Research Report

Ethnomedicine for Rheumatoid Arthritis by the Tribes of East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh  

Suneetha J. , Seetharami R.T.V.V.
Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam 530003, India
Author    Correspondence author
Medicinal Plant Research, 2016, Vol. 6, No. 1   doi: 10.5376/mpr.2016.06.0001
Received: 03 Jan., 2016    Accepted: 14 Feb., 2016    Published: 01 Mar., 2016
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Preferred citation for this article:

Suneetha J., and Seetharami R.T.V.V., 2016, Ethnomedicine for rheumatoid arthritis by the tribes of east godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, Medicinal Plant Research, 6(1): 1-5 (doi: 10.5376/mpr.2016.01.0001)

The paper deals with 44 species of plants covering 43 genera and 31 families used for curing rheumatoid arthritis by the tribes of East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh. Fabaceae is the dominant family with 6 species followed by Acanthaceae, Euphorbiaceae (3 species each), Asteraceae, Meliaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Lamiaceae (2 species each) and others. Herbs (15) are dominant followed by trees and shrubs (14 each) and a lone climber. Leaf is used in 12 practices followed by root (11), seed (7), stem bark (4), fruit (3) and others. Amorphophallus sylvaticus, Jatropha glandulifera, Perilla frutescens, Ruellia tuberosa and 22 practices were found to be new or less known.
Ethnomedicine; Rheumatoid arthritis; East Godavari district; Andhra Pradesh

1 Introduction
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common form of chronic inflammatory joint disease. In its typical form RA is a symmetrical, destructive and deforming polyarthritis affecting small and large synovial joints, with associated systemic disturbance, a variety of extra articular features and the presence of circulating anti-globulin antibodies. Characteristically, the course of the disease is prolonged with exacerbations and remissions but atypical, asymmetrical and incomplete forms are not uncommon. It occurs throughout the world and in all ethnic groups. Climate, altitude and geography do not appear to influence its prevalence but a higher proportion of the patients in western and urban countries have more severe and disabling disease. The overall prevalence of RA in Caucasean population is about 1%, with a female to male ratio of 3:1. The disease starts commonly between the third and fifth decades but the age of onset follows a normal distribution curve and no age group is exempted.
East Godavari district is situated on the North East of Andhra Pradesh in the geographical condition of 16°-30' and 18°-20' of the Northern latitude and 81°-30' and 82°-36' of Eastern longitude. It is bounded on the North by Visakhapatnam district and the state of Orissa, on the East and South by Bay of Bengal, on the West by West Godavari district and on the Northwest by Khammam district. It is inhabited by 191,561 tribal people comprising of 3.91 percentage of the population (2001 census). The main tribes are Konda dora, Konda kammara, Konda kapu, Konda reddi, Koya dora, Manne dora and Valmiki.  The agency area of the district spreads over an area of 4,629 sq. miles. Though ethnomedicinal studies were carried out on different diseases exclusive studies on rheumatoid arthritis are not many necessitating the present study (Pawar and Patil, 2006; Naidu et al., 2008; Biswas et al., 2010; Sutha et al., 2010).
2 Material and Methods
Extensive ethnobotanical explorations were conducted in 126 villages of East Godavari district during 2005-2007. Knowledgeable informants including the vaidyas and elderly persons (139) of the tribal communities were thoroughly interrogated for recording local names, parts used, methods of preparation of herbal drugs, dosage and their mode of administration. The vaidyas generally give a patient listening to the new patient by asking what type of pain it is, how long it is there, when it occurs-during day time or night, and observe the presence of swelling on the joints, extent and prevalence. Generally they treat one or two patients with these symptoms per day besides doing general practice for other diseases. The plant species collected were identified with the help of International Code of Botanical Nomenclature and also by referring them to Flora of Presidency of Madras (Gamble, 1916-1935) and the voucher specimens were deposited in the Herbarium of the Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.
3 Enumeration
The plants are enumerated and presented in a tabular form with Vernacular name, followed by Latin name, Voucher No., Ethnomedicinal uses, Parts used, and Method of preparation. Plants and practices marked with an asterisk (*) are considered to be new or less known.


