Indian Journal of Ayurveda & Research

Ethno-medico documentation of medicinal plants inMadanapalle mandal of Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh

Goli Penchala Pratap1, Mohd Kashif Husain1, Munawwar Hussain Kazmi1, G.P.Prasad2 and G. Sudarsanam3

  1. Survey of Medicinal Plants Unit (SMPU), Central Research Institute of Unani Medicine (CRIUM) Hyberabad, Telangana, India.
  2. Regional Ayurveda Institute for Fundamental Research, Pine, Maharashtra, India.
  3. Department of Botany, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, Andra Pradesh, India.

Address for correspondence:

Pratap Goli Penchale, Survey of Medicinal Plants Unit (SMPU), Central Research Institute of Unani Medicine (CRIUM) Hyberabad, Telangana – 500038, India.



Background: The present study was conducted in Madanapalle mandal of Chittoor District, of Andhra Pradesh. Since the ages, the studied areas have been inhabited by tribal groups of three types; Yanadi, Chenchu and Sugali. These tribals settled in thick forest zones and not much aware about the lifestyle of urban civilization. They attain their day-to-day needs like food, medicine, fabrics and shelter from nature only. Tribal people have obtained good therapeutic knowledge on trial and error basis with their each day experiences to deal with some health related problems. With this background, the present study was undertaken to document the traditional ethno-medicinal knowledge.

Objective: The main objective of this study is to document the first-hand information on age old therapeutic knowledge of tribal and rural people of the Madanapalle mandal of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh.

Materials and methods: Folklore information on therapeutic practices was collected by the conversation with traditional healers, tribal doctors and elder people during the field trips on the basis of interviews, through which local names, plant parts (used), the method of preparation and dosage were recorded. The plants were systematically authenticated with the support of related flora.

Results: The study revealed 46 folk-therapeutic claims upon 41 species belongs to 38 genera (Angiosperms) of 26 families against 24 types of disease conditions.

Conclusion: The folklore knowledge on herbal therapies is still in-practice among the tribal communities and rural people of the studied area. Scientific validation of these claims by the advanced scientific studies may provide new drugs of natural origin.

Keywords: Ethno-medico, medicinal plants, therapeutic uses, Madanapalle, Chittoor

How to cite this article: Pratap G P, Husain K, Kazmi M H, Sudarshsanam G, Prasad G.P. Ethno-medico documentation of medicinal plants in Madanapalle mandal of Chittoor District, Andra Pradesh. Indian J Ayurveda Res 2018;1:11-18


The folk therapies came to existence from the beginning of the human civilization.  In ancient times nature was the only essential source for the nourishment of life on the earth. Besides this, natural therapies by the use of natural products have been the absolute source for the wellbeing of the human population. In recent era, the use of modern medicine has been considerably increased; on the other hand, traditional knowledge was gradually decreased due to rapid urbanization and dependence of man on modern healthcare systems [1-3]. Prolonged use of modern synthetic drugs brought so many side effects.  The world has realized the importance of the natural systems of health care by the use of natural products. The indigenous people are more reliable source of information. The use of plants as folk medicine by the local communities has been practiced since centuries and passes on through different generations. Traditional systems like; Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Yoga, Naturopathy, and Homeopathy have been evolved by these practices [4,5], where the major source of drug is nature and mostly depend upon medical plants. The documentation of the traditional knowledge is either lacking or scattered. With this view, the present study was undertaken to collect first-hand information on folklore knowledge from the tribal people of Madanapalle mandal of Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh followed by its proper documentation. The core beauty of this area is the vicinity of a very delightful and enthusiastic “Horsley Hills” hill station [6,7].

