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1.  Variation in gymnemic acid content and non-destructive harvesting of Gymnema sylvestre (Gudmar) 
Pharmacognosy Research  2010;2(5):309-312.
Background:
Madhunashini (Gymnema sylvestre R. Br.) commonly known as ‘Gudmar’ in Hindi is an important medicinal climber and extensively used in almost all Indian System of Medicine as a remedy for diabetes, rheumatism, cough, ulcer, jaundice, dyspepsia, constipation, eyes pain and also in snakebite. In India, it is found growing in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The major phytoconstituents are gymnemic acids, gudmarin and saponins.
Methods:
In the present study, Gymnema germplasm collected from various regions of Madhya Pradesh was evaluated on the basis of their morphological characteristics and gymnemic acid content. Gymnemic acid content in the leaves was estimated by HPLC. We have also standardized the non-destructive harvesting practices of Gudmar. Selective harvesting was done without harming the main plant. Only mature leaves (60%) were hand plucked in the month of October. Second harvest was done in the month of June.
Results:
Data revealed that gymnemic acid content varied between 0.96% ± 0.03 (Seoni) to 1.58% ±0.03 (Amarkantak). It was also observed that the leaves left at the time of 1st harvest during October matured in June at the time of 2nd harvest.
Conclusion:
Non destructive harvesting practice did not have any negative impact on overall development of the plant. It is evident that there is wide variation in the morphological characteristics and gymnemic acid content in G. sylvestre collected from various locations, which can be exploited for further crop improvement programmes.
doi:10.4103/0974-8490.72330
PMCID: PMC3093035  PMID: 21589758
Cultivation; Gymnema sylvestre; gymnemic acid; non-destructive harvesting
2.  Consensus of the 'Malasars' traditional aboriginal knowledge of medicinal plants in the Velliangiri holy hills, India 
There are many vanishing cultures that possess a wealth of knowledge on the medicinal utility of plants. The Malasars of Dravidian Tamils are an indigenous society occupying the forests of the Western Ghats, South India. They are known to be exceptional healers and keepers of traditional aboriginal knowledge (TAK) of the flora in the Velliangiri holy hills. In fact, their expertise is well known throughout India as evidenced by the thousands of pilgrims that go to the Velliangiri holy hills for healing every year. Our research is the first detailed study of medicinal plants in India that considers variation in TAK among informants using a quantitative consensus analysis. A total of 95 species belonging to 50 families were identified for medicinal and general health purposes. For each species the botanical name, family, local name, parts used, summary of mode of preparation, administration and curing are provided. The consensus analysis revealed a high level of agreement among the informants usage of a particular plant at a local scale. The average consensus index value of an informant was FIC > 0.71, and over 0.80 for some ailments such as respiratory and jaundice. Some of the more common problems faced by the Malasars were gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory illness, dermatological problems and simple illness such as fever, cough, cold, wounds and bites from poisonous animals. We also discovered several new ethnotaxa that have considerable medicinal utility. This study supports claims that the Malasars possess a rich TAK of medicinal plants and that many aboriginals and mainstream people (pilgrims) utilize medicinal plants of the Velliangiri holy hills. Unfortunately, the younger generation of Malasars are not embracing TAK as they tend to migrate towards lucrative jobs in more developed urban areas. Our research sheds some light on a traditional culture that believes that a healthy lifestyle is founded on a healthy environment and we suggest that TAK such as that of the Malasars may serve toward a global lifestyle of health and environmental sustainability.
doi:10.1186/1746-4269-4-8
PMCID: PMC2323365  PMID: 18371206
3.  Antimicrobial activity of some ethnomedicinal plants used by Paliyar tribe from Tamil Nadu, India 
Background
Antimicrobial activity of 18 ethnomedicinal plant extracts were evaluated against nine bacterial strains (Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Ervinia sp, Proteus vulgaris) and one fungal strain (Candida albicans). The collected ethnomedicinal plants were used in folk medicine in the treatment of skin diseases, venereal diseases, respiratory problems and nervous disorders.
Methods
Plants were collected from Palni hills of Southern Western Ghats and the ethnobotanical data were gathered from traditional healers who inhabit the study area. The hexane and methanol extracts were obtained by cold percolation method and the antimicrobial activity was found using paper disc diffusion method. All microorganisms were obtained from Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.
Results
The results indicated that out of 18 plants, 10 plants exhibited antimicrobial activity against one or more of the tested microorganisms at three different concentrations of 1.25, 2.5 and 5 mg/disc. Among the plants tested, Acalypha fruticosa, Peltophorum pterocarpum, Toddalia asiatica,Cassia auriculata, Punica granatum and Syzygium lineare were most active. The highest antifungal activity was exhibited by methanol extract of Peltophorum pterocarpum and Punica granatum against Candida albicans.
