Traditional medicines of Gonds and Bharias - 18 - Herbal medicine for Brain Tonic

The major population of Gond and Bharia community reside in Patalkot valley where life-supporting facilities are lacking. In this article we come up with a formulation used as Brain Tonic.

The people here depend on plant resources for their livelihood including the native therapy for health care. This treatment is based on plants. Patalkot is endowed with rich plant resources due to the topography, rainfall and climate. All these factors have resulted in to the diversity of vegetation types.

Tribals in Patalkot depend upon plant resources for their livelihood because of the weak economy. Bhumkas (Local healers) and few older people acquire such knowledge which is verbalized and is limited only to their knowledge and may be erased in near future. Considering these facts, it has been aimed to document folk-lore medicine used for the treatment of various disorders. Authors have extensively surveyed the area and documented herbal practices performed by the tribals. In this article we come with a formulation used as Brain Tonic. The formulation and details of the medicinal plants are as following:

Combination of herbs viz., Centella asiatica, Piper longum, Zingiber officinale, Withania somnifera, Achyranthes aspera, Glycyrrhiza glabra, and Terminalia chebula.

Drug Preparation: Centella asiatica leaves (2 1/2 tbsp), Piper longum fruits (1 tbsp), Zingiber officinale rhizome (1 tbsp), Withania somnifera root (1tbsp), Achyranthes aspera whole plant (2 1/2 tbsp), Glycyrrhiza glabra root (1 tbsp) and Terminalia chebula fruit (2 1/2 tbsp).

Dosage: One teaspoonful powder is given to the patient, twice daily with milk or water.

Plant Profiles:

1. 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).

2. Piper longum Linn. (Indian Long pepper)

Hindi- Pipal, Pipli, Piplamul; Bengali- Piplamor; Marathi- Pimpli; Gujarat- Pipli; Telugu- Pippuloo; Tamil- Tippali; Pippili, Sirumulam, Kandan Tippili; Malayalam-Tippali, Pippali, Aamgadhi

A slender aromatic climher with perennial woody roots occurring in the hotter parts of India, from Central Himalayas to Assam, Khasi and Mikir hills, lower hills of Bengal, and evergreen forests of western ghats from Konkan to Travancore: it has been recorded also from Car Nicobar Islands. Stems creeping; jointed; young shoots downy; leaves 5-9 cm. long, 3-5 cm. wide, ovate, cordate with broad rounded lobes at base, subacute, entire, glabrous; spikes cylindrical pedunculate, male larger and slender, female 1.3-2.5 cm. long and 4-5 mm. diam.; fruits ovoid, yellowish orange, sunk in fleshy spike (WOA. 1997).

3. Zingiber officinale Rosc. (Ginger).

Sanskrit- Ardraka; Hindi- Adrak, Ada; Bengali- Ada; Marathi- Ale; Telugu- Allamu, Sonthi; Tamil- Allam, Inji; Kannada- Hasisunti; Malyalam- Andrakam, Inchi.

A herbaceous, rhizomatous perennial, reaching up to 90 cm in height. Rhizomes are aromatic, thick-lobed, pale yellowish, differing in shape and size. Leaves narrow, distichous, sub-sessile, linear-lanceolate, upto 17 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).

4. Withania somnifera Dunal (Ashwagandha)

Sanskrit- Ashwagandha, Turangi-gandha; Hindi- Punir, Asgandh; Bengali- Ashvaganda; Marathi- Askandha tilli; Gujarati- Ghodakun, Ghoda, Asoda, Asan; Telugu- Pulivendram, Panneru-gadda, Panneru; Tamil- Amukkura, Amkulang, Amukkuram-kilangu, Amulang-kalung, Aswagandhi; Kannada- Viremaddlinagadde, Pannaeru, Aswagandhi, Kiremallinagida, Punjabi- Asgand, Isgand; Trade--Aswagandha.

An erect, evergreen, tomentose shrub, 30-150 cm. high, found throughout the drier parts of India in waste places and on bunds; also cultivated to a limited extent for the medicinal roots. Roots stout fleshy, whitish brown; leaves simple ovate, glabrous, those in the floral region smaller and opposite; flowers inconspicuous, greenish or lurid-yellow, in axillary, umbellate cymes; berries small, globose, orange-red when mature, enclosed in the persistent calyx; seeds yellow, reniform (WOA, 1997).

5. Achyranthes aspera Linn (Prickly-Chaff flower)

Bengali- Apang, Chirchiti; Gujarati- Aghedo, Anghedo; Hindi- Chirchira, Chirchitta, Latjira; Kannada- Utranigida, Uttaraanne; Malayalam- Kadaladi; Marathi- Aghada, Aghara; Oriya- Apamaranga, Apamargo; Sanskrit- Apamaraga; Tamil- Chirukadaladi, Naayurivi; Telugu- Apamargamu, Uttareeni; Assam- Chik-kai-rek, Non-phak-pe, Soh-byrthied; Bombay- Agarda, Aghedia, Kharmanjari; Himachal Pradesh- Puthkanda; Madhya Pradesh- Agya, Circita Korroci; Punjabi- Chichra, Kutri; Rajasthan- Andhi-jalo, Andi-jaro, Katio-bhuratio, Undo-kanto, Unta-ghada

An erect or procumbent, annual or perennial herb, 1-2 m in height, often with a woody base, commonly found as a weed of waysides and waste places throughout India, up to an altitude of 2,100 m, and in the South Andaman Islands. Stems angular, ribbed, simple or branched from the base, often tinged with reddish purple colour; leaves thick, ovate-elliptic or obovate-rounded, but variable in shape and size; flowers greenish white, numerous in axillary or terminal spikes up to 75 cm long; seeds sub-cylindric, truncate at the apex, rounded at the base, reddish brown (WOA. 1997).

6. Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Licorice)

Sanskrit- Madhuka, Yashti-madhu; Hindi- Mulhatti, Jethi-madh; Bengali- Jashtimadhu, Jaishbomodhu; Marathi- Jeshta madha; Gujarati- Jethi madha; Telugu- Yashtimadhukam, Atimadhuramu; Tamil- Atimaduram; Kannada- Yashti madhuka, Atimadhura; Malayalam- Iratimadhuram

G. glabra, the principal source of the commercial drug, is a hardy herb or undershrub attaining a height up to 6 ft.; leaves multifoliolate, imparipinnate; flowers in axillary spikes, papilionaceous, lavender to violet in colour; pods compressed, containing reniform seeds. The underground part in some varieties consists of a rootstock with a number of long, branched stems; in others, the rootstock, which is stout, throws off a large number of perennial roots. The dried, peeled or unpeeled underground stems and roots constitute the drug, known in the trade as Liquorice (WOA. 1997).

7. 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).


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.

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.

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

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

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