Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge
Vol. 5(3), July 2006, pp. 323-326

Folk medicine used in gynecological and other related problems
by rural population of Haryana

J P Yadav1*, Suresh Kumar & Priyanka Siwach2

1Department of Biosciences, M D University, Rohtak 124001, Haryana

2Department of Biotechnology, Guru Jambeshwar University, Hisar, Haryana

E-mail: yadav1964@rediffmail.com

Received 3 February 2005; revised 24 March 2005

Traditionally, the rural women prefer plant medicines rather than modern medicines for abortion, menstrual trouble, conception disorders, sterility, delivery problems, etc. Some ethnomedicinal observations made from the rural areas of Haryana, revealed valuable phytotherapeutic information on the various gynecological disorders. Uses of 17 plant species for menstrual disorders, 15 species for leucorrhoea, 6 species for delivery problems, 5 species for gonorrhea, 4 species for lactation troubles, 3 species for abortion and 2 species for miscarriage have been enumerated. Information on 52 plants with their botanical and vernacular names, family, prescriptions with therapeutic doses and uses are presented. Documentation of such ethnomedicinal data on biological resources will be steps for bioprospecting.

Keywords:     Folk medicine, Gynecological disorders, Haryana, Medicinal plants

IPC Int. Cl.8:  A61K36/00, A61P7/00, A61P13/06, A61P15/00,A61P15/02, A61P15/06, A61P15/14, A61P15/29, A61P15/41

 

Globally, about 85% of the traditional medicines used for primary healthcare derived from plants1. Over 7500 plant species are used by 4635 communities for human and veterinary healthcare. It is estimated that of 20,000 species of agricultural forms in India alone, about 9,500 species are of ethnobotanical importance. World Health Organization has listed over 21,000 plant species used around the world for medicinal purposes. In India, about 2,500 plant species belonging to more than 1000 genera are being used in Indigenous systems of Medicine. The majority of medicinal plants are higher flowering plants representing about 158 families2. India is tenth among the plant rich countries of the world and fourth among the Asian countries3. Much of this wealth of knowledge is totally becoming lost as traditional culture gradually disappears4. Much of the current work in ethnobotany is concerned with the loss of traditional knowledge and the preservation of biological diversity in remote parts of the world, where culture and their ecosystems are being destroyed by development. Ethnobotanical studies have become the subject of great medicinal importance. Frequent ethnobotanical surveys made during past few years, indicate that valuable information about medicinal uses of plants may be obtained by personal interviews and field visits with inhabitants of particular locality. There are valuable regional records of indigenous plants to treat different ailments. Important among them are of plants used by primitive people to affect fertility, conception and abortion, obstetrics and gynecological disorders, leucorrhoea, influenza, leucoderma, leprosy, skin diseases, piles, eye disorders, rheumatism and infectious diseases5-17.

The paper focuses on the plants used by people of some districts of Haryana for women health especially gynecological problems. The study covered Rohtak (28°54˘N & 76°38˘E), Jhajjar (28°59˘N & 76°18˘E), Bhiwani (28°50˘N & 76°10˘E), Mahendergarh (28°17˘N & 76°14˘E), Rewari (28°11˘N & 76°37˘E), Gurgaon (28°27˘N & 77°01˘E), Faridabad (29°24˘N & 77°18˘E) and Sonepat (28°59˘N&77°01˘E) districts of Haryana. The total area and population of these districts are 18,895 Km2 & 99, 58, 506, respectively.

 

Methodology

The study was conducted in eight district of Haryana and was based on interviews, informal discussions and observations. Ethnomedicinal data were recorded following the standard procedures by interacting with herbal practitioners and elder women of the village with the knowledge of herbal medicine18, 19. Interviews were held in the villages and the derived information was recorded.Plant specimens collected during different seasons were identified with the help of local floras and herbarium specimens of Forest Research Institute, Dehradun20. The voucher specimens were deposited in the Herbarium of Biosciences Department, M D University, Rohtak.

 

Observations

Plants used in various gynecological disorders and other related aspects, arranged with botanical name, family, vernacular name and uses have been enumerated:

 

Abortion

Gossypium harbaceum L. (Malvaceae), Bari

Root bark decoction is used for abortion.

