An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants in Jhajjar district of Haryana
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Volume 2, June 2017, pages 7-12

An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants in Jhajjar district of Haryana

Neetu Kataria 

Department of Botany, Chaudhary Dheerpal Government College, Badli, Jhajjar, Haryana, India 
* Corresponding Author Email: neetu15207@gmail.com | Tel: +919953433651

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Abstract

The present study deals with the ethnobotanical survey of plants by the local people of Jhajjar district of Haryana. Ethnobotany has gained much importance in the recent past all over the world. In India, a lot of work has been done, both at national and regional level. The survey focuses on identifying plant species used and manipulated by local communities for curing diseases. Field survey of Jhajjar district, Haryana has been conducted for the documentation of ethnobotanical data and exploration of floristic diversity. A total of 61 species belonging to 36 families have been surveyed during 2014-15 for exploration of ethnobotanical plants. Major plant part used are leaves, fruits, seeds, barks, and roots. Measures are needed to conserve plants that are reported to be scarce in the study area, but still, they are only harvested from the wild. Therefore, it is important to create awareness on the sustainable use of the natural vegetation. 

Keywords

Ethnobotany, Medicinal Plants, Floristic Diversity, Jhajjar, Haryana 

Introduction

The use of plants to alleviate human sufferings is perhaps as old as the origin of man itself on this planet. Plants with medicinal properties enjoyed the highest reputation in the indigenous system of medicines all over the world. Ethnobotany is 'the study of the utilitarian relationship between human beings and vegetation in their environment, including medicinal uses. Ethnobotany can also be defined as ‘the study of the interaction between plants and people with a particular emphasis on traditional tribal cultures’. Ethnobotany studies the complex relationships between uses of plants and cultures. The focus of ethnobotany is on how plants have been or are used, managed and perceived in human societies and include plants used for food, medicine, divination, cosmetics, dyeing, textiles, for building, tools, currency, clothing, rituals, social life and music.  Plants represent an enormous pool of natural resources that can produce various products and chemicals for the advantage of all other life forms and ethnobotany reveals historical and present plant use to fulfill a wide variety of human needs, so the documentation of ethnobotanical knowledge is important for species conservation and sustainable use of resources. Furthermore, such studies are often significant in revealing locally important plant species, sometimes leading to the discovery of crude drugs   (Yadav et al. 2010; Bhushan and Kumar 2013).
India with its glorious past of traditional medical system and use pattern of different plants is one of eight major centers of origin and diversification of domesticated taxa, having rich biodiversity and is one of the world's twelve megadiversity countries. Of the 17500 species of flowering plants found in India, about 17% are considered to be of medicinal value(Jain 1994; Singh et al. 2005, Khongsai et al. 2011). In India, villages comprise 15% of the total geographical area of Indian landmasses, representing one of the greatest emporia of ethnobotanical wealth (Sajem and Gosai 2006). Local communities in different parts of the country have developed a deep knowledge of various uses of plants during their old history. Traditional medicine and medicinal plants usage have been investigated in some parts of the country (Khongsai et al. 2011).  
The Jhajjar district of the state of Haryana was established on July 15th, 1997. Formerly a part of Rohtak district, the district headquarter is situated in Jhajjar town. One of the most developing districts of the state, Jhajjar is located very close to Delhi. The district lies between 28° 33’ N and 28° 42’ S latitude and 76° 28’ 45” W and 76° 84’ 15” E longitude.  The Jhajjar district has a total area of 1983.90 square kilometers. The altitude of the district is about 715 above mean sea level (MSL) and a slope from South to North from Rewari towards Jhajjar is around 40 feet. In the eastern part of the district, the area is considerably even. Some area is uneven and also suffers from inundation and water logging during Monsoon season. The district falls within the classified arid and semi-arid zones. Broadly four types of soil are available in the District viz. clay, loamy clay, loamy and sandy. However, the soil is deficient in Nitrogen. Hot summer, cold winter and meager rainfall are the main climatic characteristics of Jhajjar District. Kharif and Ravi are the main crops under which bajra, jowar, barley, wheat, and sugarcane are grown. The district is divided into two subdivisions, Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh. Jhajjar has a great historical background with connections to various periods of the Indian history. The district's economy is equally balanced with industrialization and agriculture. The basic industries of the district are ceramics, chemicals, glass, electrical engineering, and electronics. Not much information is available about the ethnobotanical data of Jhajjar district, Haryana. With the increasing rate of deforestation and the concurrent loss of floristic diversity, there is a need for accurate documentation of the knowledge and experience of the traditional herbalists. In order to gather knowledge of natural resources for their scientific and economic exploitation for various uses, the botanical information at micro level need special attention and thus requires afresh survey to be conducted to know the floristic richness and ethnobotanical practices prevalent in various parts of India. Keeping in view this, the survey of Jhajjar district, Haryana has been conducted to record the plant of medicinal importance used by the local populations. 

