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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-25

Documentation and validation of local health traditions of Hassan district, Karnataka

1 Central Ayurveda Research Institute, Bengaluru, India
2 Bureau of Indian Standards, New Delhi, India
3 Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, New Delhi, India
4 Central Ayurveda Research Institute, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Submission31-Jan-2022
Date of Acceptance18-Oct-2022
Date of Web Publication30-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Shashidhar H Doddamani
Central Ayurveda Research Institute, Kanakapura Main Road, Thalagattapura, Bengaluru 560 109, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jdras.jdras_18_22

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BACKGROUND: The documentation of ethno-medicinal claims is of significant value in drug research. The present study was conducted to document and validate the information related to the traditional uses of medicinal plants used by the local health practitioners of Hassan district. METHODS: In the present study, different local health traditions prevalent in Hassan district of Karnataka, documented during the medico-ethno-botanical survey program during October 2017 and March 2018, were presented systematically. The data were collected from traditional healers of the survey area through personal interviews using a prescribed format, and the collected information is validated by referring 22 books related to the classical literature, recent compilations from the classical literature, published literature listing home remedies, Sangraha grantha (compendium), and Nighantu (lexicons) related to medicinal plants. RESULTS: During the survey, a total of 16 folklore claims frequently used in treating 12 different disease conditions were documented. Among the 16 folk claims, two are used as veterinary medicines, and two are food preparations. Sarpa visha (snakebite), Vrana (wound), Raktarsha (bleeding piles), Bhagna (fracture), Jvara (fever), etc. are the most frequently treated disease conditions. About eight formulations are indicated internally seven are used externally, and one formulation is being used for both internal and external purposes. Leaves are the frequently used in different dosage forms such as paste, powder, juice, and poultice. CONCLUSIONS: Since the documentation of indigenous knowledge about medicinal plants is the need of the time, this article could serve as baseline data regarding the traditional claims in treating different disease conditions. The documented data can also serve as a base for developing new medicines by scientific studies.

Keywords: Ayurveda, ethno-medicine, local health tradition, medicinal plants

How to cite this article:
Doddamani SH, Naik R, Vendrapati RR, Nagayya S, Dixit AK, Bhat S, Tripathi AK, Vij P, Rath C, Mangal AK, Srikanth N. Documentation and validation of local health traditions of Hassan district, Karnataka. J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci 2023;8:19-25

How to cite this URL:
Doddamani SH, Naik R, Vendrapati RR, Nagayya S, Dixit AK, Bhat S, Tripathi AK, Vij P, Rath C, Mangal AK, Srikanth N. Documentation and validation of local health traditions of Hassan district, Karnataka. J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Sep 22];8:19-25. Available from: http://www.jdrasccras.com/text.asp?2023/8/1/19/366294

  Introduction Top

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the demand for medicinal plants in both developing and developed countries for use in traditional medicine and in contemporary and alternative medicine.[1] In India, plants and plant products are considered vital ingredients of traditional medicines for the treatment of various diseases.[2] The impact of traditional medicine systems in India’s public healthcare system is substantially high, and medicine is intimately interwoven with religiosity and ethnicity.[3] Therefore, medicinal plants’ use in India has been documented in the ancient literature.[4]

Even today, in most remote areas, people still rely on various plants and plant products available in their surroundings. India is one of the world’s 12 mega diversity centers having rich vegetation with 47,000 plant species and a wide variety of medicinal plants, along with the tradition of plant-based knowledge distributed among the vast numbers of ethnic groups.[5] As per the available data, there are about 8000 plant species and more than 200 animals, and mineral sources are being used by 4639 ethnic communities in India.[6]

