MEDICINAL PLANTS AND THEIR USES: A STUDY OF TWELVE SACRED GROVES IN CUDDALORE AND VILLUPURAM DISTRICTS, TAMIL NADU, INDIA
Keywords:Sacred groves, Ethno-botany, plant diversity, diseases
Sacred groves are a small area of forest protected by the local people. It is one of the rich biodiversity spots wherein rare plants, animals and medicinal plants are established in the reserved forest. The local people believe that the spirits of their ancestors are present in the grove. This is one of the major reasons why the groves have been left in undisturbed condition. For ethnomedicinal documentation study, there are about twelve sacred groves were selected from the Cuddalore and Villupuram districts. The study sites are Dhanam (DM), Edaicheruvi (EI), Konalavadi (KI), Kuthanur (KR), M.Parur (MR), Murarbad (MD), Pallavadi (PI), Siruvambur (SR), Udaiyanachi (UI), V.Palaiyam (VM), Veerapaiyangaram (VIM) and Visalur (VR) (Fig.1). There are about 89 plant species belonging to 83 genera and 49 families were enumerated. The plants include herbs 32, trees 25, lianas 12, climbers and shrubs are each 10 plant species are documented. The details of the plants and their uses were collected from the local vaidyas. A few plants worth to mentioned here and they are: Alangium salviifolium, Amaranthus viridis, Azadirachta indica, Carmona retusa, Diospyros melanoxylon, Jasminum auriculatum Ocimum tenuiflorum Peltophorum pterocarpum and Wrightia tinctoria. These plants are the most commonly collected plants from the sacred groves. The plant parts mostly used for the treatment is the leaves (37 plant species, 42 %), roots (13 plant species, 13%), whole plants (12plant species, 13%) fruits (7plant species, 8%), seeds (5 plant species, 6%), latex (4 plant species, 4%) barks and gum (3 plant species, 3%), flowers (2 plant species, 2%), and tubers (2 plant species, 2%). In this paper, I have made an attempt to explore some of the plants used for traditional uses.
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