2Plant Physiology Laboratory, Center of Advanced Studies in Life Sciences, Manipur University, Canchipur-795003, Manipur, India
Background: This present study aims system of primary health ailments of a very small indigenous Meitei schedule caste community called Chakpa residing at Andro Village (having population of around 8300) of Manipur in Northeast India. As this small v and having unique culture and lifestyle from the rest communities, the traditional knowledge system is still in prominence and intricately associated with culture and religion.
Methods: Field survey and Andro village of Manipur, Northeast India on monthly basis with main objective to collect ethno medicinal data. The data were collected through open semi-structured interviews, informal meeting and personal observation of 21 traditional herbal healers and 63 elderly knowledgeable people of the Chakpa community. Market survey to assess availability and pricing was conducted in Thoubal market. The voucher specimens were collected for all the species and deposited in the CSIR-NEIST
Results: We recorded 63 plant species belonging to 56 genera and 41 families which were used by Chakpa community in traditional health care system to treat over 25 diseases and ailments where highest number of 10 were used in treatment of menstrual disorder and kidney problem, respectively. Most of the plants are herbs (27 species) followed by trees (17 species), shrubs (15 species) and only 5 species climbers. Most remedies were prepared by boiling or cooked of the ingredients and mode of administration was in liquid or concoction forms. Honey was used in most of the preparations. Around 56% of the plants were collected from wild habitat, 24% cultivated while rest species were from both wild habitat and cultivated. Around 57% of the species were sold in local markets, amongst, the flower of 380/kg). Amongst, 10 species were rare while rest species were commonlyavailable. Around 41% of the ethno medicinal plant species were eaten as vegetables / spices / snacks / fruits by Chakpa community. Conclusions: The Chakpa community prefers and frequently used herbal formulations mainly based on 63 plant species in their day-to-day health care and treatment due to its readily available, rich knowledge system and low cost and also due to lack of availability of modern medicines in the vicinity of the villages. Substantial local economy was generated through selling of these plants. A sizeable number of species were cultivated in private lands thus sustaining the medicinal plants.
Andro village, Meitei Chakpa community, Folk-medicare, Medicinal plants, Dietary use, Cultivation, Conservation.
Ethno-medico-botany is one of the tools that deal with the direct relationship of plants and men to prevent and cure ailments [1,2]. The rich and diverse traditional knowledge on the uses of medicinal plants and its practices in health care by the various ethnic communities of Northeast India remains as poorly documented. Manipur one of the eight states of Northeast India being under the ‘Indo-Burma’ biodiversity Hotspot region and Eastern Himalayas  is blessed with rich and diverse bioresources including wild edibles and medicinally important plants. The diverse rural communities depend mainly on plants and animals to fulfillment of their basic need of food and healthcare and support significant local economy. They collect useful plants resources from various habitats and utilize them using indigenous knowledge and practices. With the advancement of science and technology, changing of surrounding habitats and environment, traditional practices and uses of bioresources is still alive in rural and remote corners, where people are still by and large dependent on traditional medicines as the first line of defense for various ailments . The diverse traditional knowledge system leads to discovery or development of numerous medicine or drugs used in this modern era . Human dependence on wild edible plants for dietary requirements throughout the world is well known. Many of today’s cultivated high yielding crops were one time grown in the wild. Wild edible plants play a vital role in compaction of nutritional requirements especially for those inhabitants in hilly regions where agricultural productions are less. In the recent years, the importance and need of proper documentation of traditional knowledge system is realizing and study survey works are taken up from different parts of the world .
In many smaller pockets of India particularly in northeastern region, the traditional knowledge system of health care and healing practices are still prominent. The people of Manipur have traditionally been dependent on the wild plants and animals for various cultural and religious purposes for Centuries  and many of these species are sold in local markets thus provide means of livelihood and local economy. The communities are closely associated with wild plants and animals from birth of a child to death of a person. It is ironical to note that dead of a person at home of Manipur is still authenticated and declared by local practitioners (locally called Maiba/Beita) not by medical doctors. Due to rapid declination of medicinal plants due to extraction pressure in wild habitat and inclination of its demand, now people have started cultivation of some of these species in their private lands and farms for personal use and local trade.
A sizeable ethnomedicinal reports of Manipur state particularly for Meitei community are available [9-18]. No documented report on ethnomedicinal uses of Meitei Schedule Caste Chakpa community of Manipur is available. We felt that Andro being a fairly isolated village at the foothill of Nongmaiching and the Chakpa community inhabited there is one of the oldest settlers of the state are having unique culture and lifestyle, the ethnomedicinal knowledge system and practices might have unique characteristics and of interest. The present study is attempted to document the folkmedicare system of Chakpa community of Manipur in northeast India which will be the first hand baseline data and documented report on the above.
Study Area & Chakpa Caste
The Andro is a tiny and fairly isolated village situated at 94o 2′ 47″ E and 24o 44′ 27″ N in the eastern border of Imphal East district of Manipur state, northeast India (Figure 1). The village is situated at the foot hill of Nongmaiching / Baruni hill which is about 25 kilometers away from Imphal, the state capital of Manipur and extends a geographical area of about 4 km2. The people of Andro belong to Scheduled Caste (SC) community commonly known as Chakpa, and are one of the 7 schedule castes present in the state. The village is broadly divided into 3 settlements namely, (i) Andro-Machingpat, (ii) Andro-Khunjao and (iii) Andro-Khuman (Figure 1). No proper market(s) exist inside the Andro village. Marketing (selling and purchasing) of items are generally done in Yairipok Keithel which is about 4 km away from Andro village. According to 2001 Census, the human population of Andro village was 8316 (Male - 4176, Female - 4140) with an average literacy rate of 47% which is fairly lower than the Indian national average of 59.5%. Around 16% of the population was under 6 years of age 19. The area received an average rainfall of 200 cm with temperature range between 1-38°C in a temporal cycle.