Horsley Hills are abundantly vegetated with a cooler atmosphere, in distinction to the hot and dry surroundings of the Chittoor district. This hill station is inhabited by dry deciduous, evergreen and scrub vegetation (Figs 7, 8, 9) The indigenous vegetation of this area is full of many rare, endemic and endangered species like; Diplocentrum recurvum, Habenaria rariflora, Rhynchosia beddomei, Syzygium alternifolium,  Rhynchosia hirta, Litsea deccanensis, Curcuma neilgherrensis, Kalanchoe bhidei, Solanum seaforthianum, Dioscorea oppositifolia, Nothopegia beddome  and Abutilon grandifolium (8-9).  Besides exotic range of fauna and flora, a ground orchid called the long-leaf Diplocentrum was re-discovered after a century from the Horsley Hill region. Several species of lichen have also been documented from this area.

Madanapalle mandal has been inhabited by three types of tribal groups; Yanadi, Chenchu and Sugali [7-10] (Figs. 10, 11). These tribes are of low-income class, used to practice old custom and traditions and mostly depend upon farming. Lack of interaction with modern urban civilization has kept them closer to nature where they obtain many of their day-to-day needs. The locals in these areas, in particular elders (men and women) and traditional healers (men), have centuries-long old knowledge about the use of plants for the treatment of diverse common diseases or conditions.

Materials and methods

Study Area

Madanapalle mandal is situated in Chittoor District of the Andhra Pradesh; at 13°24′ – 13°42′ North latitudes, 78°24′ – 78°34′ East longitudes. Chittoor is a part of Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh. The district occupies an area of 15,359 square Km (5,930 sq m). Chittoor district lies extreme south of the Andhra Pradesh state approximately (Figs. 1 – 6). Thirty (30) percent of the total land area is covered by forests in the district. The soils in the district constitute red loamy 57%, red sandy 34% and the remaining 9% is covered by black clay, black loamy, black sandy and red clay.

Ethnobotanical Survey

The survey was conducted in 2011 and the representative villages (hotspots) were explored in the study area. Beside the rural people, the study areas were the inhabitants of different tribal groups; Yanadi, Chenchus and Sugali. The ethno-medico claims were obtained by the process of interview which was based on questionnaires and conversations in the local Telugu language with nearly eighty informants between the age groups of 40-70 years. The questionnaire allowed responses on the local names of the  plant, useful plant parts, method of preparation (i.e. paste, powder and juice), mode of the administration, dosage, form of usage (either fresh or dried) and whether the plants used either singly or in combination of other plants, minerals and salts.

All the plants were taxonomically identified with the help of “The Flora of Presidency of Madras” by Gamble (11) and other related works [12-16]. The process of collection of voucher specimens, preservation, herbaria and technique for the collection of ethno medicinal information was followed as per the standard methods described by Jain and Rao (17).

Results and Discussion

The study was commenced in fourteen local villages and adjacent forest areas of Madanpalle mandal. Most of the tribal people of this mandal procure their raw medicinal plants and their parts (drugs) from the vegetation of the Horsley hills during the rainy season and store it properly for its utilization throughout the year. The tribal and rural communities believe that Horsley hill station is blessed with rare flora which is a tremendous source of herbal remedies for various diseases and conditions. These people used to come at least once in a year to collect the Ethnomedicinal herbs.

The work revealed forty six (46) folk-therapeutic claims on forty one (41) species, of 38 genera (Angiosperms) belongs to twenty six (26) families (Table 1). The study brought to the light on the use of medicinal plant as therapeutics against twenty four (24) different types of disease conditions. Of these claims maximum (eight) were recorded on cold and cough,  followed by fever (five claims), body pains (four claims),  headache (four claims), painful swellings (four claims), anthelmintic (three claims), leucorrhoea (three claims), eczema (two claims), galactagogue (two claims), and single claim on anemia, burning micturition, dandruff, gonorrhea, healing property, Jaundice, Menorrhagia, oral ulcer, peptic ulcers, rashes due to allergy, sore throat, stomachache, throat infection  and urinary tract infections (UTIs)  (Table 1, Fig. 12).

