Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 1348- 52 , 2009.
A Note on the use of Ethnomedicine in Treatment of Diabetes by Mishing Communities in Assam, India
S. Borah, Dr. A. K. Das1, D. Saikia and J. Borah2
2Kalabari Kala Niketon,
Kalabari, Sonitpur, Assam, India
Issued November 01, 2009
field surveys were conducted in several places of Sonitpur district and near
by areas of Lakhimpur district in Assam, where diverse ethnic groups have
lived since time immemorial. The ethnic groups have very rich tradition of
herbal medicines used in the treatment of various ailments. Among the tribal
communities, Mishings constitute
the largest group along with Bodos.
The ethnomedicinal information was collected on the basis of interview and field
studies with local healers among those communities. Medicinal plants were collected
and identified with help from indigenous healers. Such medicines have been
shown to have significant healing power, either in their natural state or as
the source of new products processed by them. Generally these formulations of
crude products are considered moderate in efficacy and thus less toxic than
most pharmaceutical agents. Our study is mainly concentrated with plants used
in relation to cure of diabetes. In our report, detailed notes on the method
of preparation, precise dosage, the part/parts of plants used and method of
application is given. Scientific name, vernacular names and family names of the
collected plants are also given in this report. �
�Key words: Ethno-medicines, ethnic groups, herbal practitioners, diabetes.
����������� Assam, with diverse ethnic communities and socio-cultural complexities, has maintained one of the oldest and most diverse traditions associated with the use of ethno-medicinal plants. The herbal medicines occupy a distinct place in our life that provides information on the use of plants or plant parts as traditional medicine. The existence and dependency on a large number of traditional practices can be thought of as an alternative type of medicine, where the cost and side effects are negligible.
����������� The present study pertains to traditional practice related to the treatment of one of the most common diseases in northeast India, i.e. diabetes. This is not a new disease and has been a medical problem since antiquity.
����������� Diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to produce or unable to properly use and store glucose (a form of sugar). Glucose backs up in the bloodstream - causing one�s blood glucose or "sugar" to rise too high. As ethnic communities switch over from their native diets to more commercial foods, the rate of diabetes increases, eventually reaching the same proportions seen in western societies.
Materials and Methods
ethnobotanical or ethnomedicinal studies, the most reliable method is one
involving field study as suggested by Jain et al (1969). It involves meeting with the herbalists and experts
in the field for getting first hand information. Practitioner of herbal
medicines who are experts in treating in general different ailments and who are
also expert in treatment of diabetes were consulted for getting some first
hand data. In the present study the work is restricted to some herbal-medical
practitioners among the Mishing, Bodo
tribes and other ethnic group like the Deuris
etc., inhabiting Gohpur area in Sonitpur Districts of Assam as well as its
nearby area of Lakhimpur District. The herbalists consulted were convinced
about the importance of documentation of ethnic knowledge about the medicinal
plants used in various curative purposes. It requires tactful handling and
persuasion to bring out the information from the herbal practitioners. Detailed
information about the plants and plant parts used in the treatment of diabetes
was collected. Plant specimens were collected for identification and
herbarium preparation. While most of the plants are commonly occurring plants
known to most of the people, some of the plants were identified consulting
the herbarium specimen in the Department of Botany, Rajiv Gandhi Central University,
Itanagar. The method of the preparation of the precise dosage was also
collected.� The herbarium specimens are
preserved in the department of botany,
The ethnomedicinal information regarding treatment of diabetes and related diseases collected in course of field study is presented here in tabular form for easy reference. The first hand information of plants used in Diabetes are corroborated consulting some available literatures like those of Kanjilal & Das (1939-40), Kirtikar & Basu (1933), etc.
����������� The following account gives the information of some plants used in diabetes:
����������� 1.�������� 100g of washed wheat grains are soaked in 250ml of water for 12 hour and filtrate should be taken in empty stomach twice daily for seven days. It has the property to reduce general debility for diabetes.
����������� 2.�������� Night jasmine (Nyctanthes arbortristis ) stem bark extract 100ml should be taken in empty stomach for seven days in the morning. But this extract should not be given to diabetic patient having heart problem.
����������� 3.�������� Garcinia �xanthochymus (Tapor Tenga) leaves are also used to cure diabetes. Here the leaf extract should be taken in empty stomach for several days. Three ground leaves dipped overnight should be taken with water and� taken in empty stomach two times daily for seven days. One to three leaves should be taken in the low level to high level of diabetes. Some chronic diabetic patients who develop high blood pressure are also cured by this treatment.
4.�������� Mixture for Diabetes: A mixture is used to prepare a tablet by using a small amount of raw asafetida(Ferula assafoetida, Linn) purchased from the traditional market and few plants in estimated amount as shown in Table �1 (Ethno medicinal Plants Mixture for Diabetes). The plants and parts of plants named as Mikania micrantha Kunth, Centela asiatica, Linn, Urban, Axon opus corymbosus Schult, Streblus asper Lour, Scoparia dulcis Linn, Commelina bengalensis, Linn, Polygonum strigosum R.Br. and a part of Musa sapientu. Linn according to Table 1.
Table 1: Ethno medicinal Plant Mixture for Diabetes.
����������� The above plants, along with raw asafoetida, is covered with leaf of banana and half baked with a light wooden fire, removed from fire and then covered by a pot till cool to save the vapour. After cooling the mixture is kept open under sunlight and then thoroughly mixed. If mixture is in loose form then it is again dried in the sunlight. This mixture is used to prepare tablet and kept in tight covered battle. The tablets are given to patient two times daily in empty stomach for seven days.
����������� The description of all above mentioned plants are on the basis of ethno medicinal knowledge. Plants are used by different communities in different places on the basis of availability of those plants and the proper knowledge about efficacy of those plants against the disease. But we had faced with a problem that the tribal communities lack much knowledge about diabetes as such as there are very few people suffering from the problem. Although this medicine has less side effect but an overdose may cause of hypoglycaemia type condition. For safe uses of different medicinal plants, we need randomised clinical trials for some of the manual therapies and further research is need to ascertain the efficacy and safety of several other practices and medicinal plants. The plants uses in mixture all may not contain the properties to relief from diabetes but some might be reduced side effect on treatment.� Therefore, we have to develop a proper study about the traditional medicine and the ratio of curative measurement applied to different patients suffering from diabetes on the use of those plants.
�We are thankful to Head of the Department, Botany, Rajiv Gandhi Central University, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India, for his support and help. We are also grateful to those informers, medical practitioner among the Mishing tribe, without whose active assistance it would not have been possible for us to do the work in the field.
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