Studies on Ethnomedicinal Uses and Formulation of Herbal Drugs from Medicinal Plants of Ranchi District- A Survey

P. R. Sahu, A. S. Khalkho*, S. Kumari and S. Alam

Department of Biotechnology, Marwari College, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India

*Corresponding Author:
A. S. Khalkho
Department of Biotechnology
Marwari College, Ranchi
Jharkhand, India
E-mail: [email protected]
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Introduction: Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today. Modern medicine recognizes herbalism as a form of alternative medicine, as the practice of herbalism is not strictly based on evidence gathered using the scientific method. Modern medicine, does, however, make use of many plant-derived compounds as the basis for evidence-tested pharmaceutical drugs, and phytotherapy works to apply modern standards of effectiveness testing to herbs and medicines that are derived from natural sources.
To examine the traditional therapeutic properties of indigenous medicinal plants in urban and rural location of Ranchi, North Eastern India. Methods: In the present study ehnomedicinal survey was conducted in various urban and rural locations of Ranchi District of Jharkhand state during March 2009 - Sep2010.
The people of the study area have expertise in utilizing different plant parts as medicine for the treatment of all sorts of aliments. This paper additionally deals with the enlistment and documentation of traditional therapeutic properties of 74 indigenous medicinal plants, which are in practice for the treatment of diseases by inhabitants of the study area. The information on ethnomedicinal formulation is based on the interview with local traditional herbal practitioners, Vaidhya and other knowledgeable persons, who prescribe their herbal preparation to treat various ailment. Conclusion: The study exclusively examined many novel plants and plant products based on its medicinal uses and properties. This survey needs to be integrated with healthcare system (research & industrial level) to explore new drug formulation for medicinal upgradation of humans.


Medicinal plants, Herbal treatment, Folklore, Aliments.


Majority of world population relies on traditional medicines for primary healthcare, most of which involves use of locally available plants. In India all most 95% of the prescription are plant based in the traditional systems of Unani, ayurveda, Homeopathy and Siddha [1]. Ancient ethnic communities around the world have learnt to utilize their neighborhood herbal wealth for curative as well as offensive purposes [2]. Due to lake of literacy, their knowledge on plants developed often at the cost of their dear life through centuries old experience could be perfectly documented and it had rather descend from one generation to another as a domestic culture heritage [3].

Modern medicinal facilities are now making a rapid penetration into the areas which have been centers of herbal use as medicines for ages as their tradition. Such activites may result in disappearance of traditional use and knowledge herbal wealth. It is therefore important (as bioethical mater) that the valuable knowledge from locally folklore, in particular, of the medicinal uses of locally available plants to treat different diseases be recorded [4].

Many attempts have been made on inventarisation of medicinal plants currently being used for treatment of ailments in different parts of India such as Nayar [5] reported medicinal plants of Eastern Ghats, Nagaraju and Rao [6] enlisted medicinal plants of Tirumala Hills and the plants crude drug of Rayalaseema (A.P.). Similarly Jain et el. from Raipur [7], Kumar et al., from Bikaner [8], Bondya et al., and Chandra et al. from Ranchi [9,10] have studied on medicinal plants and their traditional uses.

Ranchi district of Jharkhand state is immensely rich in biodiversity and ethnomedicinal information. Ranchi the capital of Jharkhand lies between 22° 30, N - 23° 30, N latitude and 85° E-86° E longitude. It is located at an altitude of 654 m above sea level. The annual average rainfall in Ranchi district is about 1530 mm. The whole district is covered by red sandy soil. Jharkhand state is immensely rich in biological diversity and traditional knowledge with about 23,605 sq km forest area, which is 29% of the total geographic area. It is also rich in ethnomedicine and about 80%people live in rural are [10]. The population compromising various ethnic groups and indigenous mass making it hub of horopaths, Pahans, Vidhya and other having traditional knowledge about medicinal uses of various plants found in ambience. The current trend of life style is resulting in gradual loss of valuable indigenous therapeutic knowledge (Homeopathy) associated with ethnic culture in the area in particular [3].

The present communication records documentation and compilation of fragmentary ethnic knowledge about the medicinal and nutritional indigenous plants. In the paper, attempt has been made to document the folklore formulation so that in near future it may lead to the discovery of new medicines and help in protecting their IPR.


