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Traditional medicines of Gonds and Bharias - 16 - Herbal medicine for Asthma Bronchitis

The current article is on herbal medicine for curing Asthma Bronchitis. 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.

Just a run of one and half hour from Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh, you will reach Patalkot, a deep valley surrounded by hills all around. Bharia and Gond tribes are living here for hundreds of years. They have their own life style, ritual and traditions. They have medicinal plants for curing various ailments. They are having vast knowledge in curing their disorders. 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 Asthma Bronchitis. 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., Solanum virginianum, Piper longum, Adhatoda zeylanica, Zingiber officinale, Curcuma zedoaria, Ocimum sanctum, Emblica officinalis

Drug Preparation: Solanum virginianum whole plant (2 1/2 tbsp), Piper longum fruits (1 tbsp), Adhatoda zylanica leaves (2 1/2 tbsp), Zingiber officinale roots (1 tbsp), Curcuma zedoaria roots (1 tbsp), Ocimum sanctum leaves (1 tbsp), Emblica officinalis fruits (1 tbsp).

Dosage: One teaspoonful powder should be given to the patient, twice a day (morning and at bedtime) with water or honey.

Plant Profiles:

1. Solanum virginiaum L. Solanum xanthocarpum Schrad & Wendle, S. surattense Burm. f. (Yellow berried, Nightshade)

Hindi- Kateli; Sanskrit- Kantkari, Duhusparsha, Nidigdhika

A very prickly perennial herb, somewhat woody at base. Stem: much branched, clothed with dense, stellate and tomentose hairs when young; prickles compressed, straight, glabrous, shining, often 1-3 cm long. Leaves: ovate or elliptic, sinuate or sub pinnatifid, obtuse or sub acute, stellately hairy on both sides, armed on the midrib and often on the nerves with long yellow sharp prickles; petiole long, stellately hairy and prickly. Flowers: in cymes or some times reduced as solitary; calyx tube short, globose; lobes linear-lanceolate, acute, densely hairy and prickly; corolla purple; lobes deltoid, acute, hairy outside; filament long, glabrous; ovary ovoid, glabrous. Fruit: berry yellow, green-blotched and surrounded by enlarged calyx. Seeds: glabrous.

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. Adhatoda zeylanica Medic. syn. A. vasica Nees (Malabar nut, Vasaka)

Bengali- Basak; Gujarati-Aradusi; Hindi- Arusa, Bansa; Kannada- Adusoge, Kurchigida, Pavate; Malayalam- Adalodakam; Oriya- Arusa, Basung; Sanskrit-Shwetavasa, Vasa, Vasaka; Tamil.--Adhatodai, Pavettai; Telugu- Addasaramu, Garhwal- Bangra; Kashmiri- Bahekar, Baikar, Basuth, Bhenkar; Kumaun- Arus, Basinga; PunjabI-Bansa, Basuti, Bhekar, Vasaka.

An evergreen, gregarious, stiff, perennial shrub, 1.2-6.0 m in height, distributed throughout India, up to an altitude of 1,300 m. Leaves elliptic-lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, entire, 5-30 cm long, hairy, light green above, dark below, leathery; flowers large, white with red-or yellow-barred throats, in spikes with large bracts; capsules clavate, longitudinally channelled, 1.9-2.2 cm x 0.8 cm; seeds globular (WOA. 1997).

4. Zingiber officinale Rosc. (Ginger).

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

A herbaceous, rhizomatous perennial, reaching up to 90 cm in height. Rhizomes are aromatic, thick-lobed, pale yellowish, differing in shape and size. Leaves narrow, distichous, sub-sessile, linear-lanceolate, upto 17 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).

5. Curcuma zedoaria Rosc. (Zedoary)

Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada & Gujarati- Kachura; Tamil- Kichili-kizhanghu; Telugu-Kachoram; Malayalam- Pula-kizhanna.

A species growing wild in eastern Himalayas and in the moist deciduous forests of the coastal tract of Kanara. It is a native of north east India and is widely cultivated in many parts of India, Ceylon and China (WOA, 1997).

6. Ocimum sanctum Linn. (Sacred Basil, Holy Basil)

Sanskrit- Ajaka, brinda, manjari, parnasa, patrapuspha, suvasa tulasi; Hindi- Tulsi, baranda, kala tulsi; Bengali- Tulsi; Marathi- Tulasa, tulasi chajadha; Gujarati- Tulsi; Telugu- Tulasi, brynda, gaggera, krishna tulasi, nalla tulasi; Tamil- Thulasi; Kannada- Vishnu tulasi, kari tulasi, sri tulasi; Malayalam- Trittavu

An erect, herbaceous, much-branched, softly hairy annual, 30-75 cm. high, found throughout India ascending up to 1,800 m. in the Himalayas, and in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Leaves elliptic-oblong, acute or obtuse, entire or serrate, pubescent on both sides, minutely gland-dotted; flowers purplish or crimson, in racemes, close whorled; nutlets sub-globose or broadly ellipsoid, slightly compressed, nearly smooth, pale brown or reddish, with small black markings.

7. 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).


WOA. 1997. Wealth of Asia (AHEAD).

About the Authors:

Dr Deepak Acharya: He is the Director of a herbal formulation company in Ahmedabad, India. He has been documenting ethnobotanical knowledge of tribals of Central and Western India. He has written 30 research papers in National and International journals of repute. He writes popular articles for web and magazines. Meet him on his homepage or contact via email on

Ms Garima Sancheti: She is a research scholar, working 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. Contact her on

Dr Anshu Shrivastava: He is a Botanist and PhD from BSI- Jodhpur, currently working as Research Associate in SRISTI- Ahmedabad. He can be contacted on

Dr Sanjay Pawar: He is a botanist in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. Contacted him on

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