The knowledge of ethno-medicine develops through sharing experiences and is typically passed orally between generations. However, the present lacunae are that there is a lack of systemic documentation of indigenous knowledge of using medicinal plants for healing human ailments. This valuable knowledge is in danger of becoming extinct because of deforestation, habitat degradation, biodiversity loss, and modern civilization.[7] Documentation and critical analysis of different local health traditions (LHTs) could provide some new leads in the field of drug development. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also taken a keen interest in documenting the use of medicinal plants by native peoples from different parts of the world.[8] During a preliminary survey of ethno-medicinal plants in Arakalagud, Alur, Holenarsipura, and Hassan talukas of Hassan district, Karnataka, Ravikumar and Theerthavathy[9] listed 93 medicinal plants with 14 high demanded species. Therefore, the present study was undertaken in forest areas of Hassan district, Karnataka, to assess plant-based ethno-medicinal practices and to document and validate the collected data with the help of classical Ayurveda texts.

Study area

Lying between 12° 13′ and 13° 33′ North latitudes and 75° 33′ and 76° 38′ East longitude, Hassan district has a total area of 6826.15 km². The district is surrounded by Chikmagalur district to the North-West, Chitradurga district to the North, Tumkur district to the East, Mandya district to the South-East, Mysore to the South, Kodagu district to the South-West, and Dakshina Kannada district to the West [Figure 1]. The greatest length of the district, from South to North, is about 129 kilometers, and its most incredible breadth, from East to West, is about 116 kilometers. The district has eight talukas, 38 hoblies, and 2369 villages. The population is 5.67 lakhs, and the average rainfall is about 1031 mms annually. Around 70% of the population depends on agriculture. Coffee, black pepper, potato, paddy, and sugarcane are the primary crops.
Figure 1: Study area map of Hassan district, Karnataka

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  Materials and Methods Top

A medico-ethno-botanical survey was conducted to access the distribution and availability of medicinal plant species in different forest areas of Hassan district during October 2017 and March 2018. Folk-medicinal claims and information on LHTs from traditional practitioners were collected and documented. A list of traditional practitioners in the study area was prepared by making an effort to represent all parts of the district, and the data were collected by direct interview method in a prescribed format designed by Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences. Details regarding the traditional practitioner, plant/plants used in the treatment, disease condition treated, part used, method of preparation, route of administration, dose, dosage form, etc., were also noted during the interview. Expert taxonomists identified and authenticated the plants by referring to different textbooks related to medicinal plants and botanical floras.[10],[11],[12] The plant material was collected, and a voucher specimen was also deposited in the Central Ayurveda Research Institute, Bengaluru museum for future reference. Field images of medicinal plants used by local healers were documented ([Figure 2]).
Figure 2: Ethno-medicinal plants of Hassan district, Karnataka

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  Results and Discussion Top

Folk-medicinal claims and information on LHTs prevalent in the different areas of Hassan district, Karnataka, were documented and presented systematically. During the survey, a total of 16 folk claims practiced by traditional practitioners for various diseases and illnesses were documented along with their parts used and the route and method of administration [Table 1]. Among the 16 recorded folk claims, two were used as veterinary medicines, and two were food preparations. These claims were found indicated in 12 different disease conditions such as Sarpa visha (snakebite), Vrana (wound), Raktarsha (bleeding piles), Bhagna (fracture), Jvara (fever), Tvak vikara (skin diseases), and Shukra dosha (premature ejaculation), etc. About eight formulations are indicated internally: seven are used externally, and one formulation is being used for both internal and external purposes. It is observed that leaves are the most frequently used parts in the preparation of medicine. Because the collection of the whole plant, roots, and stem may cause a severe threat to local flora, the use of leaves reflects the sustainable collection strategy, which is essential for the survival of medicinal plants.[13] Traditional practitioners of the study area use different forms of medicine such as paste, powder, juice, poultice, etc., to treat various ailments. Generally, the plants required to prepare medicines were collected in a fresh form from their natural habitat. In some cases, various plant parts are collected in different seasons at different stages of maturity, shade dried, and stored in dry places for their use during off-season/unavailability.
Table 1: LHTs documented under ethno-medico-botanical survey in Hassan district of Karnataka

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Ethno-medicine finds its root in Indian traditional systems of medicine, i.e., Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, etc., which is now gaining popularity.[32] To get a proper ethno-pharmacological database, validating documented folk claims is important. In the present study, the validation of recorded folk claims was carried out with the help of textbooks related to Ayurveda, medicinal plants, and published literature in different scientific journals. An extensive literature review shows that all the 16 documented are having similar indications as mentioned in the classical texts of Ayurveda, text books related to medicinal plants, and available published literature.

