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Herbal medicine for Hysteria

Gonds and Bharias are the main inhabitants of Patalkot valley of Chhindwara District in Madhya Pradesh, India.

These tribals still practice herbal medicines for curing their common ailments. The knowledge of these medicines is age old. For them, use of herbs is the cheapest way for cure of various health disorders. So far, there is no documentation done, therefore, we aim to document their age old practices and knowledge. It is advised to take proper guidance from your family doctor before going on to any medication mentioned here in this series of articles.

Combination of herbs viz., Centella asiatica, Withania somnifera, Tribulus terrestris, Piper longum, Achranthes aspera and Plumbao zeylanica

Drug preparation: Centella asiatica (3 tbsp), Withania somnifera (2 tbsp), Tribulus terrestris (1 1/2 tbsp), Piper longum (1 tbsp), Achranthes aspera (1 1/2 tbsp) and Plumbao zeylanica (1 tbsp).

Dosage: About 3 tbsp powder should be given twice a day with lukewarm water, honey or milk.

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- Kodangal, Muyalchevi; Marathi- Karinga, Karivana; Oriya- Thalkudi; Sanskrit- Mandukaparni, Mutthil; Tamil- Vallarai; Telugu- Brahmi, Saraswataku; Assam- Manimuni; Bihar- Chokiora; Meghalaya- Bat-maina; Tripura- Thankuni, Thunimankuni

A prostrate, faintly aromatic, stoloniferous perennial herb, up to 2 m long, commonly found as a weed in crop fields and other waste places throughout India up to an altitude of 600 m. Stem glabrous, pink and striated,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. Withania somnifera Dunal

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 (root), Aswagandhi; Kannada- Viremaddlinagadde, Pannaeru, Aswagandhi, Kiremallinagida; Punjabi- Asgand, Isgand; Rajasthani- Chirpotan

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).

3. Tribulus terrestris Linn. (Land-caltrops, Puncture-vine)

Sanskrit- Gokshura, Ikshugancdha; Hindi- Gokhru; Bengali & Oriya- Gakhura, Gokshra; Marathi- Lahangokhru, Sarala, Sharatte; Gujarati- Betagokhru, Mithagokhru, Nahanagokhru; Telugu- Chinnipalleru, Chirupalleru, Pallerukayalu (fruits); Tamil & Malayalam- Nerunji, Nerinjeekai (fruits); Kannada- Sanna neggilu; Ladakh- Rasha, Kokulla; Punjabi- Lotak, Bakhra; Rajasthani- Gokhatri, Gokhru-bara, Kanti, Gokhrusdesi

A variable, prostrate annual, up to 90 cm. in length, commonly found throughout India, up to an altitude of c 5,400 m. Roots slender, cylindrical, somewhat fibrous, 10-15 cm. long, light brown and faintly aromatic; leaves paripinnate: leaflets 5-8 pairs, subequal, oblong to linear-oblong; flowers leaf-opposed, solitary, pale-yellow to yellow; fruits globose, consisting of 5-12 woody cocci, each with 2 pairs of hard, sharp, divaricate spines, one pair longer than the other; seeds several in each coccus with transverse partitions between them (WOA. 1997).

4. 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).

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. Plumbago zeylanica Linn.

Hindi & Bengali- Chita, Chitarak, Chitra; Marathi- Chitramula, Chitraka; Gujarati- Chitaro, Chitrak; Telugu- Agnimata, Chitramoolam; Tamil- Cithiramulam; Kannada- Chitramula, Vahni; Malayalam- Tumba koduveli, Vellakoduvel; Oriya- Chitamulo, Chitapru, Krisanu, Ongi

A perennial, sub-scandent shrub found wild in peninsular India and West Bengal and cultivated in gardens throughout India. Leaves ovate, glabrous; flowers white, in elongated spikes; capsules oblong, pointed, contained in viscid glandular persistent calyx (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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