Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Monday, September 25, 2023

New plants species with healing properties found in Manipur





Scientists have identified new plants species in Manipur, whose medicinal or pharmacology properties were not known yet. The research team from North Eastern Regional Institute of Sciences and Technology, Arunachal Pradesh, interviewed 27 healers of the Zeliangrong ethnic group — an indigenous tribal group in the state, known for its medicinal knowledge.  



They collected details of medicinal plants used as well as the technique of medicine preparation. Subsequently, a specific survey was carried out to collect plant specimens for identification and documentation. 



The researchers documented 145 medicinal plants that the healers use for treating 59 ailments. They also found that the ethnic group used more than 40 species for treating more than one ailment. Scientists identified plants like Gynura cusimbua, Hedyotis scandens, Mussaenda glabra and Schima wallichii whose medicinal usage are reported for the first time and its pharmacological properties are not explored so far. The study was published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.



In most cases, native healers were found using leaves as a primary ingredient in their formulation, owing to the year-round availability. Additionally, they practice some uncommon methods such as using of guava leaves along with other medicinal plants for treating cold and fever.



The team also documented that ethnic people mostly suffered from digestive disorders, hypertension and body weakness. Therefore, the healers give the medicine either orally via decoction or topical application.



Healers of this tribal group were also found using some rare and vulnerable species like Piper arunachalensis without being aware of the status of these plants. In addition, the absence of standardised measuring units and side effects related to inappropriate dosages are some of the few criticisms on traditional medicinal systems.



However, “the absence of standardised measuring units and side effects from inappropriate dosages of traditional medicines can be mitigated by conducting an awareness programme on medicinal plants”, Robert Panmei, the lead author, was quoted as saying. The study was done with the consent of the community, as per the code of ethics of the International Society of Ethnobiology. (India Science Wire)