Ethnomedicinal survey was conducted during Mar 2009 – Sep 2010 in 5 different blocks of Ranchi district namely, Kanke, Ratu, Mander, Bero and Lapung. The requisite ehnomedicinal properties of different plants were recorded through direct interview with the local people and practitioners on the basis of their traditional knowledge and the folklore formulation, which they were prescribed to their patients. After documentation, use of formulation was cross checked and confirmed. The plants were identified with the herbaria of Ranchi University and Department of Forestry of Birsa Agriculture University, Ranchi, Jharkhand.

Scientific botanical identification of the collected plants was done by referring to Haines [11], Hembrom [12], Prasad [3] and Chandra [10]. Queries were asked on the basis of readymade questionnaire13 to know the traditional knowledge used in practice by local people. All collected specimen were deposited in the herbarium of Department of Botany, Marwari College, Ranchi, Ranchi University for future references.


The documentation has been done on the basis of information extracted from the knowledgeable local practitioners, the patients who have cured and the plant collectors of the area. A list of 74 plants and their uses has been presented in Table 1 in alphabetical order giving their Botanical name, followed by local name, family and medicinal uses.

Table 1. List of important medicinal plants in Jharkhand and their uses

S. No. Latin Name Local Name Uses
1 Abrus precatorius
Karjani Seed - Purgative, emetic, aphrodisiac, poultice of seeds used as suppository for abortion
Root   - Emetic, alexiteric
Leaves - Juice from fresh leaves in said to remove   spots of leucoderma
2 Acacia arabica Babul Fruit - Ground fruit mixed with sugar is given him  weakness by tribal
Bark   - Astringent, demulcent
Gum    - In dry cough, diarrhea, dysentery and diabetes mellitus
3 Acacia catechu Khair Bark Astringent Kath
4 Achyranthes aspera
Apamarg Plant  - Purgative and diuretic, used in dropsy, Piles, Boils, Skin eruptions, Colic, Snake-bite etc.
Root   - Astringent, used in Pyorrhea
Seed   - Emetic
5 Adina cordifolia Karam Bark   - Febrifuge, Antiseptic, also used to kill worms in sores
6 Ailanthus excelsa Ghorkaranj Bark   - Aromatic, Tonic, Febrifuge, Expectorant, Antispasmodic and Astringent; used in Rheumatism also.
7 Aegle marmelos Bel Fruit - Pulp of ripe fruit aromatic, cooling and laxative while half ripe fruit Astringent, Digestive and Stomachic
Root   - Used in intermittent fevers, and as bark fish poison.
8 Alangium Lamarckii Dhela Leaves - As poultice in rheumatic pain
Bark&root In Jaundice
Root Bark Purgative, anthelmintic and useful in fever and skin diseases.
9 Albizzia lebbek Siris Plant  - In snake-bite and scorpion sting, infusion given in anemia and for curing itch.
Bark&See d Astringent, tonic and restorative, given in piles and diarrhea
Root bark In Powder form used to strengthen gums in night-blindness.
10 Albizzia procera Safed Siris Leaves - Used as insecticide, made into poultice and applied to ulcer
11 Alstonia scholaris Chatni Bark   - Tonic, alternative, febrifuge, useful in diarrhea dysentery and snake- bite Milky
juice - Applied to ulcer
12 Audrographis Kalmegh Plant  - Tonic febrifuge, alternative anthelmintic paniculata
13 Artocarpus lakoocha Barhar Seed   - Ground and given to children as purgative
14 Asparagus racemosa
Satawar Root   - Decoction used by tribal in fever, refrigerant, demulcent, aphrodisiac, antiseptic, alterative, galactagogue.
15 Azadirachta indica Neem Leaves - Carminative, expectorant, anthelmintic, antidotal, diuretic and insecticidal; externally applied in skin diseases as antiseptic and stimulant.
Bark   - Bitter tonic, astringent, alterative, anthelmintic,
Roots & Trunk Antispasmodic and stimulant
Gum    - Stimulant and demulcent
Fruit - Used in urinary diseases, piles, leprosy,  intestinal worms etc.
Seed oil- Antiseptic dressing in skin diseases
16 Bauhinia purpurea Koenar Bark   - Astringent
Root   -
Flowers- Laxative
17 Bauhinia retusa Kathal Gum    - Emmenagogue, diuretic
18 Bombax ceiba Semal Root   - Tonic, stimulant emetic, aphrodisiac
Leaves - Boiled and given with sugar in case of weakness
Gum    - Aphrodisiac, demulcent, haemo- static, astringent, tonic alterative.
19 Boswellia serrata Salai Gum    - Diaphoretic, diuretic, astringent, emmenagogue, tonic
20 Buchanania lanzan Piar Oil     - Tonic a substitute for almond oil in native medical preparations
Gum    - Used in diarrhea
21 Butea frondosa Palas Leaf  - Astringent, tonic
Seed   - Anthelmintic
Gum    - Astringent
22 Calotropis gigantea
Akaon Leaves - Used in dropsy and enlargement of abdominal viscera, smoked or smoke inhaled in asthma & cough, decoction for extracting guinea worms.
Root bark Cholagogue, diaphoretic, emetic, alterative and diuretic.
Flower - Tonic, stomachic, digestive and expectorant.
Latex - Abortifacient as well as used in leprosy, dropsy, rheumatism, etc.
23 Carissa carandas Kanwar Fruit - Appetizer, ground green fruit with salt taken in dysentery
24 Cassia fistula Amaltas Leaves- Laxative, tonic, febrifuge, purgative
Seeds & Root Bark Root   - Astringent, tonic, febrifuge, purgative.
Flower - Purgative
Fruit - Cathartic also applied in rheumatism
Seeds - Emetic.
25 Chloroxylon Bharhul Leave  - Used for cure of sores in cattle swietenia
26 Clerodendron infortunatum Bhant Leaves - Tonic, antiperiodic, febrifuge, vermifuge, also used in skin diseases and as substitute for chireta
27 Dalbergia latifolia Kala Sissoo Leaf  - Boiled and infusion taken in weakness
28 Emblica officinalis Amla Fruit - Richest source of vitamin `C', refrigerant, antiscorbutic, diuretic, laxative, astringent, stomachic, blood purifier, appetizer.
Seed  - Infusion   used as eye-wash  in ophthalmic diseases.
29 Eugenia spp. Jamun Bark   - Astringent, decoction used for gargles, fresh juice used in diarrhea of children
Fruit - Juice (fresh as well as vinegar) used as stomachic, carminative, diuretic.
Seed   - Used in diabetes.
30 Euphoria hirta Dudhi Plant  - Vermifuge and expectorant
