Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major Ailments by the Jaintia and Rongmai Naga Tribes Settled in Barak Valley - PDF

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Assam University Journal of Science & Technology : Biological and Environmental Sciences Vo!. 7 Number I 27-35,2011 ISSN Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major Ailments by the Jaintia and Rongmai
Assam University Journal of Science & Technology : Biological and Environmental Sciences Vo!. 7 Number I 27-35,2011 ISSN Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major Ailments by the Jaintia and Rongmai Naga Tribes Settled in Barak Valley Banasree Natlz -. B.K. Dutta & S. B. Paul l Microbial & Agricultural Ecology and Biodiversity conservation laboratory Department. of Ecology & Environmental Science Assam University, Silchar (Assam) 'Department of Chemistry, Assam University, Silchar (Assam), *Corresponding author Abstract This paper deals with the Eshnobotanical study of the Jaintia and Ronom.ii, '.1,yl tri es settled in Barak Valley of Assam, Th 'l1i,;;: n them revealed that, they are settled in different p.ins OJ Barak I alley since a long time and they hav-: ;.~.!,;,;;'.c [ I preserve their cultural heritage and know! dgc about the usefulness of plants and animals in their.i.r. i.i.r:.r: 'or curing ailments, From the information gother d. it tppears that the Jaintia and Rongmai '.i:;,: 'r:;'~s ,;',',:vast knowledge regarding the cure of I' IriOIlS major ailments of human beings by using the pi.m.s :».' r .iround their habitat. The major pan of the if!. rmation gathered (Ire regarding some major disc. _,_,.,:;'.?S, high blood pressure, heart ailments. piles, malaria, bone fracture, jaundice, cataract etc. S::J~,. _. '--: de that. the Jaintia :S' are practicing Jhum cultivation and their main source of income is P~ 'j ,, Rongmai Naga s are mainly pra ti ing rj:n, d settled _:,'Iiration system as they are living.t; _ - _, ',r_j\, Ke~ w ords : BarakYalley(Assam), Et' r. ::'.::.-:'3. tribe. Jhum cultivation, Rongmai '.aga ribe. Introduction Ethnot :.:.~, deals with the immediate relatic T'~- :- betwe n - ~;- an societies and plants, It has 2;:;:- reco gn is ~ 3.3 a multidisciplinary sci ;:~~ comprising -::-:.n eresting and useful aspectof plant s ie.;:;: :-~ rnportance has been realisec mainly in res - -:::.::.: edeconomic uses of plan:.: among the prim: ;: ~1:1ansocieties, Human being ha -= -::::- using various plants and animal producrs t... :::_ :1. various diseases from time immemorial. -,_ -;: -.' HO report, about 40%- ~)% population of r ; -t, -.: ~':rialised countries and -. Go of industria' :::': _.intries still utilize :-2ditionalsystem-. ;:_ ~::re(syiem, 1999). -; vver the world, ;~::-_ - 2:' r-e n an increasing '-:;:- st in scientifi.:: - interaction J. atural environrne+t. _- ' clearly visible ao.:_ng the indig :' -::_;;:c, commonly des,,;nated as tribes 0:'), Jain (1981) -, 3. c an extensive review of ethnobotani al,:_cics in India, -::.rnportance of gathering information on -;:- ~ nal plants is to initiate their proper - ientific - ;;;:.1 nt and exploition for the e onomi.:~ :: :::-~~nt of the area, Ethnobotanical studx is _~ importance in relation to rnedi inal \ it is a well established branch of kh has been given much attention,.: -:.mate to have about 16,000 species of er ==:' nts. From among them, a large _ d as traditional and folk-lore r ~1_ up~- 100, effe - fam. 0-- ~_ ~'dern medicine is considered \\ esterners and scientists are _ - _' :1 rbal drugs as it has no side- _ ' - aority of such plants are very f lndia Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major. The Tribal people have immense knowledge about the plants & plant products. But with the spread of modern education, cultural invasion and gradually growing urbanization, the traditional knowledge base system is eroding, It is feared that, due to lack of proper documentation and conservation of bio-diversity, the traditional knowledge base with them may vanish within a few more years/ generations. Like other parts of the world, the plant resourses