Traditional medicines of Gonds and Bharias - 15 - Herbal medicine for Skin diseases and Allergy

Gond and Bharias are main inhabitants in the forests of Chhindwara. Ths series of article deals with the herbal treatments of tribals of central India.

Tribals of Patalkot in Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh (India) still perform traditional practices for curing their ailments. They are having vast knowledge in curing their disorders.

Gond and Bharias are main inhabitants in the forests of Chhindwara. Ths series of article deals with the herbal treatments of tribals of central India.

In each of the article, we would discuss one common traditional practice, which is been performed by tribals of central India. The current article is on herbal medicine for curing Skin diseases and Allergy. Tribals collect herbs and prepare medicine by their own. The aim of the current article is to document their knowledge and share it with the modern world. It is advised to take proper guidance from your family doctor before taking this formulation.

Combination of herbs viz., Cyperus rotundus, Tinospora cordifolia, Azadirachta indica, Terminalia chebula, Curcuma longa, Terminalia bellirica, Emblica officinalis and Centella asiatica.

Drug Preparation: Cyperus rotundus roots (1 tbsp), Tinospora cordifolia stems (2 tbsp), Azadirachta indica bark (2 tbsp), Terminalia chebula fruits (1 tbsp), Curcuma longa roots (1 tbsp), Terminalia bellirica fruits (1 tbsp), Emblica officinalis fruits (1 tbsp), Centella asiatica leaves (1 tbsp).

Dosage: About 2 teaspoon powder should be given to the patient, before meals with water.

Plant Profiles:

1. Cyperus rotundus Linn. (Nut Grass)

Sanskrit- Mustaka, musta; Hindi & Bengali- Mutha, mtha; Marathi & Gujarati- Motha; Tamil- Korai; Telugu- Tungamuste; Kannada- Tungegadde.

A pestiferous perennial weed with dark green glabrous culms, 0.5-2 ft. high, arising from a system of underground tubers. Almost ubiquitous, it is found throughout India up to an elevation of 6,000 ft (WOA. 1997).

2. Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Miers ex Hook. f. & Thoms. (Gulancha, Tinospora)

Sanskrit- Amrita, Guluchi, Jwarari; Hindi- Amrita, Giloe, Gulancha, Gulbel, Guloh, Gurcha, Jiwantika; Bengali- Golancha; Marathi & Gujarati- Gulvel; Telugu- Tippateege; Tamil- Amudem chindil; Kannada- Amrutoballi, Madhuparne, Uganiballi; Malayalam- Amrytu, Chittamritam; Oriya- Culochi.

A large, glabrous, deciduous climbing shrub found throughout tropical India, ascending to an altitude of 300m. Stems rather succulent with long filiform fleshy aerial roots from the branches. Bark grey-brown or creamy white, warty; leaves membranous, cordate with a broad sinus; flowers small, yellow or greenish yellow, appearing when the plant is leafless, in axillary and terminal racemes or racemose panicles; male flowers clustered and females usually solitary; drupes ovoid, glossy, succulent, red, pea-sized; seeds curved (WOA. 1997).

3. Azadirachta indica A. Juss. syn. Melia azadirachta Linn. (Indian Lilac, Margosa Tree, Neem Tree)

Bengali- Nim; Gujarati- Limbado; Hindi- Nim, Nimb; Kannada- Bevinamara; Malayalam- Veppa; Marathi- Limba; Oriya- Nimba; Sanskrit- Arishta, Nimba; Tamil- Vembu, Veppam; Telugu- Veepachettu, Yapachettu; Urdu- Nim

A large, evergreen tree, 12-18 m in height and 1.8-2.4 m in girth, with a straight bole and long, spreading branches forming a broad crown, commonly found throughout the greater part of India, and often cultivated. Bark grey or dark grey, rough, reddish brown inside, with numerous oblique furrows and scattered tubercles; leaves imparipinnate, alternate, 20-38 cm long: leaflets 8-19, alternate or opposite, ovate-lanceolate, oblique or sub-falcate, falcate-lanceolate, glossy, bluntly serrate; flowers white or pale-yellow, small, scented, numerous, in long, slender, very lax, axillary panicles; drupes green, turning yellow on ripening, aromatic, oblong, or ovoid-oblong, smooth, 1.3-1.8 cm long, with a single exalbuminous seed (WOA. 1997).

4. Terminalia chebula Retz.; C. B. Clarke (Fl. Br. Ind.) in part (Chebulic Myrobalan)

Hindi- Harra; Bengali- Haritaki; Marathi- Hirda; Gujarati- Hardo; Telugu- Karakkai; Tamil- Kadukkai; Oriya- Haridra; Punjabi- Har, Harar; Assamia- Silikha

A tree 15-24 m. in height and 1.5-2.4 m. in girth, with a cylindrical bole of 4-9 m., a rounded crown and spreading branches, found throughout the greater parts of India. Bark dark-brown, often longitudinally cracked, exfoliating in woody scales; leaves ovate or elliptic with a pair of large glands at the top of the petiole; flowers yellowish white, in terminal spikes; drupes ellipsoidal, obovoid or ovoid, yellow to orange-brown, sometimes tinged with red or black and hard when ripe, 3-5 cm. long, become 5-ribbed on drying; seeds hard, pale yellow (WOA. 1997).