Conclusion
This study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of the some ethnomedicinal plants used in folkloric medicine. Compared to hexane extract, methanol extract showed significant activity against tested organisms. This study also showed that Toddalia asiatica, Syzygium lineare, Acalypha fruticosa and Peltophorum pterocarpum could be potential sources of new antimicrobial agents.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-6-35
PMCID: PMC1621080  PMID: 17042964
4.  EDIBLE FRUIT YIELDING PLANTS OF SHEVAROY HILLS IN TAMIL NADU 
Ancient Science of Life  1996;16(2):148-151.
The paper deals with the common edible fruit yielding plants, During the course of medicinal plant survey of shevaroy hills of Eastern ghats. Salem district, Tamil Nadu. Thirty species belonging to 23 genera and 21 families yield edible fruits. They are listed in alphabetical order followed by family, common name and Tamil names.
PMCID: PMC3331147  PMID: 22556784
5.  Ethnomedicinal and ecological status of plants in Garhwal Himalaya, India 
Background
The northern part of India harbours a great diversity of medicinal plants due to its distinct geography and ecological marginal conditions. The traditional medical systems of northern India are part of a time tested culture and honored still by people today. These traditional systems have been curing complex disease for more than 3,000 years. With rapidly growing demand for these medicinal plants, most of the plant populations have been depleted, indicating a lack of ecological knowledge among communities using the plants. Thus, an attempt was made in this study to focus on the ecological status of ethnomedicinal plants, to determine their availability in the growing sites, and to inform the communities about the sustainable exploitation of medicinal plants in the wild.
Methods
The ecological information regarding ethnomedicinal plants was collected in three different climatic regions (tropical, sub-tropical and temperate) for species composition in different forest layers. The ecological information was assessed using the quadrate sampling method. A total of 25 quadrats, 10 × 10 m were laid out at random in order to sample trees and shrubs, and 40 quadrats of 1 × 1 m for herbaceous plants. In each climatic region, three vegetation sites were selected for ecological information; the mean values of density, basal cover, and the importance value index from all sites of each region were used to interpret the final data. Ethnomedicinal uses were collected from informants of adjacent villages. About 10% of inhabitants (older, experienced men and women) were interviewed about their use of medicinal plants. A consensus analysis of medicinal plant use between the different populations was conducted.
Results
Across the different climatic regions a total of 57 species of plants were reported: 14 tree species, 10 shrub species, and 33 herb species. In the tropical and sub-tropical regions, Acacia catechu was the dominant tree while Ougeinia oojeinensis in the tropical region and Terminalia belerica in the sub-tropical region were least dominant reported. In the temperate region, Quercus leucotrichophora was the dominant tree and Pyrus pashia the least dominant tree. A total of 10 shrubs were recorded in all three regions: Adhatoda vasica was common species in the tropical and sub-tropical regions however, Rhus parviflora was common species in the sub-tropical and temperate regions. Among the 33 herbs, Sida cordifolia was dominant in the tropical and sub-tropical regions, while Barleria prionitis the least dominant in tropical and Phyllanthus amarus in the sub-tropical region. In temperate region, Vernonia anthelmintica was dominant and Imperata cylindrica least dominant. The consensus survey indicated that the inhabitants have a high level of agreement regarding the usages of single plant. The index value was high (1.0) for warts, vomiting, carminative, pain, boils and antiseptic uses, and lowest index value (0.33) was found for bronchitis.
Conclusion
The medicinal plants treated various ailments. These included diarrhea, dysentery, bronchitis, menstrual disorders, gonorrhea, pulmonary affections, migraines, leprosy. The ecological studies showed that the tree density and total basal cover increased from the tropical region to sub-tropical and temperate regions. The species composition changed with climatic conditions. Among the localities used for data collection in each climatic region, many had very poor vegetation cover. The herbaceous layer decreased with increasing altitude, which might be an indication that communities at higher elevations were harvesting more herbaceous medicinal plants, due to the lack of basic health care facilities. Therefore, special attention needs to be given to the conservation of medicinal plants in order to ensure their long-term availability to the local inhabitants. Data on the use of individual species of medicinal plants is needed to provide an in-depth assessment of the plants availability in order to design conservation strategies to protect individual species.
doi:10.1186/1746-4269-7-32
PMCID: PMC3212913  PMID: 22011477
6.  Ethnobotanical investigations among tribes in Madurai District of Tamil Nadu (India) 
Background
An ethnobotanical survey was carried out to collect information on the use of medicinal plants in Southern Western Ghats of India (Madurai district, Tamil Nadu). Information presented in this paper was gathered from the paliyar tribes using an integrated approach of botanical collections, group discussions and interviews with questionnaires in the years 1998 – 1999. The informants interviewed were 12 among whom 4 were tribal practitioners.
Results
A total of 60 ethnomedicinal plant species distributed in 32 families are documented in this study. The medicinal plants used by paliyars are listed with Latin name, family, local name, parts used, mode of preparation and medicinal uses. Generally, fresh part of the plant was used for the preparation of medicine.
