Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

 

ISSN:0972-5938

 

 

VOLUME 2

NUMBER 2

APRIL 2003

 

CONTENTS

 

X-rays diffraction and microscopic analysis of tamra bhasma: An Ayurvedic metallic preparation  

 107

Yamini B Tripathi, Ved Prakash Singh, G M K Sharma, R K Sinha and D Singh  

 

Some folk herbal medicines for possible use in veterinary practices  

 118

S K Jain and Sumita Srivastava  

 

Indian civilization and the science of fingerprinting  

 126

G S Sodhi and Jasjeet Kaur  

 

Palm Gur Industry in India  

 137

K D Kamble  

 

Common spices and their use in traditional medicinal system of ethnic groups of Manipur state, North eastern India  

 148

H Birkumar Singh and R C Sundriyal  

 

A brief introduction to Ayurvedic system of medicine and some of its problems  

 159

M V Viswanathan, P M Unnikrishnan, Katsuko Komatsu, Hirotoshi Fushimi and Purusotam Basnet  

 

Certain scientific observations as depicted in Indian philosophical principles  

 170

Vidyanath Jha and D N Tiwari  

 

An investigation into the indigenous knowledge for rainfall prediction  

 181

Ranjay K Singh and B S Dwivedi  

 

Traditional pest management practices and lesser exploited natural products in Ethiopia and India: Appraisal and revalidation  

 189

Adane Tesfaye and R D Gautam

 

Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Vol. 2(2), April 2003, pp. 107-117

 

X-rays diffraction and microscopic analysis of tamra bhasma: An Ayurvedic metallic preparation

Yamini B Tripathi, Ved Prakash Singh, G M K Sharma, R K Sinha and D Singh

Tamra bhasma is a metallic Ayurvedic preparation. Although it is in clinical use for the management of various ailments for a long time, scientific basis for its mechanism of action and also the cause of detoxification of metallic copper is not well documented. In this study an attempt has been made to characterize tamra bhasma by investigating physico-chemical changes during the whole process of its preparation. The intermediates were obtained at different steps and studied by Light microscopic, electron scan microscopic, X-ray diffraction and thermal gravimetric techniques by using standard protocols. The results clearly indicate that the complete process of bhasma preparation (shodhan and bhasmikaran) leads to the removal of free copper from the system. It begins the synthesis of copper sulphides along with some new metallic complexes, which are yet to be characterized. The whole process (different steps of triturating) reduces the particle size of the finished product to the colloidal level. The mechanism of different changes has also been explained in the paper.

 

Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Vol. 2(2), April 2003, pp. 118-125

 

Some folk herbal medicines for possible use in veterinary practices

S K Jain and Sumita Srivastava

In India, almost parallely with the various systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Yunani, Siddha, Allopathy and Homeopathy, large sections of society, mainly in rural and remote areas, still use recipes based on folk knowledge. Folk medicines are regularly providing materials for experimental drug research. There is rich folklore in India about veterinary medicine also, and about 1000 plants are already reported to be used in ethnoveterinary practices. The starting plant material for research in veterinary medicine has usually been the same drug which has proven record of useful activity in same or similar ailments in man. Many indigenous recipes used for human ailments do not figure in ethnoveterinary practices, and can lead to prospective veterinary medicine. The paper provides brief account of 25 such plants. Veterinary diseases for which these plants are already known to be used in folk medicines are also indicated. These plants need experimental work and evaluation for prospect in veterinary practices.

 

 

Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Vol. 2(2), April 2003, pp. 126-136

 

Indian civilization and the science of fingerprinting

G S Sodhi and Jasjeet Kaur

Sir William Herschel (1833-1917), an English officer, started studying fingerprints when he was posted in India during the later half of nineteenth century. He propounded the concept of ridge persistency, according to which the patterns of criss-cross lines on the fingertips or palms of an individual remain unchanged from birth till death. He also made it mandatory for the natives to impress their handprints or fingerprints on official documents. Word quickly spread that Herschel was the first pioneer to recognize the utility of fingerprints for identification purposes. However, this was fallacy, for Indians knew about the science of fingerprinting much before the English had an inkling of it.

 

 

 

Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Vol. 2(2), April 2003, pp. 137-147

 

Palm gur industry in India

K D Kamble

The paper gives an overview of the history, current status, problems and prospects of Palm Gur Industry in India, concerning different palm products.

 

 

Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Vol. 2(2), April 2003, pp. 148-158

 

Common spices and their use in traditional medicinal system of ethnic groups of Manipur state, North eastern India

H Birkumar Singh and R C Sundriyal

This investigation reports on most commonly used spices and their utility in traditional medicinal system based on household and market surveys in Manipur. A total of 38 plant species were recorded used as spices; of which 42% species were used as daily kitchen food spices. Out of the total species recorded, 13 species are cultivated while 8 species were directly collected from wild habitats only, and remaining 17 species are either cultivated or collected from natural habitats. The highest market price was fetched by Piper nigrum, Curcuma caesia and Cinnamomum zeylanicum. A total of 23 spices were used to cure 21 diseases in traditional medicinal system, mainly for cough (11 spp.), fever (6 spp.), paralysis (4 spp.), infertility and urinary troubles (3 species each), toothache, menstrual disorder, snake-bite and vertigo (2 species each) and many other diseases. The production potential of cultivated spices was fairly good for Coriandrum sativum, Allium odorum, Zingiber officinale. Some of the spices such as Allim hookeri, A. odorum, and A. porum are not commonly grown in any other part of the country. It is emphasized that these species should be protected in natural habitats, and multiplied for large-scale use at household level to avoid pressure in wild areas.

