Research Article

Ethnomedicine for Women Problems by the Tribes of Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh  

Ramarao Naidu B.V.A. , Seetharami Reddi T.V.V.
Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, 530003, India
Author    Correspondence author
Medicinal Plant Research, 2018, Vol. 8, No. 6   doi: 10.5376/mpr.2018.08.0006
Received: 20 Mar., 2018    Accepted: 25 Apr., 2018    Published: 11 May, 2018
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Ramarao N.B.V.A., and Seetharami R.T.V.V., 2018, Ethnomedicine for women problems by the tribes of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh, Medicinal Plant Research, 8(6): 43-54 (doi: 10.5376/mpr.2018.08.0006)

Abstract

Exclusive studies on women problems by the tribes of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh were not reported earlier necessitating the present investigation. The paper deals with 80 species of plants covering 78 genera and 50 families used by the tribes of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh for curing women problems. Family-wise analysis showed the dominance of Fabaceae with 9 species followed by Euphorbiaceae (5 spp); Moraceae (4 spp) and others. Trees are dominant with 28 species followed by herbs (27 spp), shrubs (17 spp) and climbers (8 spp). Root is used in a maximum of 21 practices followed by stem bark (17), leaf (12), seed (9), whole plant and root bark (8 each), stem and tuber (5 each), flower and fruit (4 each) and others. Hemionitis arifolia and 20 practices were found to be new. Further research work hopefully will find out the detail bioactive compounds for the treatment of women diseases.

Keywords
Ethnomedicine; Women problems; Srikakulam district; Andhra Pradesh

Background

Tribal people are generally relying on the medicine developed from the plants directly or indirectly. Plant based traditional systems continue to provide the primary health care to more than three-quarters of the world’s population. Women diseases are common among the tribal women of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh, India, and are treated by using folklore medicinal plants which are a part of their folk health care. Srikakulam district is the northern most part of Andhra Pradesh state, located within 18°5’ - 19°12’N and 83°32’ - 84°47’E and bounded by Orissa state on the North and Bay of Bengal in the East and South-East and the Vizianagaram district in the West and South-West. The geographical area of the district is 5837 sq km and the forest area covers 70864.13 hectares. It is inhabited by Savara, Jatapu, Konda dora, Gadaba, Kuttiya and Yerukula communities. Though there are publications on women problems in different parts of India (Singh and Pandey, 1996; Sarangi and Sahu, 2004; Ratnam and Raju, 2005; Bhogaonkar and Kadam, 2006; Yadav et al., 2006; Suneetha et al., 2009; Raju et al., 2011; Rajith et al., 2012; Manjula et al., 2015; Bhogaonkar and Saudagar, 2017) exclusive studies on the tribes of Srikakulam district were not underetaken necessitating the present study.

 

1 Materials and Methods

The ethnomedicinal data presented here is the outcome of a series of intensive field studies conducted over a period of five years (1997-2001) in 74 interior tribal pockets with good forest cover. The field trips were planned in such a fashion so as to cover the selected tribal pockets in different seasons of a year. The informants are the vaidhyas and other medicine men, village headman, priests, their wives and other women preferably of fifty or more years old. A total of 41 vaidhyas/medicine men have contributed their ethnomedicinal knowledge to the present study. Each medicinal practice was cross checked with at least 4-5 informants. Voucher specimens were collected in both flowering and fruiting stages and herbarium specimens were prepared and deposited in the Herbarium of Botany Department (BDH), Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.

 

2 Enumeration

In the enumeration, plant species used to cure various women diseases are arranged alphabetically with Latin name followed by vernacular name with voucher number, type of ailment, part(s) used, method and mode of preparation and presented in a tabular form (Table 1). The newly reported species and practices were marked with an asterisk (*).

 

 

Table 1 Ethnomedicinal plants used for women problems by the tribes of Srikakulam district

 