The collected data showed maximum number of claims on the plants of families Asteraceae and Caesalpiniaceae (six plants each) followed by Asclepiadacea, Ebenaceae, Gentianaceae (two plants each). While, single claim collected on other families Alangiaceae, Amaranthaceae, Apocynaceae, Boraginaceae, Brassicaceae, Burseraceae, Celastraceae, Dipterocarpaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Linaceae, Lobeliaceae, Lythraceae, Malvaceae, Mimosaceae, Rutaceae, Sapindaceae, Solanaceae and Stemoniaceae (Fig.13).Maximum number of plants belongs to herbs (19) category, followed by trees (14), climbers (4) and then, shrubs (4) (Fig.14).

Whole plant (16) was used maximum for therapeutic purposes. While, frequently used plant parts were bark (8), fruit (8), followed by root (3), gum (2), leaf (2), Seeds (2) and bulb (1) (Fig.15). The drugs were described in different forms; maximum (11) as decoction, followed by powder (9), paste (8) and in crude form (6).  Some parts are usually prescribed to use as incense (5) and infusion (2) (Fig. 16).  Of these, nearly 68% of therapies were prescribed to take  internally  for the treatment of different ailments like cold and cough, fever, body pains,  worm infestation, leucorrhoea, galactogauge, anemia, burning micturition, gonorrhea,  jaundice, menorrhagia, oral ulcers, peptic ulcers, soreness of throat, throat inflammation and urinary tract infections. Whilst, 22% were prescribed to use as external applications, specifically in case of painful swellings, eczema, dandruff, wounds and rashes due to allergy. Only 10% of the drugs were claimed to be given in the form smoke to inhale them for the treatment of severe cold and cough, stomachache and headache.


The data obtained during the study has also been correlated with recent and past available literature (18-25) and it has been found that most of the new folk-medicinal claims are duly reported in the present study. Of these some important medicinal plants are; Abelmoschus ficulneus, Acalypha alnifolia (Fig.17), Ceropegia bulbosa (Fig.18), Commiphora caudata, Diospyros vera (Fig.19), Gardenia resinifera, Hugonia mystax (Fig.20), Lobelia alsinoides (Fig.21) and Solanum giganteum (Fig.22). However, the mode of administration, ingredients and parts used are distinctly different from the earlier published reports.


Table No. 1: Enumeration of the ethno-medico-botanical claims

S.No. Botanical Name/Habit/Family Name/Local name/ Parts Used Tribal Claim


1. Abelmoschus ficulneus (L.) Wight & Arn. /Herb/Malvaceae/Nela benda/ Fruit Young fruits are exposed to fire and consumed orally to relieve the dry cough.
2. Acacia horrida (L.) Willd. /Tree/ Mimosaceae/Paki tumma/ Bark External application of powder on scalp is used to during the bath to eradicate dandruff
3. Acalypha alnifolia Klein ex Willd. /Herb/ Euphorbiaceae/ Konada kuppinta/ Whole plant Approx. 5 grams of the paste made by boiling the whole plant, is administered orally to relieve from leucorrhea
4. Acilepis divergens (Roxb.) H.Rob. & Skvarla /Herb/Asteraceae/ Garitikamma/ Whole plant The whole plant is grounded into a paste and its external application on affected area is useful in curing eczema
5. Adenostemma lavenia (L.) Kuntze /Herb/ Asteraceae/ Panjaku/ Whole plant A paste made by grounding the whole plant along with 2-5 grams of camphor. External application of the on the affected area is useful to relieve from rashes caused by allergy
6. Alangium salvifolium (L.f.) Wangerin /Tree/ Alangiaceae/OOduga/ Bark Approx.10 ml of infusion prepared by bark is given orally for a week to relieve from leucorrhea.
7. Allmania nodiflora (L.) R.Br. ex Wight /Herb/ Amaranthaceae/ Gurugu koora/ Whole plant The whole plant is grounded into a paste; applied externally to get relief from painful swellings.
8. Baccharoides anthelmintica (L.) Moench. /Herb or Undershub/ Asteraceae/ Adavi jilakarra/ Seeds 1.      Approx.10 ml decoction is given orally to get relief from menorrhagia

