The Patalkot valley in Satpuda plateau is abode of Gonds and Bharias tribes. During summer season, temperature of this region reaches up to 45 degrees Celsius.
Due to its phytogeographic location, warm streams of air flows during all the day and even till late nights. These are known locally as "Loo' which is also a great reason of unusual deaths. Tribals make many preparations and consume it to combat Loo. The knowledge about these soft drinks is age old among these tribes. Authors have extensively documented hundreds of herbal practices performed by Bhumkas. In this article, authors report some soft drinks prepared from locally available plants, which are effectively used by these tribals to cure heat stroke, sun stroke and Loo.
1. Combination of herbs viz., Mangifera indica, Mentha spicata, Citrus limon, Zingiber officinale and Coriandrum sativum.
Preparation: Boil Mangifera indica raw fruits (250 g) for 15-20 minutes and mash the pulp in 250 ml cold water. Add fresh Mentha spicata juice (1 tbsp), Citrus limon fruit juice (2 tbsp), Zingiber officinale rhizome powder (1 tbsp), Coriandrum sativum leaf juice (1 tbsp), Sugar (2 tbsp) and Black salt (1/2 tbsp) into this soft drink.
Dosage: One glass of this preparation should be taken preferably with lunch.
2. Combination of herbs viz., Aegle marmelos and Citrus limon.
Preparation: Take fresh Aegle marmelos fruit pulp (250 g) and mash it by mixing 500 ml water. Sieve the mixture and add Citrus limon fruit juice (2 tbsp), some sugar and Black salt for taste.
Dosage: One glass of this preparation should be taken morning or evening time.
3. Combination of herbs viz., Citrullus lanatus, Mentha spicata and Citrus limon.
Preparation: Fresh Citrullus lanatus fruit (500 g) are taken and pulp is mashed after removing mature blackish-brown seeds. Young seeds are included in the preparation. Add Mentha spicata juice (1 tbsp), Citrus limon fruit juice (2 tbsp), some Salt and Sugar for taste.
Dosage: One glass of this soft drink is given to the patients suffering from Sun stroke, Heat stroke or Loo.
1. Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr. ex Roxb. (Bael Tree, Bengal Quince)
Assam- Bael, Bel; Bengali, Hindi & Marathi- Bael, Bel; Gujarati- Bili; Kannada- Bela, Bilva; Malayalam- Koovalam, Vilvam; Oriya- Belo; Sanskrit- Bilva, Sriphal; Tamil- Bilva, Vilvam; Telugu- Bilavamu, Maredu; Urdu- Bel.
A moderate-sized, slender, aromatic tree, 6.0-7.5 m in height and 90-120 cm in girth, with a somewhat fluted bole of 3.0-4.5 m, growing wild throughout the deciduous forests of India, ascending to an altitude of c 1,200 m in the western Himalayas and also occurring in Andaman Islands. It is extensively planted near Hindu temples for its leaves and wood which are valued in indigenous medicine. Branches armed with straight, sharp, axillary, 2.5 cm long spines; bark soft, corky, light grey, exfoliating in irregular flakes; leaves attenuate, trifoliolate, occasionally digitately five-foliolate, leaflets ovate or ovate-lanceolate, crenate, acuminate, lateral sessile, terminal long-petioled; flowers large, greenish white, sweet-scented, in short axillary panicles; fruits globose, grey or yellowish, rind woody; seeds numerous, oblong, compressed, embedded in sacs covered with thick orange-coloured sweet pulp (WOA, 1997).
2. Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsumura & Nakai syn. C. vulgaris Schrad. ex Ecklon & Zeyher (Watermelon)
Assam- Turmuj; Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Oriya & Urdu- Kalingad, Tarbuch, Tarbuz, Tarmuj; Kannada- Kalangadi Balli, Kargunje; Malayalam- Thannimathan; Punjab- Hadwana, Matira, Tarbuz; Rajasthan- Matira; Tamil- Poiychaviral, Tharbuzapalam; Telugu- Karumboja, Puchakaayai.
A trailing or climbing, hispid, monoecious annual, native to Africa, cultivated throughout India; often met with as an escape in waste places and fields. Stem angular, grooved, hairy, tendrils 2-3fid; leaves ovate to obovate, lobes bipinnatifid, scabrous, up to 17 cm long; flowers yellow, solitary or paired on long peduncles; fruits globose or oblong with rounded ends, up to 60 cm long, rind green or cream, mottled or striped with longitudinal irregular bands, waxy, hard, flesh soft, spongy, juicy, reddish pink or pale pink, sweet, sometimes bitter in wild forms; seeds numerous 6-10 mm long, pyriform, compressed, black, pink, brown, white or yellow (WOA, 1997).
3. Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f. (Lemon)
Bengali- Baranebu, Goranebu; Gujarati- Motu Limbu; Hindi- Baranibu, Jambira, Paharikaghzi, Paharinimbu; Kannada- Bijapura, Bijuri; Marathi- Idalimbu, Thoralimbu; Sanskrit- Nimbuka; Tamil- Malai Elumichai, Periya Elumichai; Telugu- Bijapuram.
A tree up to 6 m in height, of spreading habit, thought to be native to India but not found growing wild anywhere. Spines small, stout; leaves light green, oblong to elliptic ovate, lanceolate, sharp-pointed, sub-serrate, petioles narrowly winged; flowers purple in the bud, large; fruits ovoid or oblong 7.5-12.5 cm long with a terminal nipple, very acid; seeds few, small (WOA, 1997).
4. Coriendrum sativum L. (Coriander)
Bengali- Dhane; Gujarati-Konphir; Hindi- Dhania, Dhanya; Kannada- Kothambri; Malayalam- Kothumpalari; Marathi- Dhanna, Kothimber; Sanskrit- Dhanya, Kustumburi; Tamil- Kothamalli; Telugu- Dhaniyalu.
An annual herb, 1-3 ft. high, with small, white or pinkish purple flowers borne on compound terminal umbels. The lower leaves are broad with crenately lobed margins, while the upper ones are narrow, finely cut with linear lobes. The fruits are globular and ribbed, yellow brown in colour and range in size from 2.0 to 3.5 mm. diam. When pressed, they separate into two halves (mericarps), each containing a seed (WOA, 1997).
5. Mangifera indica L. (Mango)
Bengali- Am; Gujarati- Amri; Hindi- Am, Amb; Kannada- Mavu; Malayalam- Amram, Cutam, Mavu; Marathi- Amba; Sanskrit- Amra, Chuta; Tamil- Manga, Mau; Telugu- Mamidi, Mavi.
A large evergreen tree, 10.0-45.0 m. high, with a heavy, dome-shaped crown and a straight, stout bole; bark thick, rough, dark grey, flaking off when old; leaves linear-oblong or elliptic-lanceolate, 10-30cm. long and 2-9 cm. wide, emitting when crushed an aromatic, resinous odor; inflorescence a large panicle, containing in some types more than 3,000 flowers; flowers tiny, reddish white or yellowish green, pungently odorous and melliferous: staminate and hermaphrodite flowers borne in the same panicle; fruit a large drupe exceedingly variable in form and size: fruit skin thick or thin, leathery,green, yellowish or red, often dotted with numerous glands: flesh (mesocarp) whitish yellow, yellow or orange, firm, soft or juicy, sub-acid or sweet, richly aromatic: fibres throughout the flesh in some types, absent or very little in others; seed solitary, ovoid-oblique, encased in a hard compressed fibrous endocarp (stone) (WOA, 1997).
6. Mentha spicata L. emend. Nathh. syn. M. virdis L. (Spearmint, Garden Mint, Lamb Mint)
Hindi, Bengali & Marathi- Pahari Pudina, Pudina.
A glabrous perennial, 30-90 cm. high, with creeping rhizomes, indigenous to the north of England, but grown all over the world. It is cultivated in Indian gardens. Leaves smooth or nearly so, sessile, lanceolate to ovate, acute, coarsely dentate, smooth above, glandular below; flowers lilac, in loose, cylindrical, slender, interrupted spikes (WOA, 1997).
7. Zingiber officinale Rosc. (Ginger)
Bengali- Ada; Hindi- Adrak, Ada; Kannada- Hasisunti; Malayalam- Andrakam, Inchi; Marathi- Ale; Sanskrit- Ardraka; Tamil- Allam,Inji; Telugu- Allamu, Sonthi.
A herbaceous, rhizomatous perennial, reaching up to 90 cm. in height under cultivation. Rhizomes are aromatic, thick-lobed, pale yellowish, differing in shape and size in the different cultivated types. The herb develops several lateral shoots in clumps which begin to dry when the plant matures. Leaves narrow, distichous, sub-sessile, linear-lanceolate, 17.0 cm. x 1.8 cm., dark green, evenly narrowed to form a slender tip, flowers in spikes, greenish yellow with a small dark purple or purplish black tip (WOA. 1997).
WOA. 1997. Wealth of Asia (AHEAD).
Note: Readers should consult their family doctors before any application of the practice mentioned in this article. The aim of the current article is to share the Bhumkas (Tribal Herbal Healers) knowledge.
Authors are from Abhumka Herbal Pvt Ltd. The company is deeply engrossed in scouting and documentation of traditional tribal therapies and formulation/ product development. Authors are extensively documenting traditional herbal knowledge from various remote areas of Central and Western India.