Traditional medicines of Gonds and Bharias (2):
Herbal medicine for sleeplessness
Tribals in Madhya Pradesh of India used various herbs for curing so many disorders. They are having their own knowledge of medicine. Gond and Bharias are main inhabitants in the forests of Madhya Pradesh. Bharias are more or less restricted to Betul and Chhindwara district. The current 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 these tribals. The current article is on herbal medicine for curing sleeplessness. 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.
Combination of herbs viz., Withania somnifera, Centella asiatica, Piper longum, Glycyrrhiza glabra and Terminalia bellirica
Drug preparation: Withania somnifera roots (2 tbsp), Centella asiatica (3 tbsp), Piper longum roots (2 tbsp), Glycyrrhiza glabra roots (1 tbsp) and Terminalia bellirica fruits (1 tbsp)
Dosage: About 1 tbsp powder should be given to the patient in the night (before going to bed) with milk or luke warm water.
1. 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).
2. 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).
3. Piper longum Linn. (Indian Long Pepper)
Hindi- Pipal, Pipli, Piplamul; Bengali- Piplamor; Marathi- Pimpli; Gujarati- Pipli; Telugu- Pippuloo; Tamil- Tippali; Pippili, Sirumulam, Kandan, Tippili; Malayalam-Tippali, Pippali, Amgadhi.
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).
4. 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).
5. Terminali 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).
WOA. 1997. Wealth of Asia (AHEAD).
About the Authors:
Dr Deepak Acharya - He is the Head of Pistiss Herbal Research Lab Pvt Ltd, Ahmedabad, India.
Dr Anshu Shrivastava- A Botanist, he is a PhD from Botanical Survey of India- Jodhpur. He is now working with SRISTI (sristi.org) as a Plant Taxonomist.
Dr Sanjay Pawar- He is a Botanist from Chhindwara, currently involved in scouting and documentation of herbal wealth in the district.