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An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants in the Eastern Himalayan zone of Arunachal Pradesh, India

Tangjang, Sumpam, Namsa, Nima D., Aran, Chocha, Litin, Anggu
Journal of ethnopharmacology 2011 v.134 no.1 pp. 18-25
interviews, jaundice, malaria, medicinal plants, men, nationalities and ethnic groups, pain, plant taxonomy, questionnaires, respiratory tract diseases, rural health care, surveys, women, India
AIM OF THE STUDY: The medicinal plants are integral source of easily available remedy used in rural healthcare system. This study was conducted among three major ethnic groups namely the Nocte, the Nyishi and the Adi in the Eastern Himalayan region of Arunachal Pradesh to evaluate their comparative knowledge on medicinal plants. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The three remote districts of Arunachal Pradesh namely the Tirap, the Dibang Valley and the Papum Pare were surveyed through interviewing of randomly selected 237 participants using semi-structured questionnaire and regular field visits to selected districts. RESULTS: We recorded the traditional use of 74 medicinal plants species belonging to 41 taxonomic plant families used for treating a total of 25 different diseases/ailments. The informant consensus factor (ICF) values demonstrated that local people tend to agree more with each other in terms of the plants used to treat malaria (0.71), jaundice (0.62), urological problems (0.56), dermatological disorders (0.45), pain (0.30), and respiratory disorder (0.33), and while the general health (0.15) and gastro-intestinal disorders category (0.28) were found low ICF values. CONCLUSION: Of the total 74 species recorded, the highest number of medicinal plants (36 species) was reported from the Adi of Lower Dibang Valley followed by the Nocte of the Tirap (25 species) and the Nyishi ethnic groups of Papum Pare districts (13 species). In the present study, we found that the men, elder people and illiterate ones had better knowledge on medicinal plants as compared to women, younger and literate people. Findings of this documentation study can be used as an ethnopharmacological basis for selecting plants for future phytochemical and pharmaceutical studies.