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Medicine for Weakness and Anaemia


Traditional knowledge has been a boon for curing common ailment among Gonds and Bharias of central India.

Gonds and Bharia form a major population in the forests of Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh. These tribals live in remote areas of the district. They are dependent upon various forest produces for their day to day life. There are so many villages where even primary health care facilities are unavailable. Tribals are more or less following their traditional knowledge for curing their common ailments. The current series of article aims to bring and highlight their system of treating disorders.

We again advice you to ask you family doctor before going through any formulation we suggest in our article series as we don't exactly know the efficacy of drug. It's just a representation of traditional knowledge gathered by verbal communication. A detailed study and toxicological trials can only finalize the efficacy of drug.

Combination of herbs viz., Asparagus racemosus, Withania somnifera, Emblica officinalis, Phyllanthus niruri, Tephrosia purpurea, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Tribulus terrestris, Chlorophytum arundinaceum and Spinacea oleracea

Drug preparation: Powder of Asparagus racemosus Roots (2 tbsp), Withania somnifera Roots (2 tbsp), Emblica officinalis Fruits (1 1/2 tbsp), Phyllanthus niruri Leaves (1 tbsp), Tephrosia purpurea Leaves (1 tbsp), Glycyrrhiza glabra Roots (1 1/2 tbsp), Tribulus terrestris Roots (1 1/2 tbsp), Chlorophytum arundinaceum Roots (1 1/2 tbsp) and Spinacea oleracea Leaves (1 tbsp).

Plant Profiles:

1. Asparagus racemosus Willd.

Bengali- Shatamuli; Gujarati- Ekalkanto, Satavari; Hindi- Chatwal, Satawar, Satmuli, Shakakul; Kannada- Aheruballi, Ashadhi, Majjigegadde, Sipariberuballi; Malayalam- Chatavali, Satavari; Marathi- Asvel, Shatavari, Shatmuli; Oriya- Chhotaru, Mohajolo, Sotabori; Sanskrit- Satavari; Tamil- Ammaikodi, Inli-chedi, Kadumulla, Shimai-shadavari; Telugu- Pilli-gaddalu, Toalb-gaddalu; Madhya Pradesh- Narbodh, Satmooli; Rajasthan- Norkanto, Satawar

An extensively scandent, much-branched, spinous under-shrub, with tuberous, short rootstock bearing numerous fusiform, succulent tuberous roots 30-100 cm long and 1-2 cm thick, found growing wild in tropical and sub-tropical parts of India including the Andamans; and ascending in the Himalayas up to an altitude of 1,500 m. Stems woody, whitish grey or brown armed with strong, straight or recurved spines 5-13 mm long; cladodes more or less acicular, 2-6 nate, falcate, finely acuminate; leaves reduced to sub-erect or sub-recurved spines; flowers white, fragrant, small, profuse in simple or branched racemes up to 7 cm long; berries globose, scarlet, triobed, 4-6 mm in diam (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. Emblica officinalis Gaertn. syn. Phyllanthus emblica Linn. (Emblic Myrobalan, Indian Goosberry)

Sanskrit-Adiphala, Dhatri, Amalaka; Hindi- Amla, Amlika, Aonla; Bengali-Akla, Amlaki; Gujarati- 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. Phyllanthus niruri Hook. f. P. fraternus Webster

Sanskrit- Bhumyamalaki, Bahupatri; Hindi- Jaramla, Jangli amli, Bhuinanvalah, Bhonyabali; Bengali- Bhui amla, Sadahazur-mani; Marathi- Bhuivali; Gujarat- Bhonya anmali; Telugu- Nela usirika; Tamil- Keela nelli; Kannada- Nela nelli, Kiranelli gida; Malayalam- Kizha nelli; Oriya- Bhui aola, Badianla

A herb, up to 60 cm. in height, occurring as a winter weed throughout the hotter parts of India, particularly on cultivated land. Stem angular; leaves distichous elliptic-oblong, or linear-oblong; flowers axillary, yellowish, greenish or whitish, male flowers 1-3, females solitary; capsules depressed-globose, smooth, scarcely lobed; seeds 3-gonous, pale brown, longitudinally ribbed (WOA, 1997).

5. Tephrosia purpurea Pers. (Wild Indigo)

Sanskrit- Sharapunkha; Hindi- Dhamasia, Sarphonka; Bengali- Ban-nil-gachh; Marathi- Sirapakha, udhadi, Un- hali; Gujarati- Ghodakan, Jhila, Sarphankho; Telugu-Vempali, Neelavempali, Bontavempali; Tamil- Kolingi, Paavali, Kat kolingi, Kolluk-kay-velai; Kannada- Empali, Vajaraneeli, Koggili; Malayalam- Kozhenjil, Kaata miri; Oriya- Kolothiyapokha, Mohisiakolothiga, Pokha, Soropokha, Punjabi- Bansa-bansu, Jhojhru.

A polymorphic, much-branched, suberect, perennial herb, 30-60 cm. high, found throughout India, ascending to an altitude of 1,850 m. in the Himalayas. Leaves imparipinnate, 5-15 cm. long: leaflets 9-21, narrow, oblanceolate, glabrous above, obscurely silky below; flowers red or purple, in leaf-opposed racemes; pods slightly recurved, 3.7-5.0 cm.x 4.0 mm., glabrescent; seeds 5-10, greenish grey, smooth (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. 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).

8. Chlorophytum arundinaceum Baker

Hindi- Biskandri, Safed musli; Oriya- Bharat batuli; Sanskrit- Sweta-musli

A small, pretty, perennial herb, met with from Bihar to Manipur, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, ascending up to 1,200 m and also recorded from Maharashtra. Roots fleshy; leaves lanceolate-oblanceolate, 80 cm x 2 cm; scape up to 1m, stout, with the flowers in long racemes; capsules sub-globose (WOA, 1997).

9. Spinacia oleracea Linn. (Garden Spinach)

Hindi- Isfanaj, Palak; Bengali- Palang, Pinnis; Marathi and Gujarati- Palak; Telugu-Dumpabachhali, Matturbachhali; Tamil- Vasayleykiray; Kannada- Spinachsoppu, Spinaksoppu; Oriya- Palaksag, Mithapalanga. Punjabi- Palak, Isfanak, Valayati sag; Assamiya- Palangsag.

An erect, annual, smooth herb, 30-60 cm. high, cultivated throughout India up to an altitude of 2,100 m. Leaves alternate, ovate-oblong, obtuse or acute, variously lobed, smooth, soft, succulent; flowers unisexual, greenish: male flowers in terminal; leafless spikes; female flowers in axillary clusters; fruits hard, compressed utricles, enclosed in a spined, capsule-like body; seeds vertical (WOA, 1997).

References:

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 (www.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.

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