Ethnomedicinal plants to cure skin diseases, poison bites, wounds and rheumatism: Traditional knowledge of Kaani (Kani) community in the Tirunelveli hills (Kanyakumari) – Tamil Nadu

West Ghats near Kanyakumari in the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border region
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Costus speciosus (J. Koenig) Sm. (Costaceae) has long been considered an important medicinal plant in the Indian sub-continent and other countries of the world. The plant has been reported to have a wide array of ethnomedicinal uses [see Table 1: Ethnomedicinal uses]. Various parts of the plant including the rhizome are used by different tribal communities [e.g. for skin diseases by the Kaani tribe of Kanyakumari District] and folk medicinal practitioners, particularly of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh for treatment of rheumatism, diabetes, fever, respiratory tract illnesses, gastrointestinal disorders, leprosy, infertility, pain, urinary disorders, helminthiasis, eye and ear infections, hepatic problems, and sexually transmitted diseases. A perusal of ethnomedicinal reports on the uses of the plant suggest that the plant, at least in the Indian sub-continent, is used in a similar manner for treatment of several diseases (like diabetes) by ethnic groups of the southern and south central parts of India along with Bangladesh, and the northeast part and West Bengal State of India (both of which adjoins Bangladesh), but not east central or middle Indian regions. This suggests that there had been either ethnic contacts through possibly sea routes between the ethnic communities of southern India and northeast India (including Bangladesh), or there had been ethnic migrations from the southern parts of India to northeast India or the opposite. However, ethnomedicinal use of the plant against rheumatoid arthritis among diverse ethnic groups of the Indian sub-continent suggests that there could have been information transfer through land routes. It is concluded that research on ethnomedicinal uses of a given plant can provide suggestive information on possible migrations or contacts and exchange of information between indigenous communities and in the process make valuable contributions to both medicinal as well as anthropological literature.

Source: Abstract, “Tribal Cross-Talk as an Effective Way for Ethnobotanical Knowledge Transfer – Inference from Costus specious as a Case Study” (American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 15 February 2014) by Sophia Hossain, Shahnaz Rahman, Md. Tanvir Morshed, Mahbuba Haque, Sharmin Jahan, Rownak Jahan, Mohammed Rahmatullah
Date Visited: 18 June 2022

J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Nov 14;102 (2):246-55 16054791  Rec:1 Cit:8 Traditional knowledge of Kani tribals in Kouthalai of Tirunelveli hills, Tamil Nadu, India.[My paper] M Ayyanar, S Ignacimuthu Entomology Research Institute, Loyola College, Chennai 600034, India.

An ethnobotanical survey was carried out among the ethnic groups (Kani/Kanikaran) in Southern Western Ghats of India. Traditional uses of 54 plant species belonging to 26 families are described under this study.

In this communication, the information got from the tribals were compared with the already existing literature on ethnobotany of India. The documented ethnomedicinal plants were mostly used to cure skin diseases, poison bites, wounds and rheumatism.

The medicinal plants used by kanis are arranged alphabetically followed by family name, local name, major chemical constituents, parts used, mode of preparation and medicinal uses.

Keywords: tribal; india; tamil; tamil nadu; nadu; traditional knowledge; nadu india; plant; hill; traditional; medicinal; bite wound; ghat; western ghat; ethnobotany;

Source: Traditional knowledge of Kani tribals in Kouthalai of Tirunelveli hills, Tamil Nadu, India.
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