 

Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Vol. 2(2), April 2003, pp. 159-169

 

A brief introduction to Ayurvedic system of medicine and some of its problems

M V Viswanathan, P M Unnikrishnan, Katsuko Komatsu, Hirotoshi Fushimi and Purusotam Basnet

The paper gives a brief introduction to the Ayurvedic system and some of the problems faced by it especially with respect to identification of drugs.

 

 

Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Vol. 2(2), April 2003, pp. 170-180

 

Certain scientific observations as depicted in Indian philosophical principles

Vidyanath Jha and D N Tiwari

The paper provides modern scientific interpretations of about three dozen Indian philosophical maxims (laukika nyaya sutras). The central ecological dogma of prey-predator relationship in the trophic chain has been depicted in maxims like matsya nyaya and vanabyaghra nyaya while katakarajo nyaya refers to the water purifying properties of the clearing nut. Plant based maxims refer to (a) rhizome of lotus as a favourite swan feed (b) waxy coating on a lotus leaf making water droplets spherical (c) dichasial cyme inflorescence on a kadamba ball giving an impression of synchronous flowering (d) floating endosperm in coconut present as liquid inside a hard fruit coat (e) salvadora plant bearing a paradox of bitter leaves with sweet fruits (f) plantains fruiting only once in their life cycle (g) intense smell in champac flowers with a lasting effect (h) lower internodes in sugarcane having a sweeter juice (i) compounding effect of curd and colocynth as a febrifuge. Animal based maxims refer to (a) a spider seeking refuge in its own cobweb (b) soft tortoise body protected by a hard shell (c) excretion of elephant apple seemingly intact in the pachyderm faeces (d) a scorpion getting killed while giving birth to its offspring through the process of dehiscence (e) capacity of a camel to feed upon thorny acacias (f) jumping mechanism in a frog serving an illustration to a rule in Sanskrit grammar (g) chicanery practiced by cuckoo in laying its eggs in the nest of a crow (h) movement of ants in a well defined chain (i) scotopic and photopic visions respectively of an owl and a crow (j) induction of lac colour in cotton fibre, etc. Maxims based on physical phenomena depict (a) flowing water gradually losing its speed in an irrigation channel (b) production of sound by the undulating sea waves (c) archaic method of fire production by rubbing action between wood, gem and straw (d) immiscibility of water with oil (e) mirages giving false impression of water in a desert (f) variations in lengths of shadows during different hours of the day, etc. There is a need to bring these centuries old observations to the notice of modern scientific world.

 

 

Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Vol. 2(2), April 2003, pp. 181-188

 

An investigation into the indigenous knowledge for rainfall prediction

Ranjay K Singh and B S Dwivedi

Man is the prime predictor of weather. In India, Panchang as a religious documentary source of information has played an important and significant role in weather predictions for a long time. In this study an attempt has been made to determine the level of correct prediction regarding rainfall (rainy days) predicted by Panchang and to compare the predicted data regarding rainy days for 13 years (1986-99) with the actual rainfall (rainy days) recorded by the Department of Agriculture. The study area was eastern part of Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh. In this study it is found that absolute (100%) correct predictions had been made in 13 cases (months) during this period. The level of correctness of the predictions of rainy days made by Panchang was 16.67 to 100 per cent month wise, 66.20 to 96.88 per cent year wise and 82.10 per cent as overall mean of 13 years, respectively. Out of all these years, in 79 cases Panchang overestimated the rainfall (rainy days), and in 18 cases Panchang underestimated the rainfall (rainy days). Analyses of deviation from correct predictions showed that there was zero or no deviation (absolute correct prediction) in 11.8 % cases, whereas, a reasonable limited deviation (+/- 33.33% or less) was found in 34.5% cases, which may be of some significance for future consideration.

 

 

Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Vol. 2(2), April 2003, pp. 189-201

 

Traditional pest management practices and lesser exploited natural products in Ethiopia and India: Appraisal and revalidation

Adane Tesfaye and R D Gautam

The paper focuses on the Indigenous Farmersí Technical Knowledge (IFTK) and its utilization for pest control covering an appraisal on 26 traditional pest management practices and 45 potential lesser-exploited natural products. A revalidation study on the effectiveness of fermented cattle urine and other natural products against barley aphid, D. noxia Mordov. and Welo bush cricket, D. brevipennis Raggea (3rd instar) in Ethiopia revealed that cow urine (1:6) was toxic to these insects, provided more than double increase in yield and the toxicity was at par with the treatments, viz. tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum Linn.), neem (Azadirachta indica Linn.), chilli (Capsicum annuum Linn.), garlic (Allium cepa Linn.), soap and diesel mixture at booting as well as flowering stage. Further, studies conducted on Sorghum (Sorghum vulgare Pers.)(soaked with urine for 20 min) witnessed reduced incidence of covered and loose smut by 90% and was comparable with conventional fungicides (Thiram and Apronplus). In order to ascertain the insecticidal property of cow urine, a preliminary laboratory study was conducted in India. Mortality of the banana fly, D. melanogaster Meigen treated with 3 days fermented cow urine (1:6) resulted in 79.6% mortality as against 2.8% in control and was statistically at par with garlic and 3 times more effective than NSKE (5%). Bioassay of cow urine when further carried out on the cowpea aphid, A. craccivora Koch was found as effective as garlic (Allium cepa Linn.) and Imidacloprid (0.25%).