Conclusion
We observed that the documented ethnomedicinal plants were mostly used to cure skin diseases, poison bites, stomachache and nervous disorders. The results of this study showed that these tribal people still depend on medicinal plants in Madurai district forest areas.
doi:10.1186/1746-4269-2-25
PMCID: PMC1475842  PMID: 16689985
7.  A database on endemic plants at Tirumala hills in India 
Bioinformation  2008;2(6):260-262.
Medicinal plants play an important role in health care. The use of medicinal plants for treatment is growing in view of cost and non-compliance of modern medicine as in case of non-communicable diseases. Plants such as Boswellia, ovalifoliolata, Cycas beddomei, Pimpinella tirupatiensis, Pterocarpus santalinus, Shorea thumbuggaia, Syzygium alternifolium, Terminalia pallida are endemic to Tirumala hills of seshachalam range falling under the Eastern Ghats of India. These plants species have medicinal properties such as anti-tumorogenic, anti-microbial, purgative, hypoglycemic, abortificient, analgesic, anti-septic, anti-pyretic and anti-inflammatory. We created a database named DEPTH in an attempt to communicate data of these plants to the scientific community. DEPTH contains data on scientific name, vernacular name, family name, morphological description, economic importance, known medicinal compounds and medicinal importance.
Availability
http://svimstpt.ap.nic.in/MedicinalPlants/mainpage.htm
PMCID: PMC2258430  PMID: 18317578
Tirumala hills; endemic plants; economic importance; medicinal importance
8.  Evaluation of antiplasmodial activity of medicinal plants from North Indian Buchpora and South Indian Eastern Ghats 
Malaria Journal  2015;14:65.
Background
Development of resistance against the frontline anti-malarial drugs has created an alarming situation, which requires intensive drug discovery to develop new, more effective, affordable and accessible anti-malarial agents.
Methods
Inspired by their ethnobotanical reputation for being effective against febrile diseases, antiplasmodial potential of ethyl acetate extracts (EAE) and methanol extracts (ME) of 17 medicinal plants collected from the Eastern Ghats of South India and Buchpora, North India were explored against Plasmodium falciparum in vitro using the SYBR Green assay. The results were validated both by confirmation that the fall in fluorescence signal was not due to quenching effects mediated by phytochemical extracts and by Giemsa-stained microscopy.
Results
Using EAE or ME, promising antiplasmodial activity (IC50Pf3D7 ≤ 20 μg/ml), was seen in Aerva lanata (Whole aerial parts-EAE), Anisomeles malabarica (Leaf-EAE), Anogeissus latifolia (bark-EAE), Cassia alata (leaves-EAE), Glycyrrhiza glabra (root-EAE), Juglans regia (seed-ME), Psidium guajava (leaf-ME and EAE) and Solanum xanthocarpum (Whole aerial parts-EAE). EAEs from leaves of Couroupita guianensis, Euphorbia hirta, Pergularia daemia, Tinospora cordifolia and Tridax procumbens as also ME from Ricinus communis (leaf and seed) showed good antiplasmodial activity (Pf 3D7 IC50 21 - 40 μg/ml). Moderate activity (Pf 3D7 IC50: 40–60 μg/mL) was shown by the leaf EAEs of Cardiospermum halicacabum, Indigofera tinctoria and Ricinus communis while the remaining extracts showed marginal (Pf 3D7 IC50 60 to >100 μg/ml) activities. The promising extracts showed good resistance indices (0.41 – 1.4) against the chloroquine resistant INDO strain of P. falciparum and good selectivity indices (3 to > 22.2) when tested against the HeLa cell line.
Conclusion
These results provide validity to the traditional medicinal usage of some of these plants and further make a case for activity-guided purification of new pharmacophores against malaria.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12936-015-0564-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12936-015-0564-z
PMCID: PMC4340493  PMID: 25879738
9.  Ethnobotanical study of plants used in management of livestock health problems by Afar people of Ada’ar District, Afar Regional State, Ethiopia 
Background
The great majority of the Afar people of Ethiopia are pastoralists, highly dependent on livestock and livestock products. Livestock productivity is, however, frequently affected by different diseases. Although many districts in the Region have veterinary clinics, they lack basic facilities. As a result, the Afar people are still dependent on local materials, mainly plants, and traditional knowledge to manage livestock health problems. However, there is a serious threat to such local resources mainly due to recurrent drought and influence of modernization. Hence there is a need for proper documentation and evaluation of the existing ethnoveterinary knowledge in the Region. This study was aimed at documenting and analysing ethnoveterinary knowledge of people in Ada’ar District of the Afar Region associated with the use of plants.
Methods
The study involved interviewing selected knowledgeable Afar people in Ada’ar District on the use of plants to manage livestock ailments. Fidelity Level (FL) values were calculated for the reported medicinal plant to estimate their healing potentials. Specimens of reported medicinal plant were collected, identified and deposited at the National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University.
