This sequence of popular articles contains detailed information of 50 herbs that are seen rarely in Patalkot these days. We have already discussed about 4 rare herbs of Patalkot in our previous columns, "Rare Herbs of Patalkot".
Tylophora indica: Proving Ancient Healing in Modern Age
In the following article, we would discuss the enumeration, medicinal value and conservation strategy for Tylophora indica. The medicinal values of the plant are based on the information obtained from the tribals. We have added information that we retrieved from Internet and also by accessing various libraries.
The aim of bringing this article is to generate awareness among the common people of the area. This is an effort to make the first move to conserve the virgin land and its community. The medicinal uses of plant are for awareness purposes and reader must use their own precaution and judgment when using the herb. People with health disorders should consult their doctor before using any medication or treatment mentioned in the article.
Deep in the heart of Chhindwara District of Madhya Pradesh, there is a wild, forest encircled by steep, 3,000 foot cliffs. The Patalkot forest dracharya.tripod.com/patal/) is so well secreted that people on the outside didn't even know it existed. This place is known as a treasure of medicinal plants, of course it is rich in flora. The natives who live here know how to collect and grow the plants they need for food, clothing and building their homes. They also have a special skill that has been passed down every generation. They know the secrets of the medicinal plants.
Chhindwara district lies between latitude 21o23' and 22o49' North and longitude 78o10' and 79o24' East. Mostly, the dense forest covers most of the area of the district. Patalkot is located at a great depth. It is christened as "Patalkot" (Patal means very deep, in Sanskrit). Patalkot is spread over an area of 79 Sq. Km. at an average height of 2750-3250 feet above Mean Sea Level. There are 12 villages and 13 hamlets in this valley, with a total population of nearly 2000.
Most of the people in Patalkot belong to Bharia and Gond tribes. This valley is situated on the Satpura Plateau in the Southern Central part of the Madhya Pradesh, India.
Why we select this plant? Over-exploitation of plants like - Gudmar (Gymnema sylvestre), Kalahari (Gloriosa superba), Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina), Ratti (Abrus precatorius), Char (Buchanania lanzan), and Bach (Acorus calamus) has made them endangered species in the area. Tylophora indica is also included among such rare plant species of Patalkot. Tylophora indica is recently adopted as one of the important drugs from natural source for the treatment of respiratory diseases. Clinical studies have shown effectiveness of the drug in bronchial asthma and thus modern research withstands the ancient claims of our traditional healers (Singh, 2005).
Tylophora indica (Burm. f.) Merill. in Philip. J. Sci. 19 : 373. 1921; Jagtap & Singh in Fl. India Fasc. 24. 1999. Cynanchum indicum Burm. f. Fl. Ind. 70. 1768. Tylophora asthmatica Wight & Arn. in Wight Contrib. 51. 1834; Hook. f. Fl. Brit. India 4 : 44. 1883.
Synonyms: Cynanchum indicum Burm. f., Tylophora asthmatica Wt. & Arn., Asclepias asthmatica L. f.
English name: Indian ipecac
Sanskrit names: Anntmool, Anthrapachaka
Vernacular names: Bengali- Antamul; Hindi- Antmool, Jangli pikvan;, Kannada- Adumuttada, Nepala; Malayalam- Vallippala; Marathi- Kharaki-rasna, Anthamul, Pitmari; Oriya- Mendi, Mulini; Tamil- Koorinja, Peyppalainadu; Telugu- Verripala, Kukka-pala.