of North-East India are declining. Many ethnobotanically important plant species wh ich were abundant ti 11a few years back, are becoming rare. Keeping the above in view, in the present work an attempt has been made to determine and inventorise the status of medicinal plants and the plants known to be having medicinal value and their uses by the Jaintia and Rongmai Naga tribes settled in Barak Valley (South Assam). About the Tribes Jaintia : According to the historians and on the basis of records avai lable the J aintias are stock of Mori-Khmer people of Indo-China. They resemble Mon-Khmer people in some basic points of language, festivities and the custom of erecting stone monoliths. Therefore, it could be said that Jaintias may have come from the south east, first to the spend id valleys of Assam and then to beautiful Meghalaya. The exact time of their migration is not known but it is assumed that the final migration might have taken place out ofthe rivalry of rei igion and culture followed by the conquest of Assam by Naraka of Mithila between AD. The Jaintias first entered into the present hills known as Jaintia Hills through the south of the river Kupli. Jaintia people ofbarak Valley in the foothills ofk&j Hills mainly came from Trangblang in Jowai district of Meghalaya about 100 years ago. Their migration seems to be mainly due to the infertility ofsoil in the jhum field, transport problem, business interaction problems etc. Therefore, due to these reasons, some of the Jaintia pepole migrated to the foothills ofbarak Valley as the area was found to be very much favourable for Jhum cultivation. Rongmai Naga : The Nagas are powerful indigenous group consisting of about 40 sub-tribes, who have for centuries inhabited the Naga hills at the trijunction of China, India and Myanmar. Their home is the meeting place of the so called brown and yellow races of Asia. The Nagas basically seems to have migrated from china through patkai hills section and settled on the way in the Naga Hills. Rongmai Nagas were first inhabited in Muklungdi. which is situated in China- Myanmar border. From Muklungdi Rongmai Nagas diverted to Mayanrnar border and Langmai to the north side. After that Rongmai's came to Barak Valley during eight century from Myanmar border. The mai n reason for th is m igration by the Rongmai people to the Barak Valley was due to the fact that they were regu larly attacked by the Kukis, who had always fought with the Rongmai people and captured their women. The Kuki naga in fact seems to have forced the Rongmais to migrate to Barak Valley. Methodology The present work is an attempt to inventorise the ethnobotanical knowledge of the Jaintia and Rongrnai Naga tribes. The information regarding the uses of medicinal plants, animals, economic plants, home garden etc.were gathered from different persons, villagers and local medicine men during the field survey to different areas inhabited by the two tribes as mentioned above in Barak Valley, South Assam. After reaching the site. the village Headman and medicine men were interviewed and the information regarding the medicinal plants use along with the voucher specimen (lain and Rao, 1976) to prepare the herbarium for record and information. the pro e - of preparation of medicine and therapeuti applications were recorded. The name of the plants have been arranged alphabetically followed by Scientific name. family. vernacular name, parts used, mode of use in a tabular form. Appropriate herbarium sheets were prepared for the identification/ confirmation of identification of the plant species collected. Confirmation of identification was don - 28- Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major.. by consulting the Botanical Survey Herbarium of Shillong and Dehradun. Result and Discussion The authors have surveyed the medicinal plants used for curing major diseases and have noted 30 medicinal plants along with their Scientific name Vernacular name, family, parts used, mode of preparation etc. These are shown in the Table 1. From the study it has been reported that, different parts of medicinal