Results
The study revealed 49 medicinal plants as being used by the Afar people of Ada’ar District for the treatment of various livestock ailments, the majority of which (67.3%) were shrubs. Highest number of medicinal plants was used to treat blackleg, contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), sudden sickness and pneumonia. Leaf was the most frequently sought plant part, accounting for 47% of the reported plants. All the medicnal plants used in the District were uncultivated ones growing in semi-disturbed and disturbed habitats as remnant plants and weeds. Cissus quadrangularis and Solanum incanum were the plants scoring the highest fidelity level values for their use to treat blackleg and respiratory tract problems, respectively.
Conclusion
The study revealed that there is still rich knowledge of ethnoveterinary medicine in Ada’ar District. There was no habit of cultivating medicinal plants by people in the study area. Efforts, should, therefore, be made to protect these medicinal plants from further depletion, especially those that are scarcely availabale. Better attention should be given to medicinal plants with the highest fidelity level values as such values could indicate potencies of the plants.
doi:10.1186/1746-4269-9-8
PMCID: PMC3561197  PMID: 23343251
Medicinal plants; Ethnoveterinary practices; Afar; Ada’ar District; Ethiopia
10.  Molecular Characterization of Geographically Different Banana bunchy top virus Isolates in India 
Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) caused by Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) is one of the most devastating diseases of banana and poses a serious threat for cultivars like Hill Banana (Syn: Virupakshi) and Grand Naine in India. In this study, we have cloned and sequenced the complete genome comprised of six DNA components of BBTV infecting Hill Banana grown in lower Pulney hills, Tamil Nadu State, India. The complete genome sequence of this hill banana isolate showed high degree of similarity with the corresponding sequences of BBTV isolates originating from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh State, India, and from Fiji, Egypt, Pakistan, and Australia. In addition, sixteen coat protein (CP) and thirteen replicase genes (Rep) sequences of BBTV isolates collected from different banana growing states of India were cloned and sequenced. The replicase sequences of 13 isolates showed high degree of similarity with that of South Pacific group of BBTV isolates. However, the CP gene of BBTV isolates from Shervroy and Kodaikanal hills of Tamil Nadu showed higher amino acid sequence variability compared to other isolates. Another hill banana isolate from Meghalaya state had 23 nucleotide substitutions in the CP gene but the amino acid sequence was conserved. This is the first report of the characterization of a complete genome of BBTV occurring in the high altitudes of India. Our study revealed that the Indian BBTV isolates with distinct geographical origins belongs to the South Pacific group, except Shervroy and Kodaikanal hill isolates which neither belong to the South Pacific nor the Asian group.
doi:10.1007/s13337-010-0020-1
PMCID: PMC3550710  PMID: 23637489
Banana bunchy top virus; Babuvirus; Nanoviridae; South Pacific; PCR; Hill Banana
11.  MACROPROPAGATION OF THE INDIAN MEDICINAL PLANT Premna tomentosa Willd 
Ancient Science of Life  2004;23(3):34-36.
Premna tomentosa Willd is a moderate sized deciduous tree of apparently more economic and medicinal values. It is not commonly seen to be used by the medicinemen of Tamil Nadu now-a–days. The plant has been located in the plains and hills of Tamil Nadu, with the help of its varied vernacular names. It is in excessive biotic disturbance. It has been found to be in reproductive isolation, Hence, macropropagation of this plant has been contemplated and tried successfully for the first time. The results are reported.
PMCID: PMC3330966  PMID: 22557130
12.  FOLK-LORE MEDICINES FOR JAUNDICE FROM COIMBATORE AND PALGHAT DISTRICTS OF TAMIL NADU AND KERALA, INDIA 
Ancient Science of Life  1988;7(3-4):175-179.
Ethno-botanical explorations with regard to the folk-lore medicine in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu and Palghat district of Kerala for jaundice was carried out. Out of twenty remedies thus gathered two are found to be new reports and a few others have got interesting combination. The specimens are identified at Botanical Survey of India, Coimbatore and deposited in the Herbarium of Ethnobiology department of International Institute of Ayurveda, Coimbatore. Two newly reported plants for Jaundice namely Alysicarpus vaginalis DC. and Justicia tranquebariensis L. f, have been taken for phytochemical screening and pharmacological studies. The botanical name of the plant, local name, Sanskrit name and the part of the plant employed are given in table I.
PMCID: PMC3336636  PMID: 22557611
13.  Medicinal plants potential and use by pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Erer Valley of Babile Wereda, Eastern Ethiopia 
Background
Ethiopian plants have shown remarkably effective medicinal values for many human and livestock ailments. Some research results are found on medicinal plants of the south, south west, central, north and north western parts of Ethiopia. However, there is lack of data that quantitatively assesses the resource potential and the indigenous knowledge on use and management of medicinal plants in eastern Ethiopia. The main thrust of the present ethnobotanical study centres around the potential and use of traditional medicinal plants by pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Babile Wereda (district) of eastern Ethiopia. The results can be used for setting up of conservation priorities, preservation of local biocultural knowledge with sustainable use and development of the resource.