2.       Claimed that above decoction is also  useful to cure dry cough and body aches

9. Blainvillea acmella (L.) Philipson /Herb/ Asteraceae/ Akalkakarra Whole plant Oral administration of approx.10 ml decoction made from the whole plant is useful to relieve from body pains
10. Caesalpinia pulcherrima (L.) Sw. /Shrub/ Caesalpiniaceae/ Pamiditangedu/ Seeds Pounded seeds are mixed with bark powder of Lannea coromandelica; mixture is applied externally for quick healing of wounds
11. Carissa spinarum L. / Tree/ Apocynaceae/ Kalivi/ Fruits Fresh fruits (2-3) are good  remedy to cure anemia
12. Centipeda minima (L.) A.Braun & Asch. /Herb/ Asteraceae/ Bhuchamanthi/ Whole plant Drinking approx.10 ml decoction prepared by the powder of whole plant for one week duration is reported to alleviate dry cough.
13. Ceropegia bulbosa Roxb.

/Climber/ Asclepiadaceae/ Nimmataayi gadda/

Bulb Consuming one bulb daily relieves from severe burning micturition
14. Chamaecrista absus (L.) H.S.Irwin & Barneby /Herb/ Caesalpiniaceae/ Chanupalavittulu Whole plant External application of paste made by pounding the whole plants relieves from eczema.
15. Coldenia procumbens L. / Herb/ Boraginaceae/ Cheppu tattaku/ Whole plant Approx.10 ml decoction is used to get relief from body ache and headache.
16. Commiphora caudata (Wight & Arn.) Engl. /Tree/ Burseraceae Bark The fresh bark is exposed to fire  and smoke is inhaled to get immediate relief from cold and headache
17. Dalbergia Paniculata Roxb. /Tree/ Fabaceae/ Jalari chettu/ Bark Approx.10 ml of decoction is given to children to cure whooping cough
18. Diospyros montana Roxb. /Tree/ Ebenaceae/ Yerra goda chettu/ Fruits Fresh fruits are anthelmintic and used to cure different types of worm infections
19. Diospyros vera (Lour.) A.Chev. /Tree/ Ebenaceae Fruits  Edible fruits are used as galactagogue.
20. Enicostema axillare (Poir. ex Lam.) A.Raynal / Herb/ Gentianaceae/ Gulimidi mokka/ Whole plant 1. Approx.10 ml decoction is given orally in children to get relieve from whooping cough.

2. The same is also claimed to relieve from severe pain and inflammation in throat.

21. Exacum pedunculatum L. /Herb/ Gentianaceae/ Pedda Gulimidi mokka/ Whole plant 1.      Oral administration of one teaspoonful powder is given to relieve from chronic cough.

2.      Same is also given orally to cure from intermittent fevers

22. Gardenia resinifera Roth / Tree/ Rubiaceae/ Verri bikki/ Gum Gum is used as incense to relieve severe headache.
23. Gymnosporia emarginata (Willd.) Thwaites /Tree/ Celastraceae Fruits The powder is given orally to relieve oral ulcers.
24. Haldina cordifolia (Roxb.) Ridsdale /Tree/ Rubiaceae/Rudra ganapa chettu/ Bark Approx.10 ml decoction is given to cure leucorrhoea
25. Hedyotis corymbosa (L.) Lam.        /Herb/ Rubiaceae/ Verri vemu/ Whole plant The whole plant is pounded into a powder. Oral administration of approx.       5 gm powder in the morning and evening is useful to cure fever.
26. Holostemma ada-kodien Schult. /Climber/ Asclepiadaceae/ Palagurugu/ Roots Tuberous roots are pounded to powder and one full teaspoon consumed daily as galactagogue.
27. Hugonia mystax L. /Climbing Shrub or Climbing flax/ Linaceae/ Kaki beera/ Root Oral administration of approx. 10 ml is useful to get relieve from peptic ulcers
28. Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit.

