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Ethnomedicinal plants to cure skin diseases—An account of the traditional knowledge in the coastal parts of Central Western Ghats, Karnataka, India

Bhat, Pradeep, Hegde, Ganesh R., Hegde, Gurumurthi, Mulgund, Gangadhar S.
Journal of ethnopharmacology 2014 v.151 no.1 pp. 493-502
Ayurvedic medicine, Basella alba, Caesalpinia, Cissus, Hygrophila auriculata, Mammea, Millettia pinnata, Randia, coasts, common names, drug formulations, drugs, eczema, habitats, herbaria, indigenous knowledge, interviews, juices, medicinal plants, oils, pruritus, questionnaires, ringworm, surveys, type collections, India
Documentation of ethnomedicinal knowledge pertaining to the treatment of different types of skin diseases from the Central Western Ghats of India, a rich habitat of different ethnic communities.Frequent field surveys were carried out to invent the ‘key informants’ in the treatment of skin diseases in the study area. The information was collected through semi-structured open ended interviews with questionnaire in their local Kannada language. All medicinal plants recorded for the treatment of skin diseases were photographed in the field; voucher specimens were made subsequently and are deposited in the Herbarium, P.G. Department of Botany, Karnatak University, Dharwad. The information such as botanical name, status, family, vernacular name, habit and habitat, analysis like percentage of parts used, percentage of drug preparations, use value (UV), informants consensus factor (ICF), fidelity level (FL) and correlation between UV and use mention (Np) of the plants are provided.In all, 48 informants were interviewed. Amongst which 38 were the ‘key informants’ who gave the information exclusively about the treatment of skin diseases. Among 102 plant species collected, seven species are endemic to India and eleven species have their nativity outside India. Twelve species could be considered as new claims for skin diseases as their use has not been mentioned in Ayurveda or any other research articles surveyed. Of all the drug formulations, paste is the most preferred method (50%) followed by oil extraction (18.89%), juice (14.44%), ash (4.44%) etc. The highest UV is for Pongamia pinnata, Naregamia alata, Randia dumetorum and Girardinia diversifolia (1.50 each). The treatment for different types of skin diseases by the herbal healers are classified into 13 categories, out of which ringworm scored the highest ICF value. Similarly, the 100% FL value scored was in the order of 10 plants for boils, 4 plants for different types of sore, 2 plants for ringworm, intertrigo, eczema and pruritus respectively. As Caesalpinia mimosoides and Basella alba in the treatment of boils, Hygrophila schulli for inter trigo, Cissus discolor for ringworm, Mammea suriga for eczema scored high FL and high Np value, they can be considered as important species.The documentation and data analysis of the ethnomedicinal knowledge in the coastal regions of Uttara Kannada district of Central Western Ghats have provided the information about important plants in the treatment of different types of skin diseases. Further scientific analysis of such plants may provide novel compounds for the treatment of skin diseases.