plant species are used by the Jaintia and Rongmai Naga tribes as medicine for curing diverse type of ailments. The plants collected have been traditionally used for treating the ailments by the village elders as well as medicine-men of both the tribes (Jaintia, Rongmai Naga) for different major ailments i.e diabetes, high blood pressure, heart ailments, piles, malaria, bone fracture, jaundice, cataract, goiter, diarrhoea, dog bite etc. From the study it has been recorded that, some plants are also found to be in use, among the tribals to cure some major diseases i.e the use of Terminalia arjuna, Tamarindus indica, Tinospora cardifolia, Clerodendrum sp. Eugenia cumini against heart problem, diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure. Boerrhavia diffuse & Piper be/le to cure cataract, Cissus quadrangular is, to cure bone fracture, Alocasia indica & Adhatoda vasica to cure piles, Bryophyllum pinnatum &Homalomena aromatica to cure urinary problems. present study also revealed that some of the medicinal plants collected are found to be grown in their homegardens and many of them are used as edible fruits or vegetables. Some peculiarities have also been observed about one plant, locally known as 'Bajrabaan'. People belonging to Jaintia community believe that, personsequiped with this plant can develop resistance against the attack of evil powers. Another information gathered from one Jaintia village was about the cure of fever. As reported the mode of preparation is that, the axe is made to red hot and then splashed into water and as a result the water turns warm. In this lukewarm water (kept in a big sized container) the patient (suffering from fever/bodyache) keeps his/her body submerged upto knee level and he/she gets relief of the ailments. Study also revealed that Jaintia's are mainly practicing Jhum cultivation. But their main source of income is Pan Jhum an alternative to Jhum cultivation. It is also observed that both the tribes under study have their own home gardens. So they are more or less dependent on them. Plants in the home gardens include fruit trees, timber yeilding trees, vegetable crops, bamboo species etc. The home gardens are in their immediate surroundings, through which they are able to maintain the beneficial plant biodiversity as a source of medicine and shelter. (Table: 3) From the information gathered, it appears that the Jaintia & Rongmai Naga tribes are settled in Some information regarding the use of animal Barak Valley since a long time and they have vast products as a medicine is also revealed in the knowledge about the cure of various kinds of course of the investigation. Among them, ailments of human beings, by using the plants Cockroach (Periplanta americana) and horn of growing around them in their immediate vicinity. goat (preferably black coloured) (Capra hircus) It is estimated that leaf & roots are the most to cure asthma, stomach and intestine of porcupine important plant organs used for medicinal (Manis crassicaudat) is said to cure female purposes. But the practice of herbal medicine is diseases occuring after delivery (Table :2) The on the decline among the tribal societies. Table 1 : List of medicinal Naga tribes plants used for curing major ailments by the Jaintia and Rongmai SI Scientific Name Family Vern. Name Parts used Purpose and mode of use Tribes No. 1 Mh%da vasica Nees Aconthaceae Vasak leaves Decoction of leaf juice of white variety is R/J taken orally to cure piles. 1 leaf of A. vasica is mixed well with Zingiber officinale and Allium safivum is taken with honey to cure asthma Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major. SI Scientific Name Family Vern. Name Parts used Purpose and mode of use Tribes No. 12 Allium sa/ivum L. Liliaceae Enamfuanmai Bulb Bulb is taken orally to reduce high bolld J/R Rasun pressure. Paste of the bulb is mixed with the paste of A. sepa is applied externally on the affected area to cure from cat bite. 3 Averrhoea Averrhoaceae Forchong Fruit Juice of the fruit is taken orally to cure J/R carambo/a L. jaundice. 