5. Curcuma longa Linn. (Turmeric)

Sanskrit- Haridra; Hindi, Bengali, Marathi & Gujarati- Haldi, halada; Tamil-Manjal; Telugu- Pasupu, Kannada- Arishina.

A perennial herb, 2-3 ft. high with a short stem and tuffted leaves; the rhizomes, which are short and thick, constitute the turmeric of commerce. Turmeric is used both as a colouring material and as a condiment. The characteristic yellow matter, distributed throughout the plant, is especially concentrated in the rhizomes.

6. Terminalia bellirica Roxb. (Belleric Myrobalan)

Hindi-Bahera; Bengali- Bhairah; Marathi- Beheda; Telugu- Tani; Tamil- Tani; Malayalam- Thani; Oriya- Bhara, Trade- Belliric Myrobalan, Bahera.

A handsome tree, with characteristic bark, attaining a height up to 40 m. and a girth of 1.8-3.0 m., found in deciduous forests throughout the greater part of India, but not in the arid regions. Stems straight, frequently buttressed when large; leaves broadly elliptic, clustered towards the ends of branches; flowers in solitary, simple, axillary spikes; fruits globular, 1.3-2.0 cm. in diam., obscurely 5-angled (WOA, 1997).

7. Emblica officinalis Gaertn. syn. Phyllanthus emblica Linn. (Emblic Myrobalan, Indian Goosberry)

Sanskrit-Adiphala, Dhatri, Amalaka; Hindi- Amla, Amlika, Aonla; Bengali-Akla, Amlaki; Gujarat- Amali, Ambala; Telugu- Amalakamu, Usirikai; Tamil- Nelli; Kannada-Amalaka, Nelli; Malayalam- Nelli.

A small or medium-sized deciduous tree with smooth, greenish grey, exfoliating bark. Leaves feathery with small narrowly oblong, pinnately arranged leaflets. Fruits depressed globose, 1/2-1 inch in diam., fleshy and obscurely 6-lobed, containing 6 trigonous seeds. The tree is common in the mixed deciduous forests of India ascending to 4,500 ft. on the hills. It is often cultivated in gardens and homeyards. A type bearing comparatively larger fruits than the wild plant is known in cultivation (WOA. 1997).

8. Centella asiatica (Linn.) Urban syn. Hydrocotyle asiatica Linn. (Centella, Indian Pennywort)

Bengali- Thankuni, Tholkuri; Gujarati- Moti Brahmi; Hindi- Brahma-manduki, Khulakhudi, Mandookaparni; Kannada- Brahmisoppu, Vandelaga- illikiwigidda; Malayalam- Odangal, Muyalchevi; Marathi- Karinga, Karivana; Oriya- Thalkudi; Sanskrit- Mandukaparni, Mutthil; Tamil- Vallarai; Telugu- Brahmi, Saraswataku; Assamia- Manimuni.

A prostrate, faintly aromatic, stoloniferous perennial herb, up to 2m long, commonly found as a weed in crop fields and other waste placesthroughout India up to an altitude of 600 m. Stem glabrous, pink andstriated,rooting at the nodes; leaves fleshy, orbicular-reniform, crenate-dentate, base cordate and often lobed, long-petioled, smooth on the upper surface and sparsely hairy on the lower; flowers red, pink or white, in fascicled umbels; fruits oblong, dull brown, laterally compressed, pericarp hard and thickened, woody, white (WOA, 1997).


WOA. 1997. Wealth of Asia (AHEAD).

About the Authors:

Dr Deepak Acharya: He is the Director of a herbal formulation company in Ahmedabad, India. He has been documenting ethnobotanical knowledge of tribals of Central and Western India. He has written 30 research papers in National and International journals of repute. He writes popular articles for web and magazines. Meet him on his homepage or contact via email on

Ms Garima Sancheti: She is a research scholar, working in the field of Radiation and Cancer Biology from Department of Zoology (University of Rajasthan, India). She has to her credit various research papers in scientific journals as well as articles on web. Contact her on

Dr Anshu Shrivastava: He is a Botanist and PhD from BSI- Jodhpur, currently working as Research Associate in SRISTI- Ahmedabad. He can be contacted on

Dr Sanjay Pawar: He is a botanist in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. Contact him on

Comments and Discussion

Questions and AnswersHave Your Say: We welcome relevant discussions, criticism and your unique insights. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved. NOTE: We do not verify information posted in the comment section.