A STUDY ON SPECIES DIVERSITY OF MEDICINAL PLANTS IN

KURAVILANGADU LOCALITY

Nisha Raj

B.Ed. Student Natural Science

Mount Carmel College Of Teacher Education, Kottayam

ABSTRACT
The present study on “Species Diversity of Medicinal Plants” were conducted during 2015
September to 2015 October in Kuravilangadu locality. A total of fifteen species were recorded.
All the medicinal plants I found here have extensive medicinal use. I had used a digital camera to
take the photos of medicinal plants. The most common medicinal plant I had seen here was
Ocimum tenuiflorum. The rare species, Leucas zeylanica also found here. The objectives of the
study was to conserve rare, endangered and threatened medicinal plants. Through this project, I
created awareness among local communities on the need of conservation of medicinal plants.

INTRODUCTION

The state of kerala lies along the south west coast of India. The state include moist deciduous ,
tropical semi ever green , tropical west ever green forests. Kerala is a state which is famous with
its natural beauty and biodiversity. Among the plants, almost all of them have medicinal
properties.

Medicinal plants have played an essential role in the development of human
culture. Many of the modern medicines are produced indirectly from medicinal plants. Plants are
directly used as machines by a majority of cultures around the world. Cultivation and
preservation of medicinal plants protect biological diversity.

NEED AND SIGNIFICANCE

The significance of this project is to give awareness about the different medicinal plants in our
surroundings to local pupil in Kerala, especially students. Thereby they can use these plants as
medicines for small, wounds, diseases, etc.
There are thousands of medicinal plants in Kerala but many of the pupils
are unaware about it. For every little disease, pupil uses Allopathic medicines. These medicines
but have numerous side effects. But, if we use medicinal plants for treating small diseases, it will
not cause any side effects. Also, it will improve the health. So, the knowledge about our
medicinal plants is not only important but also it’s a Need.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

 To conserve rare, endangered and threatened medicinal plants.
 To create awareness among local communities on the urgent need of conservation of
medicinal plants.
 To ensure people’s participation in conserving medicinal plants and traditional culture.

METHODOLOGY

1.1 MATERIALS USED FOR THE STUDY

CAMERA: The photographs of the medicinal plants were taken using a digital camera.

NOTEBOOK: The list of medicinal plants were prepared using notebook and pen.

INTERNET: The identification of medicinal plants was done based on the reviews of the
published literature including several recent world catalogues of medicinal plants and recent
books.

1.2METHODS ADOPTED FOR THE STUDY

The survey of medicinal plants were carried out in Kuravilangadu (Kottayam district) during
September to October, 2015. Samples of the medicinal plants was taken from different habitats
like grass lands, mixed plantations, etc. The identification of medicinal plants was based on the
reviews of the published literature including several recent world catalogues of medicinal plants
and recent books. Also its photographs were taken using a digital camera. Local pupils were also
aware about the different types of medicinal plants in the area. 15 different types of medicinal
plants were identified from different habitats.

I have conducted the survey by observing different habitats like paddy region,
rubber plantation, and grass fields.

ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA

Medicinal plants were observed in Kuravilangadu, Kottayam district for a period of two
months which starts from September 2015 to October 2015. 15 species of medicinal plants were
present here. The following are those medicinal plants.

Asperagus racemosus Ocimum tenuiflorum Plectranthus amboinicus

Myristica fragrans Centella asiatica Elephantopus scaber
Biophytum sensitivum Justicia adhatoda Hibiscus rosasinensis

Murraya koenigii Emblica officinalis Aloe vera

Moringa oleifera Boerhavia diffusa Leucas zeylanicus
All of these medicinal plants have variety of uses in the traditional
treatment “Ayurveda”.. People use Asperagus racemosus for upset of stomach, constipation,
pain, anxiety, cancer, diarrhea and tuberculosis. Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in
Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing
different processes in the body and helpful for adapting to stress. Plectranthus leaves are used for
treatment of coughs, sore throats and nasal congestion. Also its leaves can use for boiling water.
Myristica has been used in higher doses for their aphrodisiac and psychoactive properties.