Taxonomic description: Perennial, small, slender, much branched pubescent twining or climbing herbs or under shrubs; sap yellowish,. found in the sub-himalayan tract from Uttar Pradesh to Meghalaya and in the central and peninsular India, ascending up to 1,260 m. Rootstock 2.5-5 cm. thick, rRoots long, fleshy, with longitudinally fissured light brown, corky bark;; lLeaves 6.0-10.5 x 3.8-6.0 cm, ovate-oblong to elliptic-oblong, acute to acuminate, cordate at base, thick, pubescent beneath when young, glabrous above; petioles up to 12 mm long.; Flowers minute, 1-1.5 cm across, in 2 to 3-flowered fascicles in axillary umbellate cymes.; Calyx divided nearly to the base, densely hairy outside; segments lanceolate, acute. Corolla greenish-yellow or greenish-purple; lobes oblong, acute. Fruit a follicle, .up to 7 x 1 cm,; ovoid-lanceolate, tapering at apex forming fine mucro, finally striate, glabrous. seeds 0.6-0.8 x 0.3-0.4 cm, broadly ovate or ovate-oblong, flat, brown, dark colored in center; coma 2.0-2.5 cm long.. Fl. & Fr.: August-December (Kirtikar & Basu, 1935; Chopra et al., 1956; Jagtap & Singh, 1999).
Habitat: Found in the plains, forests, and hilly slopes and outskirts of the forest (Vitacost, 2004; Truestarhealth, 2005). Forms dense patches in the forest in moist and humid conditions in open hill slopes and narrow valleys, also cultivated for its medicinal uses. The plant shows stunted growth in the areas with lesser rainfall. According to Nadkarni (1976), it will on a wide range of well drained soils - prefers sandy localities..
Distribution: It is indigenous to India (Aurorahealthcare, 2005). The plant inhabits up to an elevation of 1,260 m in the sub-Himalayan tract and in the central and peninsular India. It also Gmet with in Eastern, North-East and Central India, Bengal and, parts of South India (Nadkarni, 1976). Except throughout plains of India, it also harbor in Ceylon, Malay island and Borneo (Kirtikar & Basu, 1935).
Distribution in Patalkot: Gaildubbha, Kareyam, Rathed, Karrapani, Sajkui, Karrapani, Sidhouli, Chhindi, Jaitpur, Chimtipur and Harra-ka-Char.
Medicinal Importance: It is traditionally used as a folk remedy in certain regions of India for the treatment of bronchial asthma (Bielory & Lupoli, 1999), inflammation (Exoticnatural. 2005), bronchitis, allergies, rheumatism and dermatitis (Gupta & Bal, 1956; Shivpuri et al., 1969; Dhananjayan et al., 1974; Mathew and & Shivpuri, 1974; Haranath & Shyamalakumari, 1975; Thiruvengadam et al., 1978; Gupta et al., 1979; Karnick and & Jopat, 1979; and Gore et al., 1980; Truestarhealth, 2005; Remedyfind, 2005). Apart from the above, it also seems to be a good remedy in traditional medicine as anti-psoriasis, seborrheic, anaphylactic, leukopenia and as an inhibitor of the Schultz-Dale reaction (Sarma, 1978, Sarma & Misra, 1995).
The leaves and roots are used medicinally (Bhavan, 1992). It is said to have laxative, expectorant, diaphoretic and purgative properties. It has also been used for the treatment of allergies, cold, dysentery, hay fever and arthritis (CSIR, 1948-1976). It has reputation as an alliterative and as a blood purifier, often used in rheumatism and syphilitic rheumatism. Root or leaf powder is used in diarrhea, dysentery and intermittent fever. It is an expectorant and administered in respiratory affections, bronchitis and whooping cough (Nadkarni, 1976). Dried leaves are emetic diaphoretic and expectorant. It is regarded as one of the best indigenous substitute for ipecacuanha (Kirtikar & Basu, 1935), so it was considered as Indian ipecacuahna in the latter half of the 19th century (Food4less1, 2005).
The roots and leaves possess stimulant, emetic, cathartic and purgative properties (Shah and & Kapoor, 1976; Sharma and & Sharma, 1977; Vasudevan Nair et al., 1982; Nair et al., 1984 ). The roots and leaves are also reported to be used in hydrophobia. The leaves are employed to destroy vermin. The leaf extract ,acts as it is anti tumor (Chitnis et al., 1972; Stephen & Vijayammal, 2000).
Other uses: The roots are suggested to be a good natural preservative of food.
Toxic effect: According to Gupta et al. (1979), it may produce some side effects like drowsiness or giddiness. Loss of taste for salt, mouth pain, upset stomach, temporary nausea and vomiting are some other side effects (Shivpuri et al., 1969, 1972; Bone, 1996). Tightness in throat or chest, chest pain, skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin may occur in some cases (Healthtouch, 2005).
