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Traditional Medicines of Gonds and Bharias

Tribals of Chhindwara district in 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.

Traditional medicines of Gonds and Bharias (3):

Herbal medicine for indigestion and lack of appetite

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 indigestion and lack of appetite. 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., Zinziber officinale, Piper longum, Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula, Tinospora cordifolia, Cassia senna and Mentha piperita

Drug preparation: Zinziber officinale Root (1 tbsp), Piper longum Fruits (1 tbsp), Emblica officinalis Fruits (3 tbsp), Terminalia chebula Fruits (1 1/2 tbsp), Tinospora cordifolia Stem (1 1/2 tbsp), Cassia senna Leaves (1 tbsp) and Mentha piperita (1 tbsp).

Dosage: About 1 tbsp powder should be given to the patient twice a day after lunch and dinner with water.

Plant Profiles:

1. Zingiber officinale Rosc. (Ginger)

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

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).

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. 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).

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. 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).

6. Cassia senna Linn. var. senna syn. C. acutifolia Delile; C. angustifolia Vahl; C. obovata Baker (Fl Br Ind) in part (Alexandrian, Bombay or Tinnevelly Senna)

Bengali- Sannamakki, Sonpat; Gujarati- Middiawal , Senamakki; Hindi- Bhuikhakhasa, Hindisana; Kannada- Nelavarike, Soonamukhi; Malayalam- Nilavaka, Sunnamukhi; Marathi- Bhuitarvada, Shonamakhi; Oriya- Shonamukhi; Sanskrit- Bhumiari, Pitapushpi , Swarnamukhi, Swarnapatrika; Tamil- Nattunelavarai, Nelavagai, Sooratnilla avarai; Telugu- Neelaponna, Neelatangeedu.

A variable, branching, erect shrub, up to 1.8 m in height, introduced into India, naturalized in some parts; also cultivated. Leaves pinnate, pubescent, leaflets pale green to bluish green, 3-9 pairs, lanceolate or elliptic, varying on the same plant, 1.5-5.0 cm x 0.4-2.0 cm; flowers brilliant yellow, in erect, terminal racemes; pods light green when young to dark brown or black when mature, flat, thin, oblong, pubescent, 3.5-7.0 cm x 0.2-2.5 cm; seeds dark brown, obovate-oblong, 5-7 (WOA. 1997).

7. Mentha piperita Linn. emed. Huds. (Peppermint)

Hindi- Paparmainta, Gamathi phudina; Punjabi- Vilayati pundina

A perennial, glabrous, strongly scented herb, occurring spontaneously or cultivated in temperate regions of Europe, Asia, North America and Australia. It is grown in Indian garden and also cultivated in Kashmir, Nilgiris, Mysore, Delhi and Dehra Dun. Stems erect 30-90 cm. high, purplish or green; leaves ovate or oblong-lanceolate, petioled, 2.5-10 cm. long, acute or obtuse at the base, coarsely serrate, smooth and dark green above, pale or sparingly hairly below; flowers purplish, in thick terminal spikes (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 ( 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.

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