Materials and Methods

2.1. Methods of data collection

The present work was carried out in Jhajjar district of Haryana. The extensive studies were conducted during the period 2015-16 with the help of local people and village medicine men of the area. In order to document the utilization of medicinal plants, a total of four field surveys were carried out in the area. The surveys were spread across seasons so as to get maximum information and also to cross check the information provided by the local informants during the earlier visits. The investigation was carried out where the population was dense. During the trips, the village heads, herbal practitioners as well as elderly men and women of the different villages were interviewed. To know the uses of plants, different categories of people like family heads, healers, old experienced and knowledgeable informants were repeatedly interviewed. The interviews were developed as informal conversations without a strict questionnaire, though with guidelines of the items to talk about holding in mind, in order to let people speak spontaneously and not feel pressured. Intensive ethnobotanical exploration was undertaken. Standard methods were followed with regard for the collection of plant material, drying, mounting, preparation and preservation of plant specimen. The medicinal uses of plant species were cross-checked from the available literature. For future referencing, Herbarium has been deposited in the Department of Botany, Govt. College, Badli. 

2.2. Ethnobotanical Uses of Collected Plant Species

S.No

Botanical name

Vernacular name

Family name

Plant Type

Uses

1.

Acacia Arabica(Lam.)

Kikar

Fabaceae

Tree

Cough, jaundice, male fertility disorder

2.

Acyranthes aspera

Ola Kanta

Amaranthaceae

Herb

Tooth ache, Snakebite

3.

Acacia catechu

Kher

Fabaceae

Tree

Mouth ulcers

4.

Aegle marmelos(Linn.)Correa

Bael patra

Rutaceae

Tree

Diabetes, Mouth disorders

5.

Allium cepa L.

Piyaz

Liliaceae

Herb

Fever ,Snakebite

6.

Albezzia lebbeck(L.)Benth

Sirus

Fabaceae

Tree

Eye disease, male fertility disorder

7.

Allium sativum L.

Lason

Liliaceae

Herb

Microbial contamination

8.

Aloe vera(L.)Burm.f.

Gaurka patta

Liliaceae

Herb

Abdomen Disorders, piles

9.

Argemone mexicana L.

Kateli

Papaveraceae

Herb

Eye disease, female sex

disorders, skin diseases

10.

Asparagus racemosus

Wild.

Arra kanta

Liliaceae

Climber

Fever

11.

Azadirachta indica A.Juss

Neem

Meliaceae

Tree

Allergy, skin disorders, snake

bite

12.

Brassica compestris L.

Kali sarson

Brassicaceae

Herb

Allergy, abdomen disorders

13.

Barleria cristata L.

Kalabansa

Acanthaceae

Shrub

Cough

14.

Butea monosperma (Lam.)Taub

Dhak

Fabaceae

Tree

Snakebite

15.

Bryophyllum calycimum

Salisb.

Pattharchat

Crassulaceae

Shrub

Wound healing

16.

Cassia fistula L.

Amaltas

Fabaceae

Tree

Skin diseases

,snake bite

17

Calotropis procera(Ait)R.Br

Aak

Asclepiadaceae

Shrub

Abdomen disorder, allergy, cough, fever, skin disease, eye disease, wound

healing

18.

Cannabis sativa L.

Bhang

Cannabinaceae

Herb

Mental disorder

19.

Chenopodium album Linn.

Bathua

Chenopodiaceae

Herb

Dysentery, piles, cough and fever

20.

Cassia occidentalis

Kasaundi

Fabaceae

Shrub

Snakebite

21.

Citrullus colocynthis

Gadumba

Cucurbitaceae

Climber

Snakebite

22.

Citrus

Neebu

Rutaceae

Shrub

Liver disease,

cough, throat disorder, fever

23.

Cordia dichotoma

Lesua

Boraginaceae

Tree

Mouth ulcers

24.

Coriander

Dhania

Umbelliferae

Herb

Gastric problems

 

 

25.

 

 

Curcuma longa L.

 

 

Haldi

 

 

Zingiberaceae

 

 

Herb

 

 

Eye disease, wound healing,

skin disease

26.

Cuscuta reflexa Roxb.

Amerbael

Convolvulaceae

Climber

Fever

27.

Cyanadon dactylon L.Persoon

Doob

Poaceae

Herb

Diarrhoea, dysentery, skin

disease, blood purifier

28.

Cyperus rotundus L.

Motha

Cyperaceae

Herb

Microbial contamination

29.

Dalbergia sisso Roxb.

Sisham

Fabaceae

Tree

Dysentery, diabetes, pneumonia

30.

Datura metel L.

Dhatura

Solanaceae

shrub

Cough, male fertility, mental disorder,

respiratory disorder

31.

Embilica officinalis

Gaertn.

Amla

Euphorbiaceae

Tree

Diabetes

32.

Eucalyptus

Safeda

Myrtaceae

Tree

Antiseptic,

astringent, wound healing

33.

Eugenia jambolana Lam.

Jamun

Myrtaceae

Tree

Diabetes

34.

Ficus benghalensis

Badd

Moraceae

Tree

Diabetes, cough toothache, wound

healing, fertility disorder

35.

Launaea nudicaulis

Jangli gobhi

Asteraceae

Herb

Constipation

36.

Nerium indicum

Pili kaner

Apocynaceae

Shrub

Skin disease, leprosy, roots

used for snakebite, fever

37.