Table 1 Ethnomedicinal plants used for treating Rheumatoid Arthritis


4 Results and Discussion
A total of 44 plant species belonging to 43 genera and 31 families used for curing rheumatoid arthritis by the tribes of East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh were documented. Fabaceae is the dominant family with 6 (13.63%) species followed by Acanthaceae, Euphorbiaceae each with 3 (6.81%) species, Meliaceae, Asteraceae, Asclepiadaceae, Lamiaceae each with 2 (4.54%) species and the rest of the families with one species each. Habit-wise analysis showed maximum occurrence of herbs (15 spp) followed by trees and shrubs (14 spp each) and a lone climber. Morphological analysis showed maximum utilization of leaf in 12 practices followed by root (11), seed (7), stem bark (4), fruit (3), and rhizome, whole plant, root bark, tuber, latex, flower and bulb in one practice each. They are administered either in the form of paste, powder, juice, decoction, or oil along with either cow milk, lemon juice, alum, honey, camphor, mustard oil, castor oil, olive oil, or sesame oil. Of the 44 practices, 34 involve one plant  each followed by 4 practices involving  2 plants each, 3 practices involving 3 plants each and a lone practice involving as many as 4 plants. Amorphophallus sylvaticus, Jatropha glandulifera, Perilla frutescens, Ruellia tuberosa and 22 practices were found to be new or less known (Jain, 1991; Kirtikar and Basu, 2003). Calotropis procera and Ficus benghalensis are also used by the Pawara, Bhil, Konkani, Tadvi and Vanjari tribes of Jalgaon district, Maharashtra (Pawar and Patil, 2006). Atalantia monophylla, Calotropis gigantea, Clitoria ternatea, Cycas circinalis, Guizotia abyssinica and Urena lobata are also used for rheumatoid arthritis by the Jatapu, Konda dora, Gadaba, Kuttiya, Yerukula tribes of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh (Naidu et al., 2008). Biswas et al., (2010) reported the use of Calotropis gigantea and C. procera latex and leaves for curing rheumatism by the local populace and Chakma, Marma and Tripura tribes residing in Chittagong Hill tracts of Bangladesh whereas the tribes of the present study are also using the same species with slight modification in mode of administration. Azadirachta indica, Calotropis gigantea are also used for curing rheumatism by the Kanikkars of Western ghats of Tamil Nadu (Sutha et al., 2010). It is well established that identical use of the same plant by different tribes in different parts of the globe indicate its established curative property and therapeutic significance.
5 Conclusion
Rheumatoid arthritis is a major health challenge worldwide and allopathic medicine has not been successful in finding long lasting relief. Many plant species are traditionally used for the treatment of the disease and some have been investigated for their efficacy with positive results. An often-limiting factor to these investigations is lack of comprehensive ethno-botanical data to help choose plant species for potency/efficacy tests. Since the plant parts utilized in preparation of remedies are reported in this study, it serves as an indication of species that may need further ecological assessment on their regeneration status. The information gained on frequently used traditional remedies might give some leads for future targets for further analysis in order to develop new drugs. However, more detailed scientific studies are desperately needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the remedies employed traditionally.
The authors express their gratitude to knowledgeable tribes for sharing their valuable knowledge on plants used for healing rheumatoid arthritis and help during field work.
Biswas A., Bari M.A., Mahashweta Roy and Bhadra S.K., 2010, Inherited folk pharmaceutical knowledge of tribal people in the Chittagong Hill tract, Bangladesh, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 9: 77-89
Gamble J.S., 1916-1935, Flora of the Presidency of Madras, Vol. 1-3, (Vol. 3 by C.E.S. Fischer), Adlard & Sons Ltd., London
Jain S.K., 1991, Dictionary of Indian Folk Medicine and Ethnobotany, Deep Publications, New Delhi
Kirtikar K.R., and Basu B.D., 2003 (Reprinted), Indian Medicinal Plants, Oriental Enterprises, Dehra Dun, Uttaranchal
Naidu B.V.A.R., Seetharami Reddi T.V.V., and Prasanthi S., 2008, Folk herbal remedies for rheumatoid arthritis in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, Ethnobotany, 20: 76-79
Pawar S., and Patil D.A., 2006, Folk remedies against rheumatoid disorders in Jalgaon district, Maharashtra, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 5: 314-316
Sutha S., Mohan V.R., Kumaresan S., and Athiperumalsami T., 2010, Ethnomedicinal plants used by the tribals of Tamil Nadu for the treatment of rheumatism, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 9: 502-509
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