Plumbago zeylanica L. (Plumbaginaceae), Chatawar

   Root decoction is used as abortificient, even in the later stage of pregnancy

Sesamum indicum Linn. (Pedaliaceae), Jangli Til

   Half grounded seeds mixed with ghee & sugar are taken with hot milk.

 

Delivery

Achyranthes aspera L. (Amaranthaceae), Ola Kanta

   Root paste is applied on hypogastrium to relieve excessive labour pain.

Bombax ceiba Linn. (Bombacaceae), Semal

   Stem bark powder is given with water to increase labour and for smooth delivery.

Caesalpinia bonduc Roxb. (Caesalpiniaceae), Karanjava

   Seed powder is given to women suffering from puerperal fever.

Citrullus colocynthis L. (Cucurbitaceae), Gadumba

   Root paste made with cow milk is applied on hypogastrium for easy delivery.

Ocimum sanctum L. (Labiatae), Tulsi

   Leaf juice is taken with gur and cow milk to relieve pain after delivery.

Ricinus communis L. (Euphorbiaceae), Arand

   Seed oil is given to relieve constipation during pregnancy.

Gonorrhoea

   Bacopa monnieri Pennel (Scrophulariaceae), Brahmi

Plant extract is taken to treat gonorrhea.

Corchorus depressus C. Chr. (Tiliaceae), Kurand

   Leaf extract is applied on women genital for treatment.

Ficus glomerata Roxb. (Moraceae), Gular

   Fruit powder is taken with mishri to treat gonorrhea.

Opuntia dillenii Haw. (Cactaceae), Chhitar

   Baked fruit juice is taken with honey to treat gonorrhea.

Sida cordifolia L. (Malavaceae), Kharenti

Seed decoction is given for gonorrhea.

 

Lactation

Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f. (Liliaceae), Gavarpatha

   Leaf pulp and turmeric paste is applied on breasts to cure swelling during early lactation.

Asparagus racemosus Willd. (Liliaceae), Phusar

   Dried root powder is taken with honey or milk to treat lactation problems.

Clerodendrum phlomidis L.f. (Verbenaceae), Arni

Leaf paste is applied to increase lactation.

Zea mays (L.) Sweet (Gramineae), Makki

Half ripe grains are prescribed to increase lactation.

 

Leucorrhoea

Abutilon indicum L. (Malvaceae), Kanghi

   Root powder is taken for the treatment of leucorrhoea.

Acacia arabica Willd. (Mimosaceae), Kikar

   Paste made from 10 gm gum and two leaves of Amaltas is taken with cow milk. Powder of unripe fruit, flowers, and leaves mixed in equal quantity with sugar and water is taken to relieve from leucorrhoea.

Adhatoda vasica Nees (Acanthaceae), Bansa

Root bark juice is taken with honey.

Asparagus racemosus Willd. (Liliaceae), Phusar

   Root decoction is given to the women suffering from leucorrhoea.

Clerodendrum phlomidis L. f. (Verbenaceae), Arni

   Root decoction is given in leucorrhoea.

Convolvulus microphyllus Sieb. ex Sreng. (Convolvulaceae), Dodak

   Whole plant paste with equal amount of misri and milk is taken.

Dalbergia sisoo Roxb. (Papilionaceae), Shisham

Tender leaves made paste are taken with misri and milk.

Emblica offcinalis Gaertan. (Euphorbiaceae), Amla

   Fruit pulp mixed with Tribulus fruit powder is taken with honey.

Ficus virens Ait. (Moraceae), Pilkahn

   Leaves are boiled in water and water is used as a wash for women genital.

Lawsonia inermis L. (Lythraceae), Mahendi

Root bark decoction is given for leucorrhoea.

Mangifera indica L. (Anacardiaceae), Aam

   One tablet prepared by mixing stem bark, leaves and flowers in equal quantity is put into vagina daily for two weeks.

Pedalium murex L. (Pedaliaceae), Bara Gokhru

   Fruit powder mixed with Khand (powdered sugar) and Ghee is taken.

Terminelia arjuna (Roxb.)Wight & Arn., (Combretaceae), Arjan Stem bark powder is taken with water.

Triumfetta rhomboidea (Tiliaceae), Bhurat

Root powder is used in leucorrhoea.

 

Menstruation

Achyranthes aspera L. (Amaranthaceae), Ola Kanta

   Root powder is taken with cow milk to relieve menstrual disorder.

