadu Carnatic. Rapinat Herbarium, St.Joseph’s College, Tiruchirapalli.

Matthew, K.M. (1991). An Excursion Flora of Central Tamilnadu. Oxford and IBH publishing Co., New Delhi.