Leaves and tender parts of Mimosa pudica L. are used by traditional practitioners for bleeding piles. The similar indication is also cited in The Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants.[19]Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L. indicated for Jvara and Jirna jvara in the classical texts of Ayurveda[20],[21] is specifically used for treating malaria in traditional practice. Flowers of Cassia fistula L. used for food preparation in traditional practice is found for its reference in Shaka varga (group of vegetables), specifically in Pushpa shaka (group of flowers) in the classical texts.[27]

It is observed that some traditionally used plants documented in the present study are already mentioned in published research articles related to ethno-medicine. Andrographis serpyllifolia (Vahl) Wight and some other related species are reported for their significance in antiophidian cures.[14] It is reported that seeds, stems, and leaves of Ipomoea muricata (L.) Jacq. are said to be effective in treating several skin ailments such as chronic and gangrenous wounds, cuts, and blisters due to burns.[15]Diplocyclos palmatus (L.) C. Jeffrey fruits are crushed, and juice extracted from fruits is given two times a day as an antidote for snakebite.[16] Fresh stem latex of Jatropha curcas L. is applied on wounds, eczema, and scabies in some parts of South India.[17] It is also reported that paste prepared from the leaf of Jatropha curcas is applied topically to treat eczema, scabies, and ringworm infection.[18] Traditionally, Dodonaea viscosa (L.) Jacq. is reported for its use in the treatment of fracture.[24]Ficus exasperata Vahl root/bark paste is traditionally used to treat eczema.[29] The ethno-botanical studies and folklore claim reviewed that the leaves and bark of the plant Psidium guajava L. are used for wound healing. The literature reported that poly-phenolic compounds such as tannin have significant free radical scavenging activity in bacterial-associated diseases.[30] Fruits of Elaeagnus conferta Roxb. used in dietary preparations are also reported for their edible uses and benefits in previously reported studies.[31]

The analysis of data obtained from the published research articles reveals that different pharmacological studies support some claims documented in the present article. Ashvagandha (Withania somnifera Dunal), used to improve bone strength, is reported for antiosteoporotic activity in experimental studies.[28] In a clinical study to assess the antimalarial activity of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L., 7–10 days of treatment with the paste of the plant’s fresh leaves showed parasite clearance in 92 of 120 patients (76.7%).[22]

  Conclusions Top

The present article focuses on the different folklore claims and LHTs routinely practiced in the Hassan district of Karnataka. About 16 such claims were documented and presented with details in the article. Different parts of the plants are being indicated in 12 different disease conditions such as Sarpa visha (snakebite), Vrana (wound), Raktarsha (bleeding piles), Bhagna (fracture), Jvara (fever), Tvak vikara (skin diseases), Shukra dosha (premature ejaculation), etc. This study has also provided detailed information on the method of preparation, administration, dose, and dosage forms. The documented information can serve as a basis for new drug development. A thorough scientific investigation of these medicinal plants’ properties and indications is needed at the time.


The authors are thankful to the Director General, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, New Delhi, for providing the encouragement and facility. The authors are also indebted to Karnataka Forest Department and all the local staff of Hassan district for providing permission and extended support during the field study to collect the medicinal plant specimens and the photography of the plants used by traditional healers. The authors are highly grateful to all traditional healing practitioners of the Hassan district for sharing valuable information during the survey.

Financial support and sponsorship

IMR project funded by CCRAS, Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, New Delhi.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1]


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