Magnifera indica L.

Aam

Anacardiaceae

Tree

Skin disease

38.

Melia azardirachta

Bakain

Meliaceae

Tree

Microbial

contamination, piles

39.

Mentha arvensis Linn.

Pudina

Lamiaceae

Herb

Appetizer, digestion

problems, cough

40

Mimosa pudicaL.

Chui-Mui

Fabaceae

Herb

Diabetes

41.

Momordica balsamia L.

Jangali karela

Cucurbitaceae

Climber

Snakebite

42.

Momordica dioica Roxb.

Banj karela

Cucurbitaceae

Climber

Female sex disorder, male

fertility

43.

Moringa oleifera Lam.

Saijna

Moringaceae

Shrub

Liver and spleen disorder,

constipation, rheumatic pain

44.

Morus alba Linn.

Shehtoot

Moraceae

Shrub

Dysentery, diabetes

45.

Ocimum basilicum L.

Marua

Lamiaceae

Herb

Fever

46.

Ocimum sanctum L.

Tulsi

Lamiaceae

Herb

Skin disease, male fertility

disorder

47.

Opuntia dillenii (ker- Gawl)Haw.

Nagphani

Cactaceae

Shrub

Fistula

48.

Oxalis majus Linn.

Khattibuti

Oxalidaceae

Herb

Fever, stomach

disorder

49.

Parthenium hysterophorus Linn.

Gajar ghas

Asteraceae

Herb

Roots decoction

used to check dysentery

50.

Peperomia pellucid(L) Kunth.

Panpatta

Piperaceae

Herb

Fistula

51.

Psidium gujava

Amrud

Myrataceae

Shrub

Decoction of leaves used in bleeding gums

52.

Punica granatum L.

Anar

Punicaceae

Shrub

Female sex disorder, rind of

fruit for diabetes

53.

Raphanus sativa L.

Muli

Brassicaceae

Herb

Piles

54.

Solanum ferox L.

Laxman

Solanaceae

Herb

Female sex disorder

56.

Solanum nigrum Linn.

Makoi

Solanaceae

Herb

Skin disease,

leprosy, liver disease

57.

Tinospora cordifolia

Giloy

Menispermaceae

Climber

Fever, jaundice

58.

Trigonella foenum

Menthi

Fabaceae

Herb

Diabetes

,rheumatism

59.

Tylophora indica(Burma.L.)Merr.

Antamul

Ascelpiadaceae

Climber

Female sex disorder

60.

Withania somnifera(L.)

Aksin

Solanaceae

Shrub

Cough

61.

Zizypus jujube Lam.

Ber

Ramnaceae

Shrub

Boils and pimples


Results and Discussions

A total of 61species were recorded during the survey belonging to 36 families.The most commonly represented families were Fabaceae (9 sp.), Solanaceae (4 sp.) Liliaceae(4 sp.). The plant parts used widely to treat human and livestock health problems included whole plant, root, leaves, seeds, stems, and others. Plants have been arranged alphabetically with their scientific name, local name, family and ethnobotanical uses (Table 1). They are useful in the treatment of various diseases like fever, cough, rheumatism, asthma, indigestion, piles, stomach pain, wounds, kidney stone, skin diseases, snake and scorpion bite, leukemia, impotency, night emission, etc. Plants are also used by local people as a food, fodder, fuel, and wood for making furniture and to cure animal diseases. The natural remedies include powder, decoction, paste and juice of plants to cure diseases. Some of them are used in the powder form such as Argemone mexicana, Chenopodium.Plants used as paste are Ziziphus jujuba, Azadirachta indica, Withania somnifera etc.  We have reported that some plants were used in the treatment of more than one disease. For example, different parts (leaves, stem bark, latex, and root bark) of Calotropis procera were found to be useful in the cure of 10 ailing diseases. Argemone mexicana has been found useful in the treatment of female fertility problems, eye diseases, mental disorders, skin diseases, toothache and wound healing.  Rapid industrialization and urbanization along with over-exploitation may cause loss of this valuable resource. Hence, efforts must be taken to protect these immensely useful species in the study area and other parts of the country.

Conclusion

It can be concluded from the study that the local people have knowledge of medicinal plants. The medicinal plant resources of the region is diminishing due to over-exploitation of certain species, illegally trading, laying of roads and other developmental works that causes the destruction of their natural habitats. Most of the medicinal plants are getting very rare as confirmed by elders and as observed during the field work too. If the present trend continues unchecked, it will not be too long that some of them will become extinct. It is, therefore, very crucial that awareness should be created so that the community is actively involved in conservation and sustainable utilization of the traditional medicinal plants. Special attention needs to be accorded to the medicinal plants in order to amplify the role that they play in health care, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection. Further, in-depth studies to document and substantiate the indigenous knowledge on medicinal and other useful plants would help to draw serious attention to the valuation of the biological diversity of the study area. More studies like this one are necessary to gather ethnobotanical knowledge, including all kinds of useful plants, in the various parts of the country.

Acknowledgement

Authors are thankful to the Department of Botany, Chaudhary Dheerpal Government College, Badli, Jhajjar, for their support.

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