The Chakpa is one of the indigenous communities and oldest settler of Manipur which is still following their indigenous socio-religious customs and practices which are very much peculiar with the rest communities of the state. They got their own traditional system of food habit and largely depend upon wild vegetables and animals. Pork is a favourite dish among the meats. Local wine (rice beer locally called as Yu) is generally offered to God and Deities and people are permitted to drink the wine during festivals. The traditional system of local wine preparation was generally practiced in around 70-80% families. A glass of wine is generally offered to guests as a customary practice and respect of the guest. Pottery is another traditional knowledge and practice of the community and majority of the villagers are engaged in this profession which is another major source of livelihood and local employment. In this modern age, the housing technology is based on the advice of traditional scholars locally called Maiba/Panji, with certain principle like houses are generally facing towards east direction and are mostly made of mud-wall, roofed with thatch materials locally called Ee (Imperata cylindrica). Foundation stone of a house is done by Maiba on selected days with certain ritual functions. Each family of Chakpa community is worshiped the Sanamahi- Lainingthou (home deity) which is designated at the south-western corner of the house.
At this age of modern medical sciences, the Chakpa community is still practicing the traditional system of health care and healing by using medicinal herbs and other components. Modern medicines of allopathy and family planning programme are less popular in this community. They depend significantly upon wild plants for treatment of various ailments and diseases and have a rich traditional knowledge system of using medicinal plants. Traditionally used medicinal plants are conserved In-situ in sacred grooves locally called Chakpa Panam Ningthou, Pureiromlaba, Chingsomba and Amamlok. Moreover, medicinal plants were cultivated and conserved ex-situ in their home gardens prominently by traditional herbal practitioners. Over 90% of villagers consult these traditional healers before attending Government established health centers except in critical health conditions.
The Chakpa caste of Andro village, regardless of having a rich and profound traditional knowledge on folk medicine does not have any written document or coded form about the traditional uses of medicinal plants and health care and practices. The mode of transfer of this traditional knowledge has been by words from one generation to another. Thus, considering the threat of being diffused and lost of these important information and knowledge, the present study aims at proper documentation of the unexplored rich folk medicinal plants and knowledge of treatment practices by Chakpa community.
The methods employed in this study were designed with the purpose of providing baseline information on the use of plants by Meitei schedule caste Chakpa of Andro village through detailed survey during 2011- 2013. Before undertaking the study Prior Informed Consent (PIC) was taken from the community leaders and elderly persons to conduct surveys in the Andro village on holistic profile study on community medicare system based on plant species. In the PIC, the community was assured to provide the documents / published data resulted from the present study to preserve in their local community library. Open-ended and semi- structured interviews were taken on monthly basis (second Saturday of every month) visiting their home of each professional traditional healers (n=21; 7 each from 3 settlements) and elders of both men and women (n=63; 21 each from 3 settlements) who have significant knowledge on medicinal plants and healthcare. Ethnomedicinal information on broad themes like dermatological problems (boils, skin itching, leprosy, face burnt), dental (mouth freshener, toothache), respiratory problems (cough, dry cough, fever, high fever, typhoid, tonsils, pneumonia), gastrointestinal (dysentery, diarrhoea, stomach complaints, constipation, piles, jaundice), gynecology problems (white discharge, irregular menstruation), urological problems (stone case, kidney problems), diabetes, cut and wounds, malaria, hypertension, orthopadetric and others (revitalization of child, body weight reducing) were recorded by visiting the houses of the informants and also group discussion with the herbal healers.
Collection of such data were followed some standard methods20-22. The ethnomedicinal data were collected from 3 settlements namely, (i) Andro-Machingpat (ii) Andro- Khunjao and (iii) Andro-Khuman who shared a common language, culture and tradition. The data on ethnomedicinal uses of the plants collected were cross-checked amongst these 3 settlements and consensus information/data were recorded as final data. For assessing collection ‘Source’ of raw medicinal herbs ranking was done with the resource persons and community members as ‘Wild’, ‘Cultivated’ and both ‘Wild+Cultivated’. For ‘Availability’ status the species was ranked based on field observations of the authors, market availability trend and interaction with collectors and the user groups as ‘Extensively available’, ‘Commonly available’, ‘Available but not so common’ and ‘Rare’. Market survey was conducted in Yairipok Keithel (around 4 km away from the Andro village and having around 110 vendors) which is the biggest and nearest market to the Andro village for record of sellable species and pricing. Market prices were recorded 6 times (January, March, May, July, September and November) during the year 2013 and the mean value was calculated. Market prices were poole into per kilogram basis.
The samples of all the species were collected and identified as to their scientific names and families with the help of experts and through the Botanical Survey of India, Northeast Circle, Shillong, India and scientific literatures [7,23-27]. The vouchers were collected for all species, prepared herbarium following standard techniques and deposited in the herbarium of CSIR NEIST Branch Laboratory, Imphal, Manipur, India.
A total of 63 plant species belonging to 56 genera and 42 families were recorded which are used for medicinal purpose in traditional system by the Chakpa caste of Andro village in Manipur, Northeast India (Table 1). Amongst these plants the most dominant species were by the family Lamiaceae (5 species), followed by Verbenaceae (4 species), Acanthaceae, Liliaceae, Rutaceae, Solanaceae and Zingiberaceae (3 species each), Asteraceae, Combretaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Meliaceae and Poaceae (2 species each) while the 29 families are represented by single species (Figure 2). These medicinal plants are herbs, shrubs, trees and climbers (Table 2). More than 40% of the species are herbs which are followed by trees (17 species), shrubs (15 species) and climbers (5 spe 3a). Amongst the plant parts used for medicinal purposes, the use of leaf was most common (42.9%), followed by fruits/seeds (9 species). The other plant parts used were whole plant (8 species), shoot (6 species), rhizome (5 species), flower/i bark, stem and roots (2 species each) while single species Allium ascalonicum use of bulb (Figure 3b). The people collected these medicinally used plants from (i) wild habitat (ii) cultivated or (iii) both cultivated and wild habitat (Table 2). More than 55% of the plants were solely collected from wild habitat, 15 species were solely cultivated in private lands/home gardens while the rest 13 species were both collected from wild habitat as well as cultivated (Figure 4a). Out of the 63 ethnomedicinal plants, 29 plants were generally sold in local markets (Table 2). The two plants namely, Allium ascalonicum and Centella asiatica the whole plant parts were sold whereas other plants were sold by their parts like shoot, leaf, fruit, rhi flower/inflorescence, etc. (Table 2). Dendrocalamus hamiltonii was sold by their culms. The highest price was fetched by flowers of Iris bakeri ( 380/kg), followed by the price of pods of Parkia timoriana 270/kg), leaf of Piper betle rhizome of Zingiber cassumunar etc. while the cheapest was by shoot of succedanea ( 25/kg) (Table 2). The flowers of Iris bakeri were sole only during the Manipuri New Year locally called Cheiraoba (which generally falls dur early part of April month). This flower is must used in celebration of Manipuri New Year symbolizing peace and prosperity. Availability status study of species showed 16 species extensively available, 17 species were commonly available, 20 species were available but not so common while the rest 10 species showed as rare species (Figure 4b). Amongst the rare species, lakoocha, Celtis timorensis, Gonostegia sp. and I. bakeri were reported more critical. The I. bakeri locally called Kombirei is now completely vanished in the wild habitat, only small population are maintained in home gardens and pots.
