By Deepak Acharya and Anshu Shrivastava
The traditional storage of ethnobotanical knowledge in memory and practices has a long history. One of the most important sources of this knowledge is the Rig Veda (1200-900 BC), which has been useful in the attempt to identify the source of the traditional medicine system, also known as ‘Ayurveda’. Application of such herbal remedies has also been mentioned in the Atharva Veda (around 3,000 to 2,000 BC). Under “The drugs and cosmetic act and rules” the 54 authenticated ancient books have been given legal acceptance to these written texts and practices prescribed for the treatment of various ailments.
The indigenous Indian tribals have accrued considerable knowledge in this field of potential interest and they very well identify the plants which could be utilized as potential source of medicine for human, animal and agri-health, though there knowledge is either unwritten or unrecognized. As herbs are the integral part of human life from time immemorial, their uses in treating various human health ailments can not be denied. The tribal healers prescribe many formulations purely based on herbs for various blood related disorders. Authors bring here information about these practices which can provide leads to the modern research for the treatment of such diseases (Acharya and Shrivastava, 2008).
Juice of Onion (Allium cepa) contains iron, therefore, beneficial in treating anaemia.
(Asparagus racemosus) roots (2 tsp), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) roots (2 tsp), Indian Gooseberry (Emblica officinalis) fruits (1 ½ tsp), Niruri (Phyllanthus fraternus) leaves (1 tsp), Wild Indigo (Tephrosia purpurea) leaves (1 tsp), Licorice (Glycyrhiza glabra) roots (1 ½ tsp), White Musli (Chlorophytum borivillianum) roots (1 ½ tsp) and Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) leaves (1 tsp) is mixed thoroughly. One teaspoon powder should be given to the patient (Acharya and Shrivastava, 2011)
Low Blood Pressure
In low blood pressure, Fenugreek leaf curry with Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Garlic (Allium sativum) and Chilly (Capsicum annum) is advised.
Tribals prepare a decoction of the roots of Muskroot (Nardostachys jatamansi) and give orally to the patient who is suffering from low blood pressure.
In low blood pressure, Long Pepper (Piper longum) powder (2g) and
Ashwagandha powder (3g) should be taken along with lukewarm milk or water.
High Blood Pressure
To control high blood pressure, fruits of Custard Apple (Annona squamosa) are eaten regularly.
Fresh leaf juice of Jack fruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is given to reduce the high blood pressure.
Decoction of Papaya (Carica papaya) leaves is an effective remedy. The formulation should be given orally two times a day.
In high blood pressure, according to Janu Kaka (a herbal healer) of Dangs, take Gotukola (Centella asiatica) (2g), Serpentine Root (Rauwolfia serpentina) powder (1g), Muskroot (1g) and Long Pepper (2g) and mix it well. Take it orally twice a day.
Indian Borage (Coleus forskohlii) root powder taken along with honey helps of lowering the high blood pressure. It should be taken everyday for 2 months.
Gonds and Bharias in Patalkot (Madhya Pradesh) prescribe Indian Bdellium Tree gum to reduce the effect of high blood pressure. Also, they supplement another formulation where Chebulic Myrobalan fruits 1 ½ tsp, Ashwagandha roots 2 ½ tsp, Indian Asparagus roots 1 ½ tsp, Adrak rhizomes 1 tsp and Arjun (Terminalia arjuna) bark 3 ½ tsp are taken and mixed thoroughly. About 1 tsp of this formulation has been given to the patient along with honey or water (Acharya and Shrivastava, 2008).
According to herbal healers in Melghat area of Maharastra, Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) flowers are dipped in hot water and then crushed. The decoction should be stirred well and added with sugar. Take it every day in the morning.
Purification of Blood
To clarify blood impurities, Kaiyat (Andrographis paniculata) leaf juice (5 ml) with honey is given twice a day by the indigenous herbal healers in Patalkot.
To get rid of impurities in blood, roots of Indian Asparagus and Indian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus) is taken, juice is prepared and given orally.
In many remote areas of Patalkot, raw Neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves are eaten to purify the blood.
Patalkot healers employ Orchid Tree (Bauhinia variegata) plant in blood impurities. For this, they mash the roots in water, boil and supplement it to the patient.
To purify blood, ripe Papaya (Carica papaya) (500g) should be taken every evening.
For purifying the blood, equal proportion of Chicory (Cichorium intybus) powder, Licorice and Indian Sarsaparilla are taken in equal proportion.
For blood purification, decoction of Tuber Flower (Clerodendrum phlomoides) bark and Honey is said to have excellent results.
To treat skin diseases and blood impurities, juice of Elephant’s Foot (Elephantopus scaber) plant, Indian Madder (Rubia cordifolia) and sugar are mixed properly and given to the patient.
The decoction of English Speedwheel (Evolvulus alsinoides) and Semi- Erect Euphorbia (Euphorbia hirta) plant is given in general debility and as a blood purifier.
For blood purification, mix Licorice powder, Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seeds and Rose (Rosa indica) leaves. Take it orally twice a day.
Decoction of Indian Sarsaparilla roots helps in blood purification.
For blood impurities, decoction prepared from Indian Sarsaparilla root powder, Kutki (Picrorhiza kurroa) seeds and Gorakhmundi (Sphaeranthus indicus) whole plant. It should be supplemented once a day for 15 days.
Indian Sarsaparilla roots, unripe fruits of Fig (Moras alba), Grapes (Vitis vinifera) fresh fruits and Rose (Rosa indica) petals are taken and crushed and juice is prepared. It is said to have qualities to purify the blood.
Tribals of Central India prepare a special herbal tea from the roots of Indian Sarsaparilla and give twice a day for treatment of impurities of blood. Sometimes Puncture Vine (Tribulus terrestris) seeds are also added in this mixture.
Bhumkas claim that Carilla fruit (Momordica dioica) is beneficial in purifying blood.
To purify blood, decoction of whole plant of Night Jasmine (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) and Indian Madder (Rubia cordifolia) is taken with honey.
To purify blood, decoction of Indian Madder (Rubia cordifolia) and Muskroot is taken with honey.
Tribals of Western India prescribe 20 mg Indian Bdellium Tree powder with water twice a day after meals for weight reduction and lowering blood cholesterol.
Rhizomes of Mango Ginger (Curcuma amada) are roasted and given with black salt for lowering blood cholesterol.
It is indeed true; there has not been a single civilization on earth that has not included herbs as medicines in its historical record. Herbs have been an integral part in the development of modern civilization. No doubt, these plants of therapeutic and medicinal value have won the faith of people all over the world (Acharya and Shrivastava, 2008, 2011).
Our organization “Abhumka Herbal Private Limited” is deeply engrossed in formulizing the indigenous knowledge after validation and value addition of potential herbal practices of tribals – the real power house of traditional herbal knowledge. Documentation of traditional knowledge of tribals will serve as a raw material for R & D and eventually for product development. It is the right time when we seriously act to protect and safeguard the indigenous knowledge of tribal herbal healers. An extensive validation and value addition to the herbal knowledge is highly needed so that we can bring indigenous knowledge based products in the market.
Acharya, D. and Shrivastava, A. 2008. Indigenous Herbal Medicines: Tribal Formulations and Traditional Herbal Practices. Aavishkar Publishers Distributors, Jaipur. ISBN 978-81-7910-252-7.
Acharya, D, Shrivastava, A. 2011. Ethnomedicinal Plants of Gujarat State. Forest Department, Gujarat, Gandhinagar. ISBN 8190311484. 412pp.