3 Results and Discussion

The paper deals with 80 species of plants covering 78 genera and 50 families used for curing women problems viz., abortion, amenorrhoea, conception, labour pains, leucorrhoea, menorrhagia, oligomenorrhagia, pain during delivery, painful menstruation, permanent sterilization, post-natal care, post-partum, sterility, to induce sterilization by the tribes of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh. Family-wise analysis showed the dominance of Fabaceae with 9 species followed by Euphorbiaceae (5 spp); Moraceae (4 spp); Caesalpiniaceae, Rubiaceae, Liliaceae (each 3 spp); Brassicaceae, Mimosaceae, Rutaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Asteraceae, Apocynaceae, Acanthaceae, Amaranthaceae, Loranthaceae (2 spp each) and others with one species each. Habit-wise analysis showed the dominance of trees with 28 species followed by herbs (27 spp), shrubs (17 spp) and climbers (8 spp). Plant part-wise analysis showed the dominance of root in 21 practices followed by stem bark (17); leaf (12); seed (9); whole plant and root bark (8 each); stem and tuber (5 each); flower, fruit (4 each); rhizome (3); corm, bulb, latex and fibre (1 each). They are administered orally in the form of either decoction, juice, paste, pill, extract, powder or ash along with either water, hot water, milk, cow milk, butter milk, curd, ghee, rice washed water, rice gruel, sugar, sugar candy, honey, jaggery, old jaggery, turmeric, banana, black pepper, cumin, garlic, sesame oil or salt. Of the 94 practices 72 involve single plant only followed by 15 with two plants, 5 with three plants and 2 with three plants. Hemionitis arifolia and 20 practices were found to be new or less known (Jain, 1991; Kirtikar and Basu, 2003). Plants used for similar purpose in different parts of India are Gloriosa superba for abortion; Cocculus hirsutus, Phyllanthus emblica for leucorrhoea by the Bhil, Bhil-Meena, Damor, Dhanka, Garasia, Kathodi, Kokna, Kolidhor, Naikara, Patelia, Meena, Sehria tribes of Rajasthan (Singh and Pandey, 1996); Annona squamosa, Gloriosa superba, Ricinus communis for abortion; Abrus precatorius, Bombax ceiba, Butea monosperma, Opuntia dillenii as contraceptive; Delonix regia, Pedalium murex for dysmenorrhoea; Aristolochia bracteolata, Asparagus racemosus, Cocculus hirsutus, Syzygium cumini for leucorrhoea, Cocculus hirsutus, Pedalium murex, Toddalia asiatica for menorrhagia; Canavalia gladiata, Tragia involucrata for sterilization by the Yanadi, Nakkala, Irula, Yerukala, Sugali/Lambadi and Chenchu tribes of Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh (Vedavathy et al., 1997); Jatropha gossypifolia, Smilax zeylanica for leucorrhoea by Banjara, Bhottada, Bhunja, Vinjhal, Dal, Gond, Kondh Mirdha, Munda, Paraja, Saura and Sabar tribes of Kalhandi district, Orissa (Sarangi and Sahu, 2004); Pongamia pinnata, Prosopis chilensis for leucorrhoea, Tamarindus indica for menorrhagia and Xanthium strumarium for leucorrhoea and menorrhagia by the Chenchu tribe and non-tribal women in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh (Ratnam and Raju, 2005); Phyllanthus emblica for leucorrhoea; Cardiospermum halicacabum for oligomenorrhoea by the rural people of Haryana (Yadav et al., 2006); Butea monosperma as contraceptive, Curculigo orchioides for leucorrhoea by the Andha, Bhil/Naikada, Kolam, Banjara tribes of Yavatmal district, Maharashtra (Bhogaonkar and Kadam, 2006); Gloriosa superba for abortion, Cassia fistula for amenorrhoea, Celastrus paniculatus, Streblus asper for leucorrhoea by Kandha, Ganda, Sabara tribes and the resident non-tribes in Kalahandi district of Orissa (Panda and Padhy, 2008); Asparagus racemosus, Curculigo orchioides, Syzygium cumini for leucorrhoea by the Mullu kuruma tribe of Wayanad district, Kerala (Silja et al., 2008); Cocculus hirsutus for leucorrhoea, Mitragyna parvifolia for menorrhagia by the Konda reddi, Konda dora, Koya dora, Konda kammara, Konda kapu, Manne dora and Valmiki tribes of East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh (Suneetha et al., 2009); Curculigo orchioides for leucorrhoea by the Bhilla tribes of Maharashtra (Kamble et al., 2010); Cocculus hirsutus, Ficus religiosa for leucorrhoea by the Pawara, Bhil, Pardhi tribes of Dhule and Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra (Jain et al., 2010); Gloriosa superba for abortion; Abrus precatorius as contraceptive, Aristolochia bracteolata for leucorrhoea, Sterculia urens for relieving pain during delivery by the Konda Reddi tribe of Andhra Pradesh (Raju et al., 2011); Celastrus paniculatus, Dendrophthoe falcata, Flacourtia indica, Pongamia pinnata for leucorrhoea by the Gond, Kolam, Koya, Lambada, Manne, Naikpod, Pradhan, Thoti and Yerukala tribes of Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh (Swamy and Reddi, 2011); Asparagus racemosus for menorrhagia, Aloe vera, Ricinus communis for oligomenorrhoea by the rural folk of 14 districts of Kerala (Rajith et al., 2012); Delonix regia for dysmenorrhoea; Cocculus hirsutus, Mitragyna parvifolia for menorrhagia by the Koya, Lambada, Gond/Naikpod, Yerukula, Nayak and Konda reddi tribes of Khammam district, Andhra Pradesh (Manjula et al., 2015); Asparagus racemosus for leucorrhoea by the rural folk of Bhagalpur district, Bihar (Singh, 2016); Carica papaya for abortion, Cocculus hirsutus, Curculigo orchioides, Smilax zeylanica for leucorrhoea by the Gond, Madia, Pardhan and Kawar tribes of Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra (Bhogaonkar and Saudagar, 2017). It was observed during the survey that tribal women hesitate to discuss their gynaecological problems with the medical practitioners of the village and even with their husbands. They confide in and seek remedies from older women of their family, who have tried and tested these remedies and found them to be effective. Therefore, for tribal women herbal medicines become the readily available, affordable and accessible source of health care, and traditional cure is preferred over the allopathic treatments.

 

4 Conclusion

Herbal medicines are like a blessing in tribal inhabited areas where modern medical facilities are not available. Many traditional medicines are now an accepted fact because of better cultural acceptability, better compatibility with the human body, lesser side effects and effectiveness. Considering the undisputed role played by these plants in the modern day world health care system, it is of outmost importance that these should be cultivated and propagated. The highly interesting findings on women problems require further research, while the efficacy of the various indigenous practices will need to be subjected to pharmacological validation. The need of the hour is to harness this traditional knowledge and preserve this knowledge for the betterment of future mankind.

 

Author’s contributions

BVARN collected the data required for this paper and TVVSR organized and wrote this paper. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

 

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the tribes of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh, for sharing their valuable knowledge on women problems and help during field work.

 

References

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Bhogaonkar P.Y., and Saudagar P.N., 2017, Traditional health practices for reproductive disorders from Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra, India, Journal of Traditional and Folk Practices, 4: 63-73

 

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