31 Ficus benghalensis Bar Leaves - Poultice applied to abscesses
Bark   - Tonic, astringent, used also in diarrhea and diabetes.
Seed   - Refrigerant, tonic
Milky - Applied externally for pains in rheumatism  juice and lumbago
32 Ficus religiosa Pipal Young & Shoots
leaves - Purgative
Bark   - Astringent, infusion taken internally in scabies
Fruit - Laxative
Seeds - Cooling and alterative.
33 Flacourtia ramontchi Katai Fruit - In jaundice and enlarged spleen
Gum    - Given with other ingredients in cholera.
34 Helicteres isora
Aintha Root   - Expectorant, demulcent, astringent, juice in diabetes and stomach affections, topical application for scabies.
Bark   - Expectorant, demulcent and astringent, also used in dysentery and diarrhea.
Fruit - Demulcent and astringent, useful in gripping of bowels and flatulence of children.
35 Holarrhena antidysentrica Koreya Bark   - Used in dysentery, rubbed in ground form over body in dropsy.
Seed   - Astringent, febrifuge, used in dysentery, diarrhea and vermifuge.
36 Holoptelia integrifolia Chilbil Bark   - Juice of boiled bark applied to rheumatic swellings
Leaves - Fish poison
37 Hymenodictyon excelsum Bhurkur Bark (inner)  - Astringent and febrifuge
38 Lannea grandis Genjan Leaves - Boiled and applied for local swellings and pains
Bark   - astringent, used as lotion in eruption, ulcer, etc., decoction used in toothache
39 Litsaea sebifera Medh Bark   - Crushed and used for curing pain; given to cows to strengthen them
40 Madhuca latifolia Mahua Bark   - Used in rheumatic affection as well as itch and its decoction as astringent and tonic.
Flower - Fried flowers eaten in piles; its spirit is astringent, tonic, appetizer and sedative.
41 Melia azedarach Bakain Root bark- Fruit, flower and leaves Deobstruent, resolvent, alexipharmic; juice of leaves anthelmintic, antilithic diuretic and emmenagogue
Seed Oil - Used in antiseptic dressing
42 Michelia champaca Champa Bark    - Febrifuge, stimulant, expectorant, astringent, purgative.
Flowers Seed and fruits- Stimulant, antispasmodic, tonic, stomachic, carminative and cooling, used in dyspepsia, nausea, fever, renal diseases and applied externally in vertigo with sesamum oil. Oil from flowers cephalagia, opthalmia and gout.
43 Mimosa pudica Lajwanti Root   - Decoction used in gravellish complains
Leaves - Used in piles and fistula; paste applied in hydrocoel and scorpion sting.
44 Mucuna prurita
Alkusi Root   - Purgative febrifuge, used in cholera and dropsy
Seed   - Aphrodisiac and nervine tonic.
45 Nyctanthes arbortristis
Samsihar Leaves - Used in fever and rheumatism; warm decoction in sciatica and expressed juice used as laxative, tonic and vermifuge.
46 Oroxylum indicum Sonapatta Root bark- Astringent, diaphoretic, tonic, used in diarrhea and rheumatism
Leaves - Burnt leaves taken with wine as a remedy for cough.
Fruits(Ten der)- Carminative and stomachic
Seeds   - Purgative
47 Ougeinia oojenensis Sandan Bark    - Febrifuge, decoction given in highly colored urine
Gum     - Used in dysentery and diarrhea, and also as fish poison
48 Pongamia pinnata Karanj Root    - Juice used in fistulous sores and for cleaning foul ulcers.
Stem bark (fresh) Used internally for bleeding piles
Leaves - Used as poultice in worm infested ulcers.
Seed   - Oil used in coetaneous affections, herpes scabies and rheumatism.
49 Pterocarpus marsupium Bai,  Paisar Bark   - Astringent
Leaves - Externally applied in boils sores and skin diseases
Wood   - Extract used in diabetes
Gum    - Astringent, used in diarrhea pyrosis and toothache.
50 Pueraria tuberosa
Patal Kohra Root   - Demulcent, refrigerant, emetic, tonic, lactagogues. paste rubbed in rheumatism.
51 Rauwolfia spp.
Sarpagandha Root   - Febrifuge, antidote for bites of snakes, insects, etc.
52 Rubia cordifolia
Jotsingh Root   - Astringent, alterative, deobstruent and tonic; decoction used in jaundice paralysis, urinary and menstrual troubles and inflamed chest.
Stem   - Used in cobra-bites and scorpion string.
53 Schleichera oleosa Kusum Bark   - Astringent, used with oil in itch
Seed   - Power applied to remove maggots
of animal ulcers,
Oil     - Used for cure of itch, ache and scalp and for promoting hair growth.
54 Semecarpus anacardium Bhelwa Nut    - Vermifuge and applied in uterus for abortion
Oil     - Used in rheumatism and leprous nodules
Gum    - Used in venereal and leprous affections and nervous debility.
55 Shorea robusta Sal, Sakhua Resin - Astringent, detergent, digestive, aphrodisiac and used for fumigation to purify houses
Leaves & Bark Burnt powder in linseed oil used for healing burns.
56 Smilax macrophylla Ramdatwan Roots - Used in bloodless dysentery, venereal diseases (as substitute for sarsa-parilla) rheumatism and pains in lower extremities.
57 Prolifera Ramdatwan Root   - Used in blood dysentery and in cases of dark and reddish urine
58 Solanum nigrum
Makoi Plant  - Juice used as hydrogogue, cathartic, diuretic, alterative and in chronic enlargement of liver, blood spitting, piles, dysentery etc.
Leaves - Decoction used as laxative and diuretic.
Berries- Used in fever, diarrhea, eye diseases and hydrophobia.
59 Solanum xanthocarpum
Rengni Plant   - Used in diuretic dropsy and gonorrhea
Root   - Expectorant, antiemetic.
Leaves - Applied locally for pains and juice with pepper taken in rheumatism
Buds & - flowers Salt solution used for watery eyes
Berries- Carminative and also used in sore- throat
60 Soymida febrifuga Rohan Bark   - Astringent, febrifuge, tonic; used in general debility, intermittent fever, diarrhea and dysentery.
61 Sterculia urens Gulu, Keonjhi Leaves & tender branches- Mucilaginous extract used in pleuro-pneumonia in cattle
Gum    - Used in throat affections and as substitute for tragacanth
62 Stereospermum suaveolens Papar,  Panrar Root
Bark   - Cooling, diuretic, tonic
Flower - Used in hiccough and as aphrodisiac
63 Tamarindus indica Tetar, Imli Leaves - Infusion used in eye diseases
Seed   - Burnt and used as tooth-powder.
64 Tectona grandis Teak, Sagwan Leaves - Burnt leaves in linseed oil used for curing itch.
65 Tephrosia purpurea

