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| Last Updated:: 13/01/2017

Science congress snubs tribal medicines






TIRUPATI: A few kilometres from the venue of the recently concluded 104th Indian Science Congress in Tirupati, in the Seshachalam forests, members of the Yanadi tribe were busy 'prescribing' about 50 medicinal plants for as many ailments.



For centuries, the tribals have been practicing traditional medicine, drawing the roots and herbs that they need from the Seshachalam forests in Chandragiri, about 15km away from Tirupati. The Yanadi community has cures for ailments ranging from dandruff and acne to severe intestinal ulcers and chronic diabetes. Ethnomedicine, the study of the traditional treatment methods followed by ethnic groups, is fast gaining popularity across the world with scientists taking up research to revalidate the herbs used by tribals for effective results. But at the Indian Science Congress, experts limited themselves to more the popular streams of ayurveda, siddha, unani and homoeopathy.


Ethnomedicine has gained significance in the wake of bacteria and viruses developing resistance to most known antibiotics. Many scientists believe that they will find the answer to antibiotic-resistant superbugs in the herbs used by tribals for centuries.


Researchers from the department of botany at Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, conducted ethnomedicinal studies on plants used by the Yanadi tribe of Chandragiri in Chittoor district. They found that 53 types of ailments were treated by Yanadis using 48 medicinal plants. They used leaf parts (40%), paste (33%) and oral administration (63%) to treat diseases. "The ethnobotanical database clearly indicates the high medicinal significance of claimed data of Yanadis," a researcher said. The tribe uses certain herbs to treat malaria, general fevers, asthma, and stomach ache, cure menstrual pains and scorpion bites, strengthen bones, delay ageing, fight acne and skin disorders, and as stimulants and appetizers. They also treat rheumatic pains and toothache.



Research on the local ethnomedicinal data will help in the development of novel drugs to treat emerging diseases. The Seshachalam forest is a repository of rare plant species that hold a high potential for drug researchers.








Source: The Times of India