Table 1: Ethnomedicinal uses of plants by the Chakpa community of Andro village of Manipur
|Scientific name (Local name)||Family||Parts used||Disease / Illness (Local name)||Ethno medicinal uses|
|Amaranthaceae||Leaf||White discharge (Nupigi figou chatpa)||Leaves of Achyranthes aspera, Verbena officinalis & Scutellaria discolor 50 g each boiled in 500 ml of water. 200 ml of the filtrate after
sweetening with little honey was taken twice daily for a week period.
|Acorus calamus L.
|Acoraceae||Rhizome||Viral fever (Lai hou)||The filtrate of fresh rhizome infusion in water sweeten with honey and
2 ml of it was taken daily for 3-4 days.
|Piles (Nungsang)||50 g rhizome boiled in 500 ml of water till to reduce the volume to 1/5. The concentrated liquid applied to the anus with the help of
|20 g rhizome boiled in 500 ml of water. 100 ml of the filtrate sweeten
with honey was taken once daily for 5 days.
|Rosary made of fresh rhizome beads was tied round the neck of the ill
|Allium ascalonicum L
(Nupigi figou chatpa)
|The concoction made of 3 bulbs of this plant, yolk of one hen egg and
3 ml of honey was taken daily for 3-4 days.
|Bulb decoction of this plant mixed with honey in equal proportion and
10 ml of the concoction was taken orally twice daily till recovered.
|Allium odorum L. (Maroi nakuppi)||Liliaceae||Whole plant||Kidney problems / urinary problems (Esing
mari bera touba)
|500 g of the whole fresh plant boiled with 3 litres of water. 500 ml of the filtrate after sweetening with honey/sugar candy was taken orally
once in a day till cured.
|Aloe barbadensis Mill
|Liliaceae||Leaf||Face burnt (Mai
|Leaf gel was applied to the affected area twice a day.|
(Nupigi figou chatpa)
|Leaf gels mixed with pasteurized cow milk in 1:3 ratio and 100 ml of
the concoction was taken twice daily for 5 days.
|Zingiberaceae||Rhizome||Viral fever (Lok laihou)||20 g crushed rhizome infused in 500 ml of water. 50 ml of the filtrate was added with 20 ml honey and the concoction was taken daily for 3-
|Alpinia galanga Willd (Kanghoo)||Zingiberaceae||Rhizome||Viral fever (Lok laihou)||The rhizome harvested preferably on a particular day of Meitei
calendar (Kalen tutia) which generally falls during summer prepared paste with chilli and the paste was taken with meals till cured.
paniculata Nees (Bhupati)
|Acanthaceae||Leaf||Cough (Lok kangkhu)||50 g leaf boiled in 500 ml of water along with little sugar candy and 50
ml of the filtrate was taken orally twice daily for 3 days for adults while 10 ml was recommended for children.
|Convolvulaceae||Leaf||Boils (Yairong)||Hot fomented leaf was applied as bandage on the boils leaving a small hole on the tip. Replace it twice daily.|
(C.B. Clarke) Pamp. (Laibakngou)
|Asteraceae||Shoot||Dysentery (Eton phaiba)||Crushed extract of young shoot mixed with water in the ratio 1:5 and 100 ml of the solution was orally taken daily for 3 days.|
|Cough (Lok kangkhou)||10 ml of the crushed extract of young shoot was taken daily for 5 days.|
|Moraceae||Fruit||Boils (Yairong)||Latex extracted from the tender fruit was applied in cotton and used
as bandage on boils.
|Arundo donax L. (Yenthou)||Poaceae||Shoot||Reduce obesity (Hukchang yangnaba)||Tender shoot of Arundo donax, leaves of Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus
and Scutellaria discolor 100 g each boiled in 3 litres of water and the steam liberated out of it was exposed to all the body part once a day for 7 days. The solution also took bath.
calycinum Salisb. (Manahidak)
|Crassulaceae||Whole plant||Kidney / urinary
problem (Esing mari bera touba)
|250 g of the plant along with little sugar candy boiled 1 litre water and 200 ml of the filtrate was consumed daily till cured.|
|Capsicum annuum L.
|Solanaceae||Fruit||Boils (Samu Uring)||Matured fruit partially roasted and was applied to the affected part
thrice a day till cured.
|Cedrela toona Roxb. (Tairen)||Meliaceae||Leaf||Gastric problems (E nungsit nungaitaba)||100 g of fresh leaf boiled with 500 ml of water for 30 minutes in a closed container and 50 ml of the filtrate after sweetening with little
honey was taken daily till cured.
|Ulmaceae||Leaf||Kidney problems / urinary problem (Esing
mari bera touba)
|300 g of fresh leaf along with little sugar candy boiled with 2 litres of water and 1 litre of the filtrate was taken daily till cured.|
|Centella asiatica (L) Urban (Peruk)||Apiaceae||Whole plant||Cut & wounds
(Thangna tenna shokpa)
|Fresh plant paste was applied as poultice on the cut parts.|
(L) Schrad. (Tayal)
|Cucurbitaceae||Seed||Cough and throat
irritation (Lok kangkhu)
|Sun-dried seeds were chewed regularly.|
|Citrus macroptera||Rutaceae||Fruit||Stone case (Nung leiba)||Infusion of ashes of pea plant kept overnight in water was mixed with|
|Montrouz. (Heiribob)||fruit pulp of Citrus macroptera. 20 ml of the filtrate was taken daily for
|Clerodendrum colebrookianum Walp (Khuthap
|Verbenaceae||Leaf||Hypertension (Beepee)||2-3 fresh leaves of the plant were taken as salad.|
siphonanthus [R. Br.] (Charoi utong)
|Verbenaceae||Shoot||Tonsillitis and sinusitis (Ngou pomba)||The cigarette made of semi-dried shoot of Clerodendrum siphonanthus
and semi-dried leaf of Piper betle in equal proportion smoked thrice daily for 3-4 days.