4 Azadirachta indica A. Meliaceae Slaneem leaves leaves are boiled in water and used at the J/R Juss. time of bath 10 prevent infection from small pox and other skin diseases. 5 Bombax ceiba L. Bombacaceae Kaaha Root Root is grinded and mixed with water & kept J overnight. The juice so obtained is taken orally in empty slomach every early morning to cure white discharge. 6 Boerhaavia diffusa l. Nyctaginaceae Punarnava leaves leaf juice is used to cure cataract. J 7 Bryophyllum pinna/um Crassulaceae Patharkuchi leaves leaf is taken orally to get relief from urinary J/R (lam). Kurz. troubles and for the release of kidney stone. 8 Ca/ocacia esw/en/a (ll. Araceae Kachu Whole plant Cooked tuber is used as vegetable to cure J Schott. gaiter. Shoal is used 10 cure jaundice. 9 Ca/o/ropis procera (Air). Asclepiadaceae Akanda leaves Slightly heated leaves are used in affected R R.Br. parts of the body to gel relief from muscular pain. 10 Camellia sinensis (l). Theaceae Cha leavea Green leaves are used to reduce high blood J Kurtz. pressure. 11 Catharan/hus roseus (l). Apocynaceae Nayantara leaves Tablet is made by leaf paste and then it is R G. Don. taken orally in diabetes. 12 Centella asia/ha l. Apiaceae. Manipuri pata leaves The extracted juice of leaves are used as J aheart tonic and remedial for high blood pressure. 13 Cissus quadrangu/asis l. Vitaceae lepongriang Stem & leaves Pasle of young shoal and leaf is used in bone J fracture and as pain killer. 14 Clerodendrum Verbenaceae Pressurepata leaves leaf juice is taken orally to reduce high blood R g/andu/esum pressure. 15 Cos/us speciosus (Koen. Costaceae Jummothium Root Root juice is mixed with milk and taken orally R Ex. Retz.) Srn. against leucoria Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major.... SI Scientific Name Family Vern. Name Parts used Purpose and mode of use Tribes No. 16 tuuuma longa Roxb. Zingiberaceae Sermit Rhizome Fresh rhizome paste is apply on the painful J portion of human body or in animals is more aeffective as pain killer & bone fracture. 17 (yathula prostrate (l). BI. Amaranthaceae Dauhanpat leaves Paste of leaves is applied externally to cure J dog and cat bite. 18 Homalomena aromatica Araceae Ysopein Rhizome Rhizome juice mixed with little water is taken J Schott. to promote urination. 19 Houttuynia cordata Saururaceae Tupit Whole plant Juice of whole plant is good for proper R Thumb. urination. 20 Nyctanthes arbor/ristis L Crassulaceae Sla sewli Leaves Leaf juice is taken orally against malaria. J 21 Ocimum gratissimum L lamiaceae Lepone Leaves The leaf juice is used to cure problem of eye. J 22 I Piper betle L Piperaceae Patthai Leaves Leaf juice is used externally to cure cataract. J 123 Phyllanthus virgatus Euphorbiaceae Ratalau Seeds & Leaves Seed and leaf paste is used externally over R Frost. f throat against pain, specially for children. 24 Plumbago zeylanica Plambagenaceae Root Juice of root is taken orally to cure jaundice. J 25 Ricinus communis L Euphorbiaceae Veranda Leaves Slightly warmed leaves with mustard oil are J 1 used externally on body to get relief from muscular pain. 26 Sachrum officina rum L Poaceae Kuiar Stem Stem juice is taken against jaundice. J/R '[J Syzygium cumini (L). Myrtaceae Kalojam Fruit Ripe fruit is eaten raw to cure diabetes. J/R Skeels. 28 Tamarindus indica L Caesalpiniaceae Sapein Fruit Juice of the fruit is mixed with water and J taken orally in hypertension. Same is applied on head to reduce high blood pressure. 29 I Tinospora cardifolia Menispermaceae lapatheinket Stem Stem is cut into small pieces and added with J (Willd.) Merrs. Ex. Hk. F water and kept overnight. The juice so & Th. obtained is taken orally in empty stomach. This is good for heart. 30 Terminalia ariuna (Roxb). Combretaceae Arjun Bark Dried bark is mixed with tea or milk and J/R Wight & Arm. taken orally in diabetes. Bark is boiled and the juice so obtained is mixed with milk and is taken in heart problem. J= Jaintia R= Rorigmai Naga - 3 I - Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major... Table. 