Materials and methods
Fifty systematically selected informants including fifteen traditional herbalists (as key informants) participated in the study. Semi-structured interviews, discussions and guided field walk constituted the main data collection methods. Techniques of preference ranking, factor of informant consensus and Spearman rank correlation test were employed in data analysis. Medicinal plant specimens were collected, identified and kept at the National Herbarium (ETH) of Addis Ababa University and Haramaya University Herbarium.
Results
Fifty-one traditional medicinal plant species in 39 genera and 28 families were recorded, constituting 37% shrubs, 29% trees, 26% herbs, 6% climbers and 2% root parasites. Leaves contributed to 35.3% of the preparations, roots (18.8%) and lower proportions for other parts. Formulations recorded added to 133 remedies for 54 human ailments, in addition to some used in vector control. The majority of remedies were the juice of single species, mixtures being generally infrequent. Aloe pirottae, Azadirachta indica and Hydnora johannis were the most cited and preferred species. Aloe pirottae, a species endemic to Ethiopia, is valued as a remedy for malaria, tropical ulcer, gastro-intestinal parasites, gallstone, eye diseases and snake bite. The jel extracted from dried and ground plant material, called SIBRI (Oromo language), was acclaimed as a cleaner of the human colon. Concoction made from leaf, seed and flower of Azadirachta indica was given for treatment of malaria, fungal infections and intestinal worms. Root preparations from Hydnora johannis were prescribed as remedy for diarrhoea, haemorrhage, wound and painful body swelling, locally called GOFLA (Oromo language).
Conclusions
The study documented many well known and effective medicinal species of relevance for human healthcare, including for the treatment of malaria which is rampant in the area as it is in many parts of Ethiopia. This underscores the importance of the traditional medicinal plants for the people living in the area and the potential of the resource for development. Consequently, the study area deserves urgent conservation priority coupled with mechanisms for the protection of the associated indigenous medical lore as well as development and effective use of the medicinal plant resource.
doi:10.1186/1746-4269-8-42
PMCID: PMC3549935  PMID: 23082858
Babile; Erer Valley; Ethnomedicinal plants; Pastoralists; Agro-pastoralists; Eastern Ethiopia
14.  Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Caddisflies in Streams of Southern Western Ghats 
The dynamics of physico-chemical factors and their effects on caddisfly communities were examined in 29 streams of southern Western Ghats. Monthly samples were collected from the Thadaganachiamman stream of Sirumalai Hills, Tamil Nadu from May 2006 to April 2007. Southwest and northeast monsoons favored the existence of caddisfly population in streams. A total of 20 caddisfly taxa were collected from 29 streams of southern Western Ghats. Hydropsyche (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae) were more widely distributed throughout sampling sites than were the other taxa. Canonical correspondence analysis showed that elevation was a major variable and pH, stream order, and stream substrates were minor variables affecting taxa richness. These results suggested that habitat heterogeneity and seasonal changes were stronger predictors of caddisfly assemblages than large-scale patterns in landscape diversity.
doi:10.1673/031.010.4601
PMCID: PMC3014773  PMID: 20572787
diversity; habitat; seasonality
15.  Pharmacognostical study of Tamalaki (Phyllanthus fraternus Webster), a herb used in Tamaka-svasa 
Ayu  2011;32(3):398-401.
Tamalaki is a herbacious medicinal plant, described in Ayurvedic texts in many occurrences with different properties, actions, uses and synonyms, supposed to indicate more than one species commonly used in practice. Modern scholars mostly suggest Phyllanthus fraternus Webster (syn. P. niruri Linn.), P. amarus Schum. and Thonn. and P. urinaria Linn. as the source plants of Tamalaki. In this study, an attempt has been made to designate P. fraternus as the source plant of Tamalaki used in the treatment of Tamaka-svasa (Bronchial asthma) and other respiratory disorders by analyzing therapeutic uses, actions, properties, taste, synonyms as well as pharmacognostical characters. Smooth capsule, six tepals, less and short fibrous root, pentagonal outline with wing-shaped young stem are some of the specific characters observed in this species.
doi:10.4103/0974-8520.93924
PMCID: PMC3326891  PMID: 22529659
Ayurveda; pharmacognosy; phyllanthus; synonyms; tamalaki
16.  Indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants used by Saperas community of Khetawas, Jhajjar District, Haryana, India 
Background
Plants have traditionally been used as a source of medicine in India by indigenous people of different ethnic groups inhabiting various terrains for the control of various ailments afflicting human and their domestic animals. The indigenous community of snake charmers belongs to the 'Nath' community in India have played important role of healers in treating snake bite victims. Snake charmers also sell herbal remedies for common ailments. In the present paper an attempt has been made to document on ethno botanical survey and traditional medicines used by snake charmers of village Khetawas located in district Jhajjar of Haryana, India as the little work has been made in the past to document the knowledge from this community.