crepidioides S Moore (Tera paibee)
|Asteraceae||Leaf||Cut and wounds (Thang tenna shokpa)||Fresh leaf paste was applied as poultice to the injured parts. It quickly stops bleeding.|
|Hypertension (Beepee)||2-3 fresh leaves were taken as salad before meals.|
Buch- Ham (Loyumba
|Capparidaceae||Leaf||Healing bone fracture (Saru tekpa oysanaba)||Fresh leaf paste was applied as poultice around the fracture portion.|
|Cyperus rotundus L.
|4-5 rhizomes were crushed with little honey and the paste was taken
twice a day for 3 days.
|Dendrocalamus hamiltonii Nees &
|Poaceae||Stem||Tooth strengthening (Ya mapangal
|Tender culm splits were used as toothbrush regularly.|
|Lamiaceae||Inflorescence||Tonsillitis (Gnou naba)||The dried inflorescence soaked in honey for 7 days and the concoction
|Urticaceae||Leaf||Healing bone fracture
(Saru tekpa oysanaba)
|Leaf paste along with little common salt was applied as bandage
around the fracture portion replacing daily for about 1-2 week period.
|Iris bakeri Wall.
|Iridaceae||Leaf||Cut & wounds (Thang
|Fresh leaf paste was applied as poultice to the injured parts.|
|Jasminum multiflorum Roth (Kundo)||Oleaceae||Root||Urinary stone case (Nung leiba)||50 g dried root power and 10 g sugar candy boiled in 1 litre of water; then 300 ml of the syrup so prepared was taken twice daily for 4-5 days. 200 g of leaf together with 50 g of marble (small white stone) boiled in 2 litres of water and 500 ml of the filtrate was taken daily till
cured. It was observed that calculi was broken into small pieces and passed out through urination.
|Diabetes (Eshing||Root of the plant and flower of Nelumbo nucifera 20 g each was boiled|
|puchat)||in 300 ml of water and the concoction was taken daily till cured.|
|Jatropha curcas L.
|Euphorbiaceae||Whole plant||Cut and wounds
|Latex of the plant was applied as poultice on injured parts.|
|Justicia adhatoda L.
|Acanthaceae||Leaf||Tonsillitis (Gnou naba)||Crushed leaf mixed with honey in the ratio 3:1 was taken orally twice daily till cured.|
|Lantana camara L.
|Verbenaceae||Stem||Tooth ache (Ya
|30 g of tender stem pounded with little kerosene and the mixture was
applied on the affected tooth till recovered.
|Meliaceae||Leaf||Internal piles (Nung
|20 g of the leaf crushed with little common salt and the poultice was
slightly inserted inside the anus.
|Mentha spicata L. (Nungshi hidak)||Lamiaceae||Shoot||Tonsillitis (Gnou naba)||Shoot of Mentha spicata, leaf of Zanthoxylum acanthopodium and traditional common salt (locally called Meitei thoom) pounded
together and made into pellets of 5 g weight. The pellets were taken along with luke-warm water twice daily.
|Rutaceae||Leaf||Diabetes (Eshing puchat)||Fresh leaves were taken regularly as salad along with meals.|
|Musa paradisiaca L.
|Musaceae||Leaf||Toothache (Ya chickpa)||The leaf remains after making of traditional common salt (locally
called Meitei thoom) was applied on the affected tooth.
|Leaf||White discharge (Nupigi figou chatpa)||Fresh mid rib of leaf lamina was cut into pieces and curry cooked with fresh indigenous small fishes (locally called Ngasang / Phabounga) and
the food stuff was taken daily till cured.
|Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. (Thambal anganba)||Nelumbonaceae||Flower||Diabetes (Eshing puchat)||50 g of lotus petal, 100 g of fresh prawn and a pinch of common salt were cooked together in 500 ml of water. 100 ml of the soup thus prepared was taken daily before meal. Flower of Nelumbo nucifera
and leaf of Jasminum multiflorum 20 g each boiled in 200 ml of water and 40 ml of the soup was taken daily.
|Ocimum basilicum L.
|Lamiaceae||Shoot||Piles (Nungsung)||Fresh 5 -10 young shoots were taken orally as salad till cured.|
|Ocimum sanctum L. (Tulsi)||Lamiaceae||Leaf||To increase immunity in children (Angang
|20 g leaf decoction infused in 30 ml water. Add 5 ml honey and the concoction was taken early morning once a week.|
|Bignoniaceae||Bark||Viral fever (Laihou)||Barks peel off upwards are dried and powdered; 2 g of the powder
was soaked in 10 ml water for 2 hours and the concoction taken twice
|daily for 2 -3 days.|
|Hypertension (Beepee)||100 g of the bark powder boiled with 1litre water and 100 ml of the
soup was taken once a day.
|Jaundice (Napu kaba)||150 g of the bark powder boiled with 1 litre water and 300 ml of the
soup was taken daily for 3-4 days.
|Rubiaceae||Whole plant||Boils (Yairong)||20 g of the plant and 3 g common salt boiled in 100 ml water and the
poultice was applied on the affected part for 3-4 days.
|200 g of leaf boiled in 3 litres of water and the solution was taken as
|Mimosaceae||Fruit||Constipation (Khong hamba yadaba)||Tender pod boiled in water and taken orally twice a day till cured.|
|Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus (Roxb. ex Hardw.) Mabb. (Nongmangkha)||Acanthaceae||Leaf||Irregular women menstrual problem (Nupi gi thagi khong kap kaiba)||Leaves of Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus, Scutellaria discolor and Swertia chirata 40 g each boiled in 2 litres water in a closed vessel and the steam so liberated exposed to abdominal portion. 5 ml of the concoction was also taken orally once a day for 3 days. Leaf of P. thyrsiflorus, S. discolor and tender shoot of Arundo donax in the ratio 40 g each boiled in 2 litres of water and the steam liberated exposed
to all body parts for a week period.
|Arecaceae||Seed/Fruit||Boils (Yairong)||The pounded seed endosperm boiled with water and the steam
liberated was exposed to the affected portion thrice a day till cured.
|Piper betle Blanco
|Piperaceae||Leaf||Tonsillitis and sinusitis
|The cigarette made of semi-dried leaf of Piper betel and semi-dried
shoot of Clerodendrum siphonanthus were smoked for 3-4 days.
|Plantago erosa Wall.
|Plantaginaceae||Leaf||Boils (Yairong)||Fresh leaf paste was applied as poultice at the infected part replacing
everyday till cured.
|Plumeria alba Aubl.