2: List of animals used as medicine by the Jaintia and Rongmai Naga Tribes. SI. No. Common name Scientific name Local name Mode of utilization Tribes 1. Cow Bos indicus L Garu Urine of cow in applied in J skin diseases. Periplanata Te\chura The whole body is inserted J 2. Cockroach Americana into banana and are eaten to cure asthma. ').J. Pheretina Kecho Earthworm mud is applied J posthuma Fn. Br. externally on the lower Earthworm abdomen to promote urination. 4. Goat (Preferably Capra hircus Kalo khasi The horn of black goat is black coloured) being turned into ashes by fire and this is mixed with honey and make tablet of it and taken twice a day to cure asthma. (Folk belief). 5. Porcupine Man is Cheda Stomach & intestine of J crassicaudat porcupine are dried & eaten raw to cure female diseases occuring after delivery. J Table 3: List of plants used as vegetable by the Jaintia and Rongmai Naga tribes SI. No. Scientific name Family Local name Mode of utilization Tribes I. Centella Apiaceae Manipuripata Leaves are used as J/R asiatica L. vegetable. 2. Homalomena Araceae Ysapein Stem is used as vegetable. J aromat ica ').J. Schott. Ipomea Convulvulaceae Kalmisak Leaves are used as J aquatica Forst. vegetable. 4. Moringa Moringaceae Sajna Fruit is used as vegetable. J/R oleifera Lam.. 5. Adhatoda Acanthaceae Vasak Leaf and flower is used as vasica Nees. vegetable. 6. Colocasia Araceae Kachu Tuber is used as vegetable J esculenta (L). Schott. R Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major l!l 3 c: % o 2 o c: 1.5 no. of plants o Fig. I : Medicinal plants used in curing major diseases by the Jaintia and Rongmai Naga Tribes Some of the major reasons for this are the rapid developmental works at the cost of natural and useful (mainly forest products) bio-diversity, increased popularity of allopath ic med icines and gradual decline of interest in the new generation for the traditional medicinal use i,e use of herbal medicine, etc. Besides, the complex chemical composition of the herbal medicine, may not get easy recognition from the scientific community. Therefore, detailed study is required to be taken up for the chemical analysis of the plants used as medicine by the tribes (i.e, Rongmai Naga, Jaintia) to detect the active ingrediants present in them. Furtherchemical studies will be taken up to prove their properties to control the ailments as recommended by the tribal medicine practitioners to prove their credibility to be used as medicine and for their commercial ization. Some studies on ethnobotany have been reported from Barak Valley in the recent past. The valuable information of ethnobotanical aspects of Reang tribes settled in Barak Valley have been known through the works of Dutta Choudhury M., (2000). Das (2006) worked on different comrnun ities of Cachar District. Dutta & Dutta (2001) reported on the medicoethnobotanical knowledge of the seven tribes settled in Barak Valley. (i,e. Dimasa, Halarn, Deb Barma, H'rnar, Jaintia, Kuki and Rongmai). Das et al., (2002) have reported 72 plant species from 42 families, used against some common ai lrnents of the tea tribes settled in the Barak Valley. Dutta & Dutta (2005) have also reported about the potential of ethnobotanical studies in North East India with special reference to Barak Valley. Das et al., (2010) have published a book on the medicinal plants of Southern Assam covering the tribes settled in the area. The present report is an addition to the knowledge on ethnobotany of Rongmai Naga and Jaintia tribes settled in Barak Valley and therefore should be useful to the concerned people at large. Acknowledgements We would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude to Jaintia and Rongmai Naga communities who have readily interacted and provided warm Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major... Plate, III ; Bomb-ax ceiba L Plail;!. I : CarharanJhu.s roseus (L.) G. Don. Pb1~IV: Piper betie L. Plate. n :Croton scabiosu,fi Bcddomc. Plate, V: B,.yvplry/{u-m pimumml (Lam.) Kurtz, -34- Medicinal Plants Used in Curing Major. hospitality to us. We would like to express our gratitude
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