Methods
Ethno botanical data and traditional uses of plants information was obtained by semi structured oral interviews from experienced rural folk, traditional herbal medicine practitioners of the 'Nath' community. A total of 42 selected inhabitants were interviewed, 41 were male and only one woman. The age of the healers was between 25 years and 75 years. The plant specimens were identified according to different references concerning the medicinal plants of Haryana and adjoining areas and further confirmation from Forest Research Institute, Dehradun.
Results
The present study revealed that the people of the snake charmer community used 57 medicinal plants species that belonged to 51 genera and 35 families for the treatment of various diseases. The study has brought to light that the main diseases treated by this community was snakebite in which 19 different types of medicinal plants belongs to 13 families were used. Significantly higher number of medicinal plants was claimed by men as compared to women. The highest numbers of medicinal plants for traditional uses utilized by this community were belonging to family Fabaceae.
Conclusion
This community carries a vast knowledge of medicinal plants but as snake charming is banned in India as part of efforts to protect India's steadily depleting wildlife, this knowledge is also rapidly disappearing in this community. Such type of ethno botanical studies will help in systematic documentation of ethno botanical knowledge and availing to the scientific world plant therapies used as antivenin by the Saperas community.
doi:10.1186/1746-4269-6-4
PMCID: PMC2826346  PMID: 20109179
17.  Ethnomedicinal survey of various communities residing in Garo Hills of Durgapur, Bangladesh 
Background
Garo Hills represents one of earliest human habitation in Bangladesh preserving its ancient cultures due to the geographic location. It is situated in the most northern part of Durgapur sub-district having border with Meghalaya of India. Durgapur is rich in ethnic diversity with Garo and Hajong as the major ethnic groups along with Bangalee settlers from the mainstream population. Thus the ethnomedicinal practice in Garo Hills is considered rich as it encompasses three different groups. Present survey was undertaken to compile the medicinal plant usage among the various communities of the Garo Hills.
Methods
The ethnomedicinal data was collected through open and focussed group discussions, and personal interviews using semi-structured questionnaire. A total of 185 people were interviewed, including the three community people and their traditional health practitioners (THPs). The usage of the plants were further analysed and are presented as use value (UV), informant consensus factor (ICF) and fidelity level (FL).
Results
A total of 71 plants from 46 families and 64 genera were documented during our survey. Gastrointestinal disorders represented the major ailment category with the use of 36 plant species followed by dermatological problems (25 species). The ICF ranged from 0.90 to 0.99, with an average value of 0.96. Leaves (41) were the principle source of medication followed by fruits (27). Trees (33) were the major plant type used in the ethnobotanical practice. A total of 25 plants showed high FL (70.91 to 100 %) with 12 plants showing maximum FL (100 %). A number of the plants appear to have unique ethnomedicinal uses.
Conclusion
Present investigation revealed a rich traditional practice in the studied region, which provides primary health care to the local community. This compilation of the ethnobotanical knowledge can help researchers to identify the uses of various medicinal plants that have a long history of use.
doi:10.1186/s13002-015-0033-3
PMCID: PMC4488057  PMID: 26025456
Garo hills; Tribal people; Use value; Informant consensus factor; Fidelity level
18.  Genetic variation in South Indian castes: evidence from Y-chromosome, mitochondrial, and autosomal polymorphisms 
BMC Genetics  2008;9:86.
Background
Major population movements, social structure, and caste endogamy have influenced the genetic structure of Indian populations. An understanding of these influences is increasingly important as gene mapping and case-control studies are initiated in South Indian populations.
Results
We report new data on 155 individuals from four Tamil caste populations of South India and perform comparative analyses with caste populations from the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh. Genetic differentiation among Tamil castes is low (RST = 0.96% for 45 autosomal short tandem repeat (STR) markers), reflecting a largely common origin. Nonetheless, caste- and continent-specific patterns are evident. For 32 lineage-defining Y-chromosome SNPs, Tamil castes show higher affinity to Europeans than to eastern Asians, and genetic distance estimates to the Europeans are ordered by caste rank. For 32 lineage-defining mitochondrial SNPs and hypervariable sequence (HVS) 1, Tamil castes have higher affinity to eastern Asians than to Europeans. For 45 autosomal STRs, upper and middle rank castes show higher affinity to Europeans than do lower rank castes from either Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh. Local between-caste variation (Tamil Nadu RST = 0.96%, Andhra Pradesh RST = 0.77%) exceeds the estimate of variation between these geographically separated groups (RST = 0.12%). Low, but statistically significant, correlations between caste rank distance and genetic distance are demonstrated for Tamil castes using Y-chromosome, mtDNA, and autosomal data.