Adhatoda vasica Nees (Acanthaceae), Bansa

   Decoction of 5-7 leaves mixed with 1 gm seeds each of Dacus carota and Raphanus sativus is taken to regulate menstrual cycle.

Azadirachta indica A. Juss. (Meliaceae),

   Warm leaves are applied on hypogastria to relieve painful menstruation.

Bauhinia variegata L. (Caesalpiniaceae), Kachnar

Stem bark decoction is given in menorrhagia.

Cardiospermum helicacabum L. (Sapindaceae), Karavi

   Leaf extract is taken to relieve menstrual disorder and irritable uterus.

Chenopodium Ambrosioides L. (Chenopodiaceae ), Khatua

   Leaf decoction given to treat painful menstrual flow.

Convolvulus microphyllus Sieb. ex Spreng. (Convolvulaceae), Dodak Plant paste with equal amount of misri and milk is taken.

Cynodon dactylon L. (Gramineae), Doob Whole plant paste of Doob and bud of Punica granatum is taken with filtrate of boiled rice in scanty and irregular periods.

Gossypium harbaceum L. (Malvaceae), Bari

   Root decoction is given in amenorrhea and dysmenorrhoea.

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L. (Verbenaceae), Harshingar

4-5 tender leaves are taken with pepper.

Phyllanthus niruri Hook. f. (Euphorbiaceae), Bhui amla

   Root paste is taken with filtrate of boiled rice to regulate menstruation.

Polyalthia longifolia Thw. (Annonaceae), Ashok

Root bark powder is given in menstrual disorder.

Ricinus communis L. (Euphorbiaceae), Arand

Warm leaves are applied on hypogastria.

Saraca asoca (Roxb.) de Wilde (Caesalpiniaceae), Asok

   Stem bark decoction is taken to relieve menstrual disorder and haemorrhoids of uterus.

Sesamum indicum L. (Pedaliaceae), Til

   Mixture of half grounded seeds, Gur and Ghee is taken with milk to relieve amenorrhea.

Tecomella undulata Seem. (Bignoniaceae), Ruhera

   Stem bark powder is given to women suffering from excessive bleeding.

Withania somnifera Dunal (Solanaceae), Asgandh

   Stem bark powder is taken with misri and water to regulate menstrual disorder.

 

Miscarriage

Butea monosperma (Lam.) Kuntze (Papilionaceae), Dhak One leaf is boiled in milk; the leaf is discarded and milk is given to women to clean the uterus.

Trichodesma amplexicaule DC. (Boraginaceae), Rani Root juice is given to women, who have suffered a miscarriage. The recipe cleans the uterus.

 

Discussion

In most villages of Haryana, normally there were one or two elders who were familiar with the traditional medicines. These medicine men called Vaidji, Syana or Bhagat are respected in the area. Haryanavi folk medicine, practiced mainly by persons of over 50 yrs age with their long experience, are capable of treating various diseases. These people usually use dried plant parts as traditional medicines. The crude is either used singly or in combination with other materials of plant, animal or mineral origin. Such medicines are prepared under special method of heating, roasting, extraction with water, oil, milk, fat or even animal urine, fermentation under specifically controlled condition or regulated grinding. The final products used in traditional medicines are powders (Churnas), concentrated extracts or pastes (Avalehas / Chatani), juices (Rakh), decoction (Kadahas) and oil or fats (Teil / Ghritas). The medicines are given orally or by external applications.

In majority of the cases, decoction is drunk or rubbed on the body to cure ailment(s); in some cases (skin ailments) the patient is given a bath of the decoction. Paste and oil are mostly applied externally to treat skin ailment. Paste is also plastered to set dislocated or fractured bones or for muscular pain. Powder of the plant is taken orally in majority of the cases. The powder preparations given orally are taken either with honey, crystalline sugar, Gur, cow milk or water.

The local inhabitants have strong faith in folk medicine and are well versed with the utilization of plants of their surroundings through trial and error methods. These people are using the preparations from time immemorial without knowing their effective constituents21. The collection, identification and documentation of ethnomedicinal data on biological resources are inevitable steps for bioprospecting22. To understand the therapeutic potential of the traditional medicine, there is a need for more studies of tradition healthcare practices through pharmacological and clinical research.

 

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