(Khagi leihou angouba)
|Apocynaceae||Root||Malaria (Arum leihou)||Root decoction juice prepared in water was taken a glassful daily for a week period.|
Benth. ex Kurz
|Campanulaceae||Whole plant||Urinary stone case (Nung leiba)||The food stuff prepared with this plant and dried fish (locally called Ngashang / Phabounga) was consumed regularly.|
|Whole plant||Urinary problems
|150 g of the whole plant boiled in 2 litres of water till to reduce the
volume to half. The filtrate after sweetening with sugar candy was
|Punica granatum L. (Kamphoi)||Punicaceae||Leaf||Dysentery for children (Angang eton phaiba)||The mixture of 5 g fresh leaf of Punica granatum and one hen egg wrapped with leaf of Curcuma domestica are roasted in hot pan. The
omelet thus prepared was eaten till cured.
|Rhus succedanea L. (Heimang)||Anacardiaceae||Leaf||Urinary problems
|250 g of the leaf boiled in 2 litres of water to reduce the volume to half. Add little sugar candy and the filtrate was taken daily.|
|Ricinus communis L.
|Euphorbiaceae||Leaf||Piles (Nungsang)||350 g of the leaf boiled in 2 litres of water in a closed vessel and the
steam liberated was exposed to anus.
| Scutellaria discolor
|Lamiaceae||Leaf||White discharge (Nupigi figou chatpa)||Leaves of Scutellaria discolor, Achyranthes aspera and Verbena officinalis 50 g each boiled in 1 litre of water. 200 ml of the filtrate after sweetening with little honey was taken twice daily for a week
|Irregular women menstrual problem (Nupi gi thagi khong kap kaiba)||Leaves of S. discolor and Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus 40 g each and 20 g of Swertia chirata boiled together in 2 litres of water in a closed vessel and the steam liberated was exposed to the abdominal parts. The above cooked material was also eaten. Leaves of S. discolor and P. thyrsiflorus 100 g each and 80 g tender shoot of Arundo donax boiled in 1 litre of water and the steam liberated was exposed to the
|Solanaceae||Fruit||Pneumonia (Daiphat)||20 g of the pounded fresh fruit mixed with 1/3 ml of Lupa-hidak (Mercuric chloride) and 5 ml of honey and the tincture so prepared
was taken daily with a dose of 5 ml.
|Viral fever (Lok laihou)||Fresh fruit decoction paste mixed with honey in the ratio 2:1 was
taken a table spoonful thrice a day.
D.Don (Lam khamen)
|Solanaceae||Fruit||Tooth ache (Ya chikpa)||The fruit roasted in burning charcoal was applied on the effected
|Swertia chirata C. B. Clarke (Chirata)||Gentianaceae||Whole plant||Irregular women menstrual problem (Nupi gi thagi khong
|20 g of Swertia chirata and leaves of Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus and Scutellaria discolor 40 g each boiled in 1 litre of water in a closed vessel and the steam liberated was exposed to the abdominal parts. 5
ml of the concoction was also taken daily for 3 days.
|Combretaceae||Fruit||Mouth freshener (Chin
|Dried fruits were chewed regularly.|
tomentosa Roxb. ex Flem. (Mayokpha)
|Combretaceae||Bark||White discharge (Nupigi figou chatpa)||20 g of bark of the tree peel off upward boiled in 100 ml of water till to
reduce to half the volume and the solution thus obtained was taken daily till cured.
|Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Miers ex Hook.f. & Thomson
|Menispermaceae||Shoot||Stone case (Nung leiba)||Shoot of the plant cooked with pasteurized cow milk and the concoction was taken regularly.|
|Vallisneria spiralis L.
|40 g of the leaf and 2 g sugar candy boiled in 500 ml of water and 20
ml of the decoction was taken daily.
|Verbena officinalis L.
|Verbenaceae||Whole plant||Viral fever (Laihou)||Plant extract was applied to all body parts except head.|
|Plant paste was applied externally as poultice on the stomach portion.|
|White discharge (Nupigi figou chatpa)||Plant of Verbena officinalis, Achyranthes aspera & Scutellaria discolor
50 g each boiled in 500 ml of water. The filtrate after sweetening with
honey was taken a glassful a day for a week period.
|Flacourtiaceae||Leaf||Skin itching (Unsha gi
|500 g of the leaf boiled in 10 litres of water and the solution was taken
|Zanthoxylum acanthopodium DC.
|Rutaceae||Leaf||Gastric problems (Nungshit asaba kaba)||100 g of the leaf boiled in 1 litre of water and the filtrate was taken orally once a day for 3 days.|
|Tonsillitis (Gnou naba)||Leaf of Zanthoxylum acanthopodium and shoot of Mentha spicata pounded together in same proportion. Added a pinch of traditional common salt (locally called Meitei-thoom). A table spoonful of the
preparation was taken twice daily.
