Research Report

Ethnomedicine for Piles by the Primitive Tribal Groups of North Coastal Andhra Pradesh  

Koteswara R.J. , Seetharami R.T.V.V.
Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India
Author    Correspondence author
Medicinal Plant Research, 2016, Vol. 6, No. 4   doi: 10.5376/mpr.2016.06.0004
Received: 08 Jun., 2016    Accepted: 20 Jul., 2016    Published: 02 Nov., 2016
© 2016 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Koteswara R.J., and Seetharami R.T.T.V., 2016, Ethnomedicine for Piles by the Primitive Tribal Groups of North Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Medicinal Plant Research, 6(4): 1-6 (doi: 10.5376/mpr.2016.06.0004)


Ethnomedicinal studies on piles are not many necessitating the present investigation. It yielded 28 species covering as many genera and 23 families used by the PTGs of North Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Fabaceae, Mimosaceae, Convolvulaceae, Araceae and Liliaceae are the dominant families with 2 species each and the rest of the families each represented by one species. Habit-wise analysis showed the dominance of trees with 11 species followed by herbs (10 spp) and others. Plant part-wise analysis showed the usage of stem bark in 10 practices followed by leaf (7), root (6) and others. Nineteen practices were found to be new or less known. Phytochemical investigations are needed for further use.

Ethnomedicine; Piles; Primitive Tribal Groups; North Coastal Andhra Pradesh

1 Introduction

There are 550 tribal communities in India of which 93 were recognized as Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) by the Government of India as per Dhebar Commission. They live in inaccessible habitat in the hilly terrains with low literacy rate, stagnant or decreasing populations and practicing podu or shifting cultivation. In Andhra Pradesh, eight communities viz., Chenchus, Kolams, Konda reddis, Thotis, Khonds, Porjas, Gadabas and Savaras are recognized as PTGs and the last four are present in the North Coastal Andhra Pradesh. It falls in between 81° 51’ and 84° 46’ of Eastern longitude and 17° 45’ and 19° 40’ of Northern latitude with a total area of 10,860 sq km covering 23 mandals of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts with 4002 scheduled villages with a total population of 8,619,183 (as per 2001 census). It is inhabited by 923,660 tribal people (10.71%) of which 272,407 are PTGs (3.16%). The percentage of PTGs is 29.49% among the total tribal population.


Piles are small, blood filled swellings of the anus. These may be associated with pain, bleeding, itching and a feeling of something hanging down. There are many factors that contribute to the development of piles viz., excessive straining at stool, prolonged diarrhea, constipation, lifting heavy weights, over exertion, persistent irritation, anal infection and tumors of the bowels. Though there are ethnomedicinal studies published in literature exclusive studies on piles (Jadeja et al., 2006; Lalfakzuala et al., 2007; Silja et al., 2008; Hari Babu et al., 2010; Shiddamallayya et al., 2010; Manjula et al., 2013) are not many necessitating the present investigation which is the first of its kind among the primitive tribal groups.


2 Material and Methods

Interviews were conducted with PTGs at their dwellings during 2008-2011. During oral interviews specific questions were asked and the information supplied by the informants was noted. The data were verified in different villages among the interviewers showing the same plant sample and even with the same informants on different occasions. The knowledgeable informants were taken to the field and along with the collection of plants for the voucher specimens, the use of plants as given by the tribal informants was noted. Field trips were selected in such a way so as to cover the selected areas in different seasons of the year.


The first field trip of the study area was completely devoted to get acquaintance with the local chiefs, priests, vaidhyas, herbal doctors, headman, elderly people. Subsequent field trips were meant for gathering information on medicinal plants used by them, the method and time of collection, ingredients used, mode of application, dosage and duration were recorded.


In 95 pockets of the study area, 139 vaidhyas and practitioners were consulted. Each medicinal practice was cross checked with at least 3-4 informants. It has become very difficult to elicit information on medicinal practices. Frequent visits and rapport gained their confidence on the integrity of the work and some revealed the practices with method of preparation and dosage. The voucher specimens were collected and deposited in the Herbarium, Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam. Plant identifications were made with the help of Flora of the Presidency of Madras (Gamble, 1916-1935) using the field observations.


3 Enumeration

The plants are arranged in an alphabetical order with their botanical name along with vernacular name, voucher number, parts used, method, mode and duration of treatment (Table 1).


Table 1 Ethnomedicinal plants used by the PTGs for curing piles


4 Results and Discussion

The present paper deals with 28 species of plants covering as many genera and 23 families used by the primitive tribal groups (PTGs) of North Coastal Andhra Pradesh for curing piles. Fabaceae, Mimosaceae, Convolvulaceae, Araceae and Liliaceae are the dominant families with 2 species each and the rest of the families each represented by one species. Habit-wise analysis showed the predominance of trees with 11 species followed by herbs (10 spp), shrubs (4 spp) and climbers (3 spp). Plant part-wise analysis showed the dominance of stem bark involving 10 practices followed by leaf (7), root (6), tuber (4), whole plant and seed (2 each), latex, fruit,rhizome and stem, one each. Of the total 33 practices 19 were found to be new or less known (Jain, 1991; Kirtikar and Basu, 2003).


Twenty five practices involve single plant only and four each involves two and three plants. The efficacy of the combination treatments be exploited for the speedy recovery of the patient suffering from the ailment. They are administered either in the form ofdecoction, juice, paste, or powder along with either black cow urine, butter milk, castor oil, curds, country pork, grape juice, ghee, ginger, honey, rice washed water, sugar, starch, toddy or water. Some species with similar usage recorded elsewhere are: Aloe vera, Holarrhena pubescens, Pongamia pinnata, Punica granatum, Tephrosia purpurea, Terminalia chebula by the Meher, Sagar, Bhamusali, Sindhi, Bharvad, Koli, Rabari, Kardia tribes of Saurashtra, Gujarat (Jadeja et al., 2006).


Adiantum philippense, Mimosa pudicaby the tribes of Western Mizoram (Lalfakzuala et al., 2007); Achyranthes aspera, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, Pongamia pinnata by the Mullukuruma tribe of Wayanad district, Kerala (Silja et al., 2008); Abutilon indicum, Acacia nilotica, Achyranthes aspera, Acorus calamus, Aloe vera, Cissus quadrangularis, Clerodendrum serratum, Mimosa pudica, Punica granatum, Zingiber officinale by the local people of Western and Eastern Ghats of Karnataka (Shiddamallayya et al., 2010) and Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, Glycosmis pentaphylla, Mimosa pudica, Punica granatum by the Koya, Lambada, Gond/ Naikpod, Yerukula, Nayak, Konda reddi tribes of Khammam district, Andhra Pradesh (Manjula et al., 2013). Due to continuous use of various plant species for medicine most