Conclusion
Genetic data from Y-chromosome, mtDNA, and autosomal STRs are in accord with historical accounts of northwest to southeast population movements in India. The influence of ancient and historical population movements and caste social structure can be detected and replicated in South Indian caste populations from two different geographic regions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-9-86
PMCID: PMC2621241  PMID: 19077280
19.  A pharmacological appraisal of medicinal plants with antidiabetic potential 
Diabetes mellitus is a complicated metabolic disorder that has gravely troubled the human health and quality of life. Conventional agents are being used to control diabetes along with lifestyle management. However, they are not entirely effective and no one has ever been reported to have fully recovered from diabetes. Numerous medicinal plants have been used for the management of diabetes mellitus in various traditional systems of medicine worldwide as they are a great source of biological constituents and many of them are known to be effective against diabetes. Medicinal plants with antihyperglycemic activities are being more desired, owing to lesser side-effects and low cost. This review focuses on the various plants that have been reported to be effective in diabetes. A record of various medicinal plants with their established antidiabetic and other health benefits has been reported. These include Allium sativa, Eugenia jambolana, Panax ginseng, Gymnema sylvestre, Momrodica charantia, Ocimum sanctum, Phyllanthus amarus, Pterocarpus marsupium, Trigonella foenum graecum and Tinospora cordifolia. All of them have shown a certain degree of antidiabetic activity by different mechanisms of action.
doi:10.4103/0975-7406.92727
PMCID: PMC3283954  PMID: 22368396
Antioxidant; diabetes mellitus; hypoglycemic; medicinal plants
20.  Dental Caries and the Associated Factors Influencing It in Tribal, Suburban and Urban School Children of Tamil Nadu, India: A Cross Sectional Study 
Background
The study was planned to assess the prevalence of dental caries among tribal, suburban and urban children of Tiruchengode and Erode of Tamil Nadu state, India. The objective of the study was to assess the association of dental caries with family background, dental service availability, transportation and knowledge on preventive dental measures among these three groups
Design and methods
Cross-sectional study. A total of 1028 school children in the age range of 9-12 years from various government schools located in Palamalai and Kolli Hills (tribal), Tiruchengode (suburban) and Erode (urban), Tamil Nadu, were included in the study. Decayed, filled, and missing teeth (DMFT), decayed and filled teeth (dft) and Significant Caries Index were recorded. A specially prepared questionnaire was used to record all the data regarding oral hygiene practices, socioeconomic background, dental treatment availability, parent’s education level were used for the study. ANOVA t-test and post hoc test were used for comparing quantitative variables between the 3 subgroups.
Results
The tribal school children had 89.3% caries prevalence, where as it was 77% in suburban and 55% in urban school children. The mean DMFT score among tribal, suburban and urban school children were statistically significant different (P=0.001) between the three groups. There was a highly significant difference (P=0.001) in the mean DMFT score based on brushing frequency. There was a statistically significant difference (P=0.018) in the mean DMFT scores in the urban group based on the mothers education status. There were no statistically significant differences in the mean DMFT scores based on the presence or absence of television in their house and the parents’ income.
Conclusions
Oral hygiene practices, dietary habits and access to dental care services played an important role in prevalence of dental caries. It was observed that the socioeconomic status, parents’ educational status and mass media influenced the oral health of these children but without a significant contribution.
Significance for public healthIt was observed from the present study that the socioeconomic status, parents’ educational status, media and family structure influence the oral health of children in under-privileged communities. Oral hygiene practices, dietary habits and access to dental care services also play an important role in the prevalence of dental caries among children. Children of government schools in Tamil Nadu, India, don’t get adequate information on oral health, related diseases and methods of prevention. Oral health education and health promotion should be mandatory for all school children.
doi:10.4081/jphr.2015.361
PMCID: PMC4407035  PMID: 25918690
dental caries; tribal children; factors influencing dental caries. Acknowledgements: the authors wish to thank all the children who willingly participated in this study
21.  Ethno- medico - botanical studies of Badaga population In the Nilgiri district of Tamilnadu, South India 
Ancient Science of Life  2008;27(3):50-59.
The study grains to explore ethno-medicobotany of Badaga population in the Nilgiri hills of Tamilnadu, South India. Ethno botanical field survey and personal discussion methods have been adopted in the collection of data. A list of 71 flowering plants belonging to 42 families, 67 genera and 70 species are employed by the Badaga popu-lation in their native system of medicine for therapeutic purposes. In reviewing ethnomedical information, data on folk herbal remedies and their various methods of applications for treating a wide range of ailments have been furnished. A brief description of plants, their habitat, family and local Badaga names are outlined here.