Roxb. (Taekhou yaikhu)
|Zingiberaceae||Rhizome||Leprosy (Agnouba pakpa)||Fresh rhizome paste was applied regularly as poultice on the affected parts.|
|Revitalization of children (Angang
|100 g rhizome of this plant, one eel fish and 200 ml cow milk cooked together and the food stuff prepared was taken twice a week.|
Table 2: Habit, source of collection, marketability and availability status of 63 medicinal plants used by Chakpa community
|Scientific name||Voucher No.||Habit||Source||Marketability ( /kg)||Availability|
|Allium ascalonicum||NEIST(BLIM)-089||Herb||Cultivated||40 (Plant)||∫∫|
|Allium odorum||NEIST(BLIM)-085||Herb||Cultivated||35 (Shoot)||∫∫∫∫|
|Alpinia allughas||NEIST(BLIM)-199||Herb||Wild||50 (Rhizome)||∫∫|
|Alpinia galanga||NEIST(BLIM)-140||Herb||Cultivated/Wild||60 (Rhizome)||∫|
|Capsicum annuum||NEIST(BLIM)-063||Shrub||Cultivated||55 (Fruit)||∫∫∫∫|
|Celtis timorensis||195 NEIST(BLIM)||Tree||Wild||Non-marketed||∫|
|Centella asiatica||NEIST(BLIM)-098||Herb||Wild||40 (Plant)||∫∫∫∫|
|Citrus macroptera||179 NEIST(BLIM)||Tree||Cultivated||120 (Fruit)||∫∫∫|
|Elsholtzia strobilifera||NEIST(BLIM)-122||Herb||Cultivated||140 (Inflorescence)||∫∫|
|Iris bakeri||NEIST(BLIM)-169||Herb||Cultivated||380 (Flower)||∫|
|Jasminum multiflorum||NEIST(BLIM)-229||Shrub||Cultivated/Wild||190 (Flower)||∫∫∫|
|Mentha spicata||NEIST(BLIM)-900||Herb||Cultivated||60 (Shoot)||∫∫∫∫|
|Murraya koenigii||NEIST(BLIM)-310||Tree||Cultivated||50 (Leaf)||∫∫|
|Musa paradisiaca||NEIST(BLIM)-138||Herb||Cultivated/Wild||35 (Inflorescence) 30
|Nelumbo nucifera||NEIST(BLIM)-016||Herb||Cultivated||80 (Flower) 30
(Tender leaf) 130 (Root)
|Oroxylum indicum||NEIST(BLIM)-143||Tree||Wild||100 (Pod)||∫∫|
|Parkia timoriana||NEIST(BLIM)-340||Tree||Cultivated||270 (Pod)||∫∫∫|
|Phoenix humilis||NEIST(BLIM)-082||Tree||Wild||45 (Fruits)||∫|
|Piper betle||NEIST(BLIM)-078||Climber||Cultivated||230 (Leaf)||∫∫∫∫|
|Plumeria alba||NEIST(BLIM)-123||Tree||Cultivated/Wild||210 (Flowers)||∫∫∫|
|Punica granatum||NEIST(BLIM)-164||Shrub||Cultivated||120 (Fruit)||∫∫∫∫|
|Rhus succedanea||NEIST(BLIM)-302||Tree||Wild||40 (Fruit) 25 (Shoot)||∫∫|
|Solanum anguivi||NEIST(BLIM)-220||Shrub||Wild||30 (Fruit)||∫∫∫|
|Solanum erianthum||NEIST(BLIM)-236||Shrub||Wild||30 (Fruit)||∫∫∫|
|Terminalia chebula||NEIST(BLIM)-314||Tree||Cultivated/Wild||160 (Fruit)||∫∫|
|Tinospora cordifolia||NEIST(BLIM)-330||Climber||Cultivated/Wild||80 (Stem)||∫∫|
|NEIST(BLIM)-345||Tree||Cultivated/Wild||180 (Fruit) 35 (Leaf)||∫∫|
|Zingiber cassumunar||NEIST(BLIM)-048||Herb||Cultivated/Wild||200 (Rhizome)||∫|
∫∫∫∫=Extensively available, ∫∫∫=Commonly available, ∫∫=Available but not so common, ∫=Rare; 1 $=₹ 59 (at the time of survey)
It is significant to note that 63 plant species were used to treat over 25 diseases and ailments (Figure 5). Amongst these plants, 15 species were used in treatment of multiple diseases while rest 48 species were used to treat single disease. Acorus calamus was used in treatment of highest number of diseases like viral fever, piles, vomiting and diarrhea followed by Oroxylum indicum that was used to treat 3 diseases like fever, hypertension and jaundice. The highest numbers of 10 species were used in treatment of menstrual disorder, followed by 9 species to treat urinary disorder and kidney problems (Figure 5). The other uses were burnt/boils (7 species), fever and tonsillitis (6 species each), piles (5 species), cuts/wounds, diabetes, diarhoea/dysentery and toothache (4 species each), cough, hypertension and stomachic (3 species each), bone fracture and skin diseases (2 species each) and the diseases like constipation, health tonic, jaundice, leprosy, malaria, mouth freshener, obesity, pneumonia, typhoid and vomiting were treated by single species (Figure 5). In around 20% of the herbal preparations, honey was used as an important ingredient. Traditionally prepared common salt locally called Meitei-Thum was also used in some formulations. Some formulations were prepared by using single plant while some were prepared by more than one plant. Some of them are Achyranthes aspera, Verbena officinalis and Scutelleria discolor together in treatment of menstrual disorder; Arundo donax, Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus and S. discolor together in treatment of obesity; Clerodendrum siphonanthes and P. betle together in treatment of tonsillitis and sinusitis; Jasminum multiflorum and Nelumbo nucifera together in treatment of diabetes; Mentha spicata and Zanthoxylum acanthopodium together in treatment of tonsillitis; P. thyrsiflorus, S. discolor and Swertia chirata together in treatment of menstrual disorder (Table 1). In some peculiar cases, mercuric chloride locally called Lupa-hidak was added as an ingredient with pounded leaves of Solanum anguivi for treatment of severe pneumonia. In another case leaves of J. multiflorum was boiled with marble (white stone) for treatment of calculi.