Preliminary studies shows that extract of Tylophora is toxic only in extremely high doses; these extracts were apparently safe in the far smaller doses needed to produce a therapeutic effect (Dikshith et al., 1990).
Chemical Components: The major constituent in this plant is alkaloid Tylophorine that is responsible for a strong anti-inflammatory action (Gopalakrishnan et al., 1979) and Tylophorininepresent. The other alkaloids include Tylophorinidine, Septicine and Isotylocrebrine.
Pharmacology: Test tube studies suggest that tylophorine is able to interfere with the action of mast cells, which are key components in the process of inflammation action (Gopalakrishnan et al., 1980). These actions seem to support its traditional use as an anti-asthmatic and anti-allergic medication by traditional healers. According to Bone (1996), the dose should not exceed 200-400 mg dried leaf powder per day or 1 to 2 ml of tincture per day for the treatment of asthma. The plant shows inhibitory effect on cellular immune response (Ganguly & Sainis, 2001) and anti-allergic activity (Nayampalli & Sheth, 1979).
Weak preliminary evidence hints that Tylophora might have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and antispasmodic actions (Gopalakrishnan et al., 1980; Wagner, 1989; Udupa et al., 1991; Nandi, 1999). In tests with Tylophora extract, both adrenal weight and plasma steroid levels were found increased (Vitasentials, 2005).
These historical and laboratory findings have been supported by several human clinical trials using differing preparations of Tylophora, including the crude leaf, tincture, and capsule. Clinical trial against asthma shows that Tylophora leaf chewed and swallowed daily in the early morning for six days reduces asthma symptoms (Shivpuri et al., 1969). An alcoholic extract of crude Tylophora leaves in 1 gram of glucose had comparable effects to that of chewing the crude leaf (Shivpuri et al., 1972). Another trial found similar success in reducing asthma symptoms (Thiruvengadam et al., 1978). However, the Tylophora was not as effective as a standard asthma drug combination. One double-blind trial failed to show any effect on asthma for Tylophora (Gupta et al., 1979).
With the discovery of herbal wealth of Patalkot's treasures, many people are attracted towards the valley and herbs. The natives are generous with their knowledge and offer their medicinal secrets with open hearts. This is how the people have always survived, by sharing information and supplies with each other. People who came to the forest, however, saw a way to profit from this. They brought in teams of harvesters to strip the forest clean of valuable herbs. They sold these herbs outside the district for great profit.
It is thus, need of the hour is to save this virgin land. People of Patalkot should be involved in forest management programs. Biotic pressure should be reduced and responsible authorities should come forward to save the vegetation of this beautiful place.
Tylophora is believed as one of the most important herbs. The whole series of traditional medicine plants, which have been in use for thousands of years, will be threatened if plants like T. indica will not be saved from excessive collection. It is, therefore, need of the hour is to come forward and save this important herb of Patalkot. Active contribution from everyone is highly desired specially people from Chhindwara district.
Acknowledgment: Authors are grateful to tribals of Patalkot and Tamia for their knowledge sharing and hospitality during the work. Thanks are due to various workers of ECO- Campus and Friends Nature Club, Chhindwara for their help during the expedition.
Dr Deepak Acharya - He is the Head of Pistiss Herbal Research Lab Pvt Ltd more about him on dracharya.tripod.com. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Anshu Shrivastava - A Botanist who has done PhD from Botanical Survey of India- Jodhpur. He is now working with SRISTI- Ahmedabad as a Plant Taxonomist. Contact him on email@example.com
Dr Sanjay Pawar - He is a Botanist from Chhindwara, currently involved in scouting and documentation of herbal wealth in the district. His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Garima Sancheti: She is a research scholar, working at Department of Zoology, Radiation and Cancer Biology Laboratory, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India. She is currently working on herbs and their efficacy against cancer and radiation. She has to her credit various research papers in scientific journals as well as articles on web. Contact her on email@example.com
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