Herbal medicines for wound healing among tribal people in Southern India: Ethnobotanical and Scientific evidences

M Ayyanar, S Ignacimuthu


Summary: Results of an ethnobotanical study of wound healing treatments among the tribal people of Tirunelveli hills in southern India are presented. A total of 46 plants belonging to 44 genera and 26 families have been documented for their therapeutic use against wounds and related injuries such as cuts, burns, bruises caused by external injury, boils, sores, abscess and wounds created during delivery. Leaves were the most frequently utilized plant part and most herbal remedies are prepared as paste and applied externally; in some cases medicinal preparations were also administered orally. Of the plants collected in the present study none of the plants have been reported to have such specific wound healing compounds except Areca catechu and Scoparia dulcis. The present study suggested that further clinical experimentation is needed to scientifically evaluate these widely used herbal remedies for possible bioactive effects.

Industrial Relevance: The study of ethnomedical systems and herbal medicines as therapeutic agents of a paramount importance in addressing health problems of traditional communities and third world countries as well as industrialized societies. Of the reported plants,  Acalypha indica, Anacardium occidentale, Areca catechu, Calotropis gigantea, Cissampelos pareira, Cleome viscosa, Eupatorium odoratum, Euphorbia hirta, Ficus racemosa, Ixora coccinia, Morinda pubescens, Opuntia dillenii, Pongamia pinnata, Scoparia dulcis and Vitex altissima were studied in animal models for wound healing, analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity on the basis of their use in traditional medicine as wound healers and these plants can be used to formulate drugs in pharmaceutical companies.


Medicinal plants; Traditional medicine; Tirunelveli hills; Wounds

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