Edibility of ethnomedicinal plants
Out of the 63 ethnomedicinally used plants by the Chakpa community, 26 species were used as food in traditional cuisines in the form of vegetables, spices, snacks and fruits (Table 3). The main traditional cuisines of Chakpa community were Eronba, Kangsoi, Singju, Oottii, Ametpa, Kangou, Pakoura, etc. (Table 3). Amongst the uses, 17 species were used as vegetables, 11 species as spices, 3 species as fruits and 2 species used as snacks (Figure 6a). Some of the plants like Allium ascalonicum, Allium odorum, Alpinia allughas and Mentha spicata were used as both spices and vegetables. Twenty one species were consumed occasionally (consumed not more than once in a week or in certain occasions) while the rest 5 species namely, A. odorum, Capsicum annum, Citrus macroptera, Musa paradisiaca and Nelumbo nucifera were frequently used (Table 3). In a single plant, more than one parts were eaten like stem and inflorescence in case of M. paradisiaca; shoot, root and fruit in case of N. nucifera; leaf and inflorescence in case of Ocimum basilicum and Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus; fruit and inflorescence in case of Parkia timoriana (Plate 1a); fruit and leaf in case of Punica granatum and Zanthoxylum acanthopodium; fruit and shoot in case of Rhus succedanea (Table 3). Edible parts of the plant were fruit (11 species), leaf (6 species), flower/inflorescence (5 species), rhizome and shoot (3 species each), whole plant (2 species each), stem and root (single species each) (Figure 6b). In around half of the food preparations, dry fish (locally called Nga-akangba) or smoked fish (locally called Nga-ayaiba) or fermented fish (locally called Nga-ri) were used. Some of the edible plants were cuisine-specific like leaf of Z. acanthopodium (Plate 1b) in preparation of snails; fruit cover of Citrus macroptera (Plate 1c) used in fish cooking, inflorescence of Elsholtzia blanda in preparation of Eronba and Ametpa; leaf of Murraya koenigii in beans preparation locally called Hawai-thongba; leaf of P. granatum in Ootti preparation; and rhizome of Zingiber cassumunar was in meat cooking (Table 3). The rhizome of Z. cassumunar used in meat cooking especially for big animals not only for aroma / flavour but also for softening of the meat. Leaf of Z. acanthopodium was must in snail cooking. The tender pods of Oroxylum indicum (Plate 1d) cooked with smoked / dried fish and served as a delicacy. The rhizome of Alpinia galanga (Plate 1e) along with little quantity of fermented fish smashed together and prepared a dish called Ametpa and served with pungent taste. In many of the cuisines like Eronba, Ametpa, Kangsoi, Chamthong, Singju, etc., edible oils are not used. The cuisine namely, Nongmangkha-soutani was served during traditional/religious feasts only (Table 3).
Table 3: Ethnomedicinal plants which are used as food by Chakpa community
|Scientific name||Parts Eaten||Mode of Uses||Edibility mode*||Use Status|
|Allium ascalonicum||Whole Plant||Vegetable/Spices||Prepared Kangsoi||Occasionally|
|Allium odorum||Whole Plant||Vegetable/Spices||Prepared Pakoura and Ametpa||Frequently|
|Alpinia allughas||Rhizome||Vegetables/Spices||Prepared Eronba||Occasionally|
|Alpinia galanga||Rhizome||Spices||Prepared Ametpa||Occasionally|
|Artocarpus lakoocha||Fruit||Fruits||Ripe fruit as snacks||Occasionally|
|Capsicum annuum||Fruit||Spices||In many of the food preparations||Frequently|
|Centella asiatica||Whole Plant||Vegetables||Prepared Kangsoi||Occasionally|
|Citrus macroptera||Fruit cover||Spices||Fruit cover is added in meat cooking
specially in fish cooking
|Shoot||Vegetable||Shoot is prepared Oottii||Occasionally|
|Leaf||Vegetable||Cooked with smoked / dry fishes||Occasionally|
|Elsholtzia strobilifera||Inflorescence||Spices||Add in traditional Eronba||Occasionally|
|Justicia adhatoda||Leaf||Vegetables||Coked with dry fishes||Occasionally|
|Mentha spicata||Leaf & Shoot||Vegetables/Spices||As salad, fried with beans||Occasionally|
|Murraya koenigii||Leaf||Spices||Add in beans preparation||Occasionally|
|Musa paradisiaca||Stem/Inflorescence||Vegetables/Fruit||Both stem and inflorescence prepared Eronba. Stem is cooked with Pisum sativum seeds.
Inflorescence prepared Singju
|Nelumbo nucifera||Shoot/Root/Fruit||Vegetables/Snacks||Root cooked with sugar or molasses, Shoot eaten as green salad and prepared Eronba. Fruits eaten as
|Ocimum basilicum||Leaf/Inflorescence||Spices||As salad||Occasionally|
|Oroxylum indicum||Fruit||Vegetable||Cooked with dry fishes||Occasionally|
|Parkia timoriana||Fruit/Inflorescence||Vegetable||Fruits prepared Eronba and Shingju||Occasionally|
|Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus||Leaf/Inflorescence||Vegetable||Leaf prepared Soutani. Inflorescence fried with edible oil and potato
|Punica granatum||Fruit/Leaf||Fruits/Vegetables||Leaf prepared Oottii||Occasionally|
|Rhus succedanea||Fruit/Shoot||Fruits||Shoot prepared Shingju. Fruit coked
with molasses and eaten as snacks.
|Solanum anguivi||Fruit||Snacks/Vegetable||Fruit fried in edible oil||Occasionally|
|Solanum erianthum||Fruit||Vegetable||Fruit fried in edible oil||Occasionally|
|Leaf/Fruit||Spices||Leaf is cooked with snails. Fruits are
|Zingiber cassumunar||Rhizome||Spices||Add rhizome in meat cooking||Occasionally|
* Ametpa = Smashed boiled vegetables together with chilli and fermented fish, Eronba = Smashed boiled vegetables,
potato, chilli and fermented fish with soup based, Kangsoi = Varieties of vegetable are cooked together with dried / smoked fished without edible oil, Oottii = Cooked vegetables with a pinch of soda (sodium bicarbonate), Pakoura = Vegetables mixed with gram flour are deep fried in edible oil and the same is cooked based on soup; Shingju = Many vegetable cut pieces are smashed together with seed powder of Anisomeles indica, chilli and fermented fish; Soutani = Leaf / shoot of Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus with sugar candy deep cooked
Atleast 63 plants were used by Chakpa community of Manipur in health care and treatment of diseases/ailments. A total of 361 medicinal plants are reported from Manipur7. A report of 51 economic plants (medicinal and food) from the wetlands of Manipur is available29. Treatment of 21 types of disease and complicacies using 23 spices and aromatic plants by ethnic people of Manipur were studied16. Around 2.4% of the land area of Manipur is under wetlands  supports varieties of economic plants including medicinal and aromatic plants. A study on wetland bioresources of Manipur highlighted 38 plant species having ethnomedicinal properties for treatment of 22 diseases and ailments . This community has skill in formulations of herbal medicines for local applications.