PMCID: PMC3330860  PMID: 22557279
Ethnomedicobotany; Badaga population; Nilgiri hills of Tamilnadu; South India
22.  Ethnomedicinal Plants and Their Utilization by Villagers in Kumaragiri Hills of Salem District of Tamilnadu, India 
The present investigation deals with the ethnomedicinal plants of Kumaragiri Hills of Salem district, Tamilnadu. The indigenous knowledge of the village dwellers, the herbal medicine practitioners and other traditional healers and the native plants used for medicinal value were collected through questionnaire and personal interviewed during field trips. The study revealed some unknown medical uses of medicinal plants. The scientific name, family, vernacular name (Tamil), part used and traditional practice of 80 species, 65 genera and families are discussed here for the treatment of various ailments. The dicotyledons are represented by 73 species of 58 genera and 37 families while monocotyledons are represented by 7 species of 7 genera and 4 families. 91.25% dicotyledons and :8.75% monocotyledons were encountered.
PMCID: PMC2816461  PMID: 20448846
Ethnomedicinal plants; Kumaragiri Hills; Traditional practice; Salem
23.  Profile of Diseases Prevalent in a Tribal Locality in Jharkhand, India: A Family Medicine Practitioner's Perspective 
Background:
Majority of Indian population is dependent on general practitioners (GPs) for medical services at primary care level in India. They are most preferred and considered to be first contact person for medical services at primary care level. But advances in medical science has put more emphasis on specialist culture and average Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) graduates who are working as general physician are gradually feeling themselves less competent because they are less exposed to latest advances in treatment of diseases. Amidst such scenario, Christian Medical College (CMC) has come up with an idea: “The refer less and resolve more initiative”. It has started a decentralized 2-year family medicine distance diploma course (Postgraduate Diploma in Family Medicine (PGDFM)) now accredited by Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, that trains the GPs to become family medicine specialist.
Materials and Methods:
As component of PGDFM course, this study was conducted to provide better understanding of prevalent ailments and common treatment provided by the GPs in the community at present giving key insight of current practice in rural area by a registered family medicine practitioner.
Results:
As part of study, among 500 patients evaluated, three most common diagnosis were upper respiratory infections (URIs; 18%), acute gastroenteritis including water-borne diseases (15.8%), and anemia (10.4%). Treatment given to these patients comprised of mostly of antipyretic, analgesic, and antimicrobial agents. Most common drug prescribed was paracetamol for fever. Other common drugs prescribed were amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, chloroquine, artemisin derivative, doxycycline, co-trimoxazole, miltefosine, cephalexin, ceftriaxone sodium, cefixime, oral rehydration salts, ranitidine, omeprazole, pantoprazole, metronidazole, albendazole, ondansetron, diclofenac sodium, piroxicam, ibuprofen, diphenhydramine, codeine-sulfate, amlodipine, ramipril, hydrochlorothiazide, atenolol, salbutamol, etophyline, metformin, glimepiride, fluoxetine, flavoxate, tamsulosin, iron-folic acid, etc. The fact that three or more drugs are given in most of the prescriptions, can be justified due to multiple morbidity and the severity of disease than to irresponsible prescribing.
doi:10.4103/2249-4863.152266
PMCID: PMC4366980  PMID: 25811000
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery; below poverty line; Christian Medical College Vellore; General Practitioner; Post Graduate Diploma in Family Medicine
24.  HITHERTO UNREPORTED MEDICINAL USES OF PLANTS FROM KOLLI HILLS 
Ancient Science of Life  1994;13(3-4):259-260.
The unreported medicinal uses of these plants from kolli hills, Salem District of Tamil Nadu are presented in this paper.
PMCID: PMC3336523  PMID: 22556657
25.  Mechanism of antibacterial action of the alcoholic extracts of Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R. Br. ex Schult, Leucas aspera (Wild.), Plumbago zeylanica L., and Tridax procumbens (L.) R. Br. ex Schult 
Herbal products derived from Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R. Br. ex Schult, Leucas aspera (Wild.), Plumbago zeylanica L., and Tridax procumbens (L.) R. Br. ex Schult. are widely used in traditional medicine. Though the extracts of these plants were found to be antimicrobial in nature and have the potential to be used in clinics, the mechanism of action of is not reported. The ethanolic extracts of Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R. Br. ex Schult, Hemidesmus indicus ethanolic extract (HIEE), Leucas aspera (Wild.), Leucas aspera ethanolic extract (LAEE), Plumbago zeylanica L., Plumbago zeylanica ethanolic extract (PZEE), and Tridax procumbens (L.) R. Br. ex Schult, Tridax procumbens ethanolic extract (TPEE) were tested for their antibacterial activity against E. coli. Antibacterial activity was analyzed by CFU assay and the effect on the bacterial membrane by fluorescence activated cell sorting and scanning electron microscopy. LAEE, PZEE, and HIEE displayed potent bacterial killing activity in a time and concentration dependent manner. TPEE did not display appreciable antibacterial activity. The antibacterial action involved disruption of membrane potential, inner membrane permeabilization, blebbing and leakage of cellular contents. Our results contribute to the understanding of the antibacterial mechanism of alcoholic extracts of the medicinal plants used in this study.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00577
PMCID: PMC4460426  PMID: 26106379
herbal products; antibacterial activity; membrane permeabilization; flow cytometry

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