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Traditional medicines of Gonds and Bharias - 29 - Herbal medicine for Fistula

The article deals with an herbal formulation for curing Fistula. We have not yet validated the formulation but feedback from various patients has revealed that the formulation is really effective.

This sequence of popular articles would bring information of few important herbal formulations prepared by the tribals in Central India. We have already discussed about 28 different human health disorders and formulations for its treatments in our previous columns. The aim about bringing this series is to generate awareness about the importance of medicinal plants and ancient knowledge of herbal healings amongst the tribes of Central India. This is an effort to make the first move to conserve the tremendous knowledge of herbal healers of the region.

Patalkot ( in Central India is a treasure of forest and herbal wealth. Because of the detachment of this area, the tribals of this region were totally cut off from the sophisticated world. Most of the natives in Patalkot belong to 'Bharia' and 'Gond' tribes. This valley is situated on the Satpura Plateau in the southern central part of the Madhya Pradesh, India. Authors have explored the area of Patalkot valley that includes- Gaildubbha, Kareyam, Rathed, Ghatlinga, Gudichhathri, Karrapani, Tamia, Bharia Dhana, Bijauri, Pandu Piparia, Sajkui, Lahgadua, Karrapani, Sidhouli, Chhindi, Jaitpur, Chimtipur and Harra-ka-Char.

The ethnobotanical knowledge systems among the Gonds and Bharias of Patalkot valley in Central India have traditionally been very rich and catering to the medicinal needs of the community since times immemorial. But the youth in the region have been losing interest in these plant based traditional knowledge systems. Such traditional knowledge systems are therefore in threat of extinction, much like the plants that make it up. Dr Acharya and friends have documented the primitive herbal knowledge of tribals of the Patalkot valley. A digital library or database has also been prepared for further studies. The present communication deals with an herbal formulation for curing Fistula. We have not yet validated the formulation but feedback from various patients has revealed that the formulation is really effective. We suggest you to consult your family doctor before any application of this formulation.

Combination of herbs viz., Glycyrrhiza glabra, Tinospora cordifolia, Azadirachta indica, Terminalia bellirica, Withania somnifera and Terminalia chebula

Drug Preparation: Glycyrrhiza glabra roots (2 tbsp), Tinospora cordifolia stems (1 1/2 tbsp), Azadirachta indica leaves (1 1/2 tbsp), Terminalia bellirica fruits (1 1/2 tbsp), Withania somnifera roots (1 1/2 tbsp), Terminalia chebula fruits (2 tbsp).

Dosage: About 1 teaspoon powder should be given to the patient, twice a day with water.

Plant Profiles:

1. 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).

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 bellirica Roxb. (Belliric myrobalan).

Hindi- Bahera; Bengali- Bhairah; Marathi- Beheda; Telugu & Tamil- Tani; Malyalam- Thani; Oriya- Bhara; Trade- Belliric myrobalan, Bahera.

A handsome tree, with characteristic bark, up to 40 m high and a girth of 1.8-3 m. 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 cm in diam., obscurely 5-angled (WOA, 1997).

5. 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).

6. Terminalia chebula Retz. (Chebulic myrobalan).

Hindi- Harra; Bengali- Haritaki; Marathi- Hirda; Gujarati- Hardo; Telugu- Karakkai; Tamil- Kadukkai; Oriya- Haridra; Punjab- Har, Harar; Assam- Silikha; Trade- Myrobalan, Chehulic myrobalan.

A tree 15-24 m in height and 1.5-2.4 m in girth, with spreading branches. 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 Executive Director of an herbal formulation company in Ahmedabad, India. He has been documenting ethnobotanical knowledge of tribals of Central and Western India since long. He has written 30 research papers in National and International journals of repute. He writes popular articles for web and magazines.

Dr Garima Sancheti: She is a PhD (alumnus) 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. He has written several popular articles and research papers on the medicinal plants and regional flora.

Dr Sanjay Pawar: He is a PhD from Department of Botany, Govt PG College, Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. He has to have credit to work in the Patalkot valley for a long time. He visits Patalkot for scouting of tribal knowledge.

Dr Surendra Bhade: He is PhD in Botany and currently serving as a teacher in a middle school at Chimtipur, Patalkot. He has been involved in awareness generation activities among the local inhabitants of Patalkot.

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