Sarphuka Plant  - Tonic, laxative, anthelmintic
Root   - Used in tympanitis, dyspepsia and chromic diarrhea fresh root bark used in colic.
66 Terminalia tomentosa Asan Bark   - Astringent, diuretic, cardiotonic; burnt bark mixed with linseed oil used for curing itch.
67 Terminalia arjuna Arjun Bark   - Astringent, febrifuge, cardiotonic, used as antidote to poison
Kahua Leaves Fresh juice used in ear-ache
Fruit - Tonic and deobstruent
68 Terminalia belerica Bahera Fruit - Astringent, tonic, laxative, antipyretic, purgative (half - ripe ones); also used in piles, dropsy, diarrhea, leprosy, biliousness, dyspepsia and headache.
Kernel - Narcotic, vermifuge
69 Terminalia chebula Hare Fruit - Astringent, laxative, alterative; used in carious teeth and bleeding gums, etc.
Bark   - Diuretic and cardiotonic.
70 Urginea indica
Jangli Bulb  - Expectorant, diuretic and cardiac stimulant piaz, Kandri
71 Vetiveria zizanioides
Khus Used in tympanitis, dyspepsia and chromic diarrhea fresh root bark used in colic.
72 Vitex negundo
Sinduar Root   - Expectorant, febrifuge, tonic
Leaves - Tonic, vermifuge and used in acute rheumatism
Fruit (dried)- Vermifuge
73 Woodfordia fruiticosa Phuldhawai Flowers (dried) - Astringent, used in dysentery, menorrhagia,disorders of liver and mucous membrane; considered a safe stimulant in pregnancy
74 Zizyphus xylopyrus Kankar Leaves - Ground and applied as poultice for cure of swelling