According to 2001 Census, there are limited healthcare centers and doctors in the state of Manipur. Population served per medical centre was 4213; 954 person per hospital bed and 2517 person per doctor. Most of the healthcare centres are and hospitals are mainly concentrated in Imphal (state capital) and medical facilities in remote areas are very limited. On the other hand, local healers have considerable role and reputation in village healthcare .
Most remedies were prepared by simply boiling the ingredients (26 species). Regarding part used leaves, whole plant, shoots, fruits and rhizome were the most frequently used plant parts while bark, root, stem, seed, culm, flower and inflorescence used to a lesser extent. Maximum number of mode of administration of Chakpa caste is in liquid form while solid form is very less. Honey played a vital role in healthcare of Chakpa as more than half of the herbal formulations honey was used as an important ingredient. Honey bee culture was observed in Andro village.
Wild edible species form a good source of minerals for the local residents at different parts of the globe [32-34]. Also reported that wild edible plants form a good source of protein, fat, vitamins, sugars and minerals and interestingly they are available during different months/seasons of the year35. Out of 63 plant species, 26 plants were reported consumed as food by Chakpa community in various forms like vegetable, fruit, spices, snacks, etc. It is significant to note that Chakpa community regularly consumed many of the medicinal herbs in their diet with the very concept “wild food plants as medicine and medicinal plants as food”. Substantial quantity and varieties of wild edible and medicinal plants are generally sold in local markets of Manipur.
Ethnobotanical studies not only identify products which may have local or national commercial value , but more importantly they provide a framework for the integration of such knowledge into development initiatives 37, and identification of key habitats for conservation . In the recent times, the collection of medicinal plants has not only been for personal use but also to sell to local markets or to suppliers which in tern sell them in bigger markets . Frequent harvesting of these medicinal plants often resulted in overexploitation. The rate of harvesting has been increasing dayby- day due to increase in human population and also collection for local trade. Moreover, due to shrinkage of natural habitats the availability of plant resources has been registering a declining trend during recent years . It has also been observed that natural habitats are destructed due to land development like urbanization, house construction, road development and establishment of schools, colleges and other departments. Frequent and overexploitation of species may lead a threat to their survival in near future as was observed for some species in Northeastern States . Community dependence on surrounding bioresources in terms of food and medicine in Manipur are paramount . Overexploitation due to the unprecedented interest and demand for plants with medicinal properties and potency for treatment of various ailments as reported in the Borno State of Nigeria , contrary to it, for the Chakpa community of Manipur, it was encouraging because more than 40% of the medicinal and edible plants had already started cultivation in their private lands. Insitu conservation in the form of sacred grooves locally called Panam Ningthou, Pureiromlaba, Chingsomba and Amamlok is an excellent example of Chakpa community’s traditional knowledge, skill and practices in conservation of biodiversity. As reported in other part , medicinal plants will continue to play an important role in primary healthcare sector in Andro village due to the peoples strong tradition and faith on the practice. But how long this conservation practice could continue is a big question that needs to be addressed immediately. Now, people have realized the need for conservation and cultivation of these life saving plants and commercial scale cultivation has been started in recent times. The present study findings may provide valuable insight for proper management and future planning of bioresources mainly medicinal and edible plants for Andro village.
In the present documentation, the close association of the Chakpa caste with their natural environment and their awareness of the usefulness of the rich 63 medicinal and edible plant resources are highlighted. Around 40% of the species were cultivated in private lands which is a good indication for sustainable management of these plant species. The study findings provide a valuable insight into the potential utilization and production of species and such information may be used to identify particular species worthy of further investigation, while contributing towards the local and national sustainable exploitation of biodiversity database particularly medicinal herbs and food plants. Some of the medicinal-cum-food plants may undergo further investigation to evaluate nutritional values that may further developed into economically viable crops. The tradition use of plants as medicine is still practiced in these remote area and they prefer the use of folk medicare system instead of going to the hospital except in critical health conditions. The result could be due to easily availability of medicinal plants as the study area is at the foot hill of Nongmaiching hill and moreover most of the folk medicare systems were based on home prepared remedies. Other than the home prepared remedies this people turn to the traditional healers for treatment of severe health condition with medicinal plants because of low cost and readily available. Poor economic condition is taken as another factor for use of medicinal plants in day-to-day health care and treatment as modern treatments are fairly expensive.
It is of interest to know that some of the plants have their new medicinal uses. For instance, Allium ascalonicum, Scutellaria discolor and Musa paradisiaca were used to treat white discharge problem, Artemisia nilagirica for dysentery, Mentha spicata, Zanthoxylum acanthopodium for treatment of tonsillitis, Oroxylum indicum for blood pressure reduction, Paederia foetida, Phoenix humilis for boils, Crataeva nurvala for bone fracture healing, Jasminum multiflorum for stone case (calculi), Xylosma longifolia for skin itching, Ricinus communis for piles and Arundo donax for reducing body weight. But there is a need to determine the active components of these medicinal plants and perform bioassays to test its efficacy. This paper is the first hand database of medicinal plants of Chakpa community of Manipur, India and will be made it available in the Community Library of Andro village.
Authors thank Director, CSIR: North-East Institute of Science & Technology, Jorhat for providing facilities and permission to publish this work. The traditional herbal practitioners, elderly people and other informants of Andro village and market vendors of Thoubal bazaar who have provided the vital information are duly acknowledged.
ST carried out surveys at Andro village and organized interview schedules with local traditional healers and collected information on medicinal plants, their use pattern and processing. He also compiled and designs the manuscript. DSN and ChC participated in market surveys and surveys at Andro village. They also prepared vouchers specimen of all medicinal plant species into the herbarium and identified them to species level. HBS participated in the design and coordination of the study, species identification and compiled the information in the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.