Centella is often used to treat varicose veins and chronic venous
insufficiency and in ointments to treat psoriasis and help to heal minor wounds. Studies have also
shown positive effects on anxiety and scleroderma. Different parts of the elephantopus plant are
used in traditional medicine of India as a stringent agent, cardiac tonic, diuretic, to treat ulcers
and eczema. Biophytums extracts are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor,
radioprotective,chemoprotective,antimetastatic,antiangiogenesis,woundhealing,immunomodulati
on, anti-diabetic, and cardioprotective in nature. The leaf of Adhatoda vasica contains
phytochemicals such as alkaloids, tannins, saponins, phenolics and flavonoids. It has the benefit
of reducing LDL. Murraya Koenigii due to its aromatic characteristic properties find use and
application in soap making ingredient, body lotions, diffusers, potpourri, scent and air fresheners.

According to Ayurveda, amla balances all three doshas. Aloe vera is used
in traditional medicine as a multipurpose skin treatment. Moringa has numerous applications in

cooking throughout its regional distribution. Leucas zeylanica is wild-crafted and used mainly
for coughs, colds, toothaches, and abdominal pains.

CONCLUSION

Medicinal Plants constitute an important component of the plant resource
spectrum of Kerala. Recent analysis shows that, out of estimated 4600 flowering plants in
Kerala, about 900 possess medicinal values. Of these, 540 species are reported to occur in forest
ecosystems. Over 150 species of plants that are either indigenous or naturalized in Kerala are
used in the Indian system of Medicine like Ayurveda and Sidha. The rural folk and tribal
communities make use of about 2,000 species of lesser-known wild plants for various medicinal
uses. About 60 to 65% of plants required for Ayurvedic medicine and almost 80% of plants used
in Sidha medicine are found in the forests of Kerala.

India has 2 out of the 34 biodiversity hot spots of the world. It
is perhaps the largest producer of medicinal plants in the world. Of the 43,000 plant species
recorded in India, 3000 are known to possess medicinal properties. The vast resource of
medicinal plants has been widely used in various traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda,
Siddha, Unani and Amchi. There are more than 800 licensed units in Kerala manufacturing
traditional medicines. It is estimated that 85 to 90% of the medicinal plants used by these units
are collected from the wild. In Kerala, more than 900 medicinal plants are used in both classical
and oral health tradition including tribal medicines. Out of these, 200 medicinal plants are largely
extracted for the preparation of diverse medicinal and food products.

The large scale cultivation of rubber in the plains and harvesting
from the forest and forest fringe areas are the major threats to medicinal plants in Kerala. The
indiscriminate destruction of plants in public places by workers engaged under the employment
guarantee scheme is a major cause for concern.

Medicinal plants are renewable natural resources and therefore,
their conservation and sustainable utilization must necessarily involve a long term integrated,
scientifically oriented holistic action programe. Now a day, there are more no. of conservation
sites for plants are evolving by government. Some of the conservation sites recommended are
‘Harichandana’ (maramanhal) site for conservation of Cocinum fenistratum and
‘Mritasanjeevani’ site for conservation of Pittosporum nilghirensis (analivegam) at upper
pampinkuzhi area of kanayar range of Achenkovil division.

All the 15 medicinal plants I had identified have extensive priority
in local medicinal field. Almost all of the local pupils were aware of that.

REFERENCES

 Ravikumar K and D.K. Ved. 100 Red –listed medicinal plants.
 Ved D.K. and G.S. Goraya. Demand and supply of medicinal plants in India.

 Anon. (1978). The Ayurvedic Formulary of India. Part-I

 FRLHT ‘s Encyclopaedic Database on Indian Medicinal Plants.

 Nayar, M. P. & A. R. K.Sastry (1987). Red data book of Indian plants. Vol. 1.

 www. Indian medicinal plants.