/Herb / Lamiaceae/ Danthi tulasi/

Whole plant The whole plant powder is used as incense to eradicate mosquitoes
29. Launaea intybacea (Jacq.) Beauverd / Herb/ Asteraceae/ Verri kusuma/ Whole plant Oral administration of approx. 5 ml decoction is useful to cure intermittent fevers
30. Lepidium didymum L. / Herb/ Brassicaceae/ Adeli/ Whole plant External application of whole plant extract relieves from painful swellings
31. Lobelia alsinoides Lam. /Herb/ Lobeliaceae/ Dhupapu mokka/ Whole plant External application of paste made from the whole plant relieves from painful swellings.
32. Naringi crenulata (Roxb.) Nicolson /Tree/ Rutaceae/Verri velaga/ Fruit and bark Decoction prepared by fruits and bark, is given orally in children to get relief from intermittent fevers.
33. Rotala densiflora (Roth) Koehne /Herb/ Lythraceae/ Neeravalli/ Whole plant The powder of the whole plant is used as incense to reduce the stomachache in children.
34. Saraca asoca (Roxb.) Willd. /Tree/ Caesalpiniaceae/ Ashokamu/ Bark 1.      Fresh barks of S. asoca and Chukrasia tabularis are kept in copper bowl containing water for 24 hours. The water is used as a vaginal wash to cure urinary tract infections (UTIs).

2.      The same is also claimed to cure worm infestations, good anthelmintic.

35. Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Merr. /Tree/ Sapindaceae/ Konda kunkudu/ Bark Oral administration of Bark powder (approx. 5 gm) daily once for a month relieves from gonorrhea
36. Senna italica Mill. /Herb/ Caesalpiniaceae/ Nela tangedu/ Fruits Oral administration of approx.10 ml of the decoction made from the fruits  is given for a week to cure jaundice
37. Senna occidentalis (L.) Link           /Shrub/ Caesalpiniaceae/ Kasinda/ Leaf Leaf paste is mixed with lime water and applied externally to get relief from painful swellings
38. Senna sophera (L.) Roxb. / Shrub/ Caesalpiniaceae/ Konda kasinda or chennangi/ Leaves Leaves are pounded into powder. Approx. 20 gm of leaf powder is mixed with     5 gm of garlic paste. Oral administration of the powder mixture in luke warm is given to get relief from fever and body ache
39. Shorea robusta Gaertn. / Tree/ Dipterocarpaceae/ Jalari chettu/ Gum 1.      Gum is used as incense to relieve cold and cough in children.

2.      The same is also claimed to relieve from headache in adults.

40. Solanum giganteum Jacq. /Shrub/ Solanaceae/ Paintilikam/ Fruits 1.      Boiled fruits are used as  anthelmintic

2.      The same is also claimed to relieve from soreness of throat.

41. Stemona tuberosa Lour./ Climber/ Stemoniaceae/ Kanapatige/ Roots Consuming roots cure worm infections.


Fig. 3


The folklore knowledge on medicinal plants as herbal therapies is still persistent among the tribal and rural communities’ residing in remote forest areas. These communities are still fulfilling their primary healthcare needs and are largely depend on medicinal plants. The traditional knowledge and newer information on the use of plants as ethno-medicine in these areas has a great potential to cure different types of disease and conditions. These findings are categorically documented in the present reported work.  Further, scientific validation of these claims is required by the use of latest advanced pharmacological and clinical studies that could lead to find new drugs of natural origin.



Director General (DG) – CCRUM, New Delhi and Director CRIUM, Hyderabad for all necessary support.



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Fig 1-5 Studied areas in Madanapalle mandal of Chittoor district

Fig.12 Frequency of claims on different disease conditions

Fig. 13 Family wise Frequency of Plants

Fig. 14 Habit and Utilization (%) of Folk-Medicine

 Fig. 15 Frequency of plant or parts

Fig. 16 Frequency of dosage forms