The works of Hippocrates (459–370 BC) contain 300 medicinal plants classified by physiological action: Wormwood and common centaury (Centaurium umbellatum Gilib) were applied against fever; garlic against intestine parasites; opium, henbane, deadly nightshade, and mandrake were used as narcotics; fragrant hellebore and haselwort as emetics; sea onion, celery, parsley, asparagus, and garlic as diuretics; oak and pomegranate as adstringents. Most of these plant species were recorded as folklore formulation with their local names, plant parts used, quantity and mode of application for the treatment of various ailments have been enumerated, this statement was further found in agreement with Ganapaty et al. [14]. The ailments include menstrual cycle disorder, leucoderma, skin disease, blood pressure, diabetes, Malaria, snake bite, tooth ache, infertility, joints pain, contraceptive, rheumatism, jaundice, wound healing, etc. The knowledge from herbal practitioners on the abortifacient, female contraceptives and wound healing is one of the present day situations [15].


These traditional medicines of indigenous origin may be integrates with national health care system. Plants have been selected and used empirically as drug for centuries, initially as traditional preparation then as pure active principle. The study is likely to promote a rational use of botanicals and must be continued focusing on isolation and characterizing the active principles of the crude extract, its pharmacological validation, standardization and formulation. It is hoped that such ethnomedicinal study will provide important database of the different folklore formulation used locally of the study area to cure different diseases.


The author is grateful to the traditional healers for co-operation and sharing their precious knowledge and information. Author is also thankful to the forest officers of Birsa Agriculture University of Ranchi for identifying the plants and the local people for their information regarding addressing of traditional practitioners. Thanks are due to the principal Dr. J. Ahmed of Marwari College Ranchi, Prof in-charge Dr. R. L. Ram, for proving facilities and giving suggestions.

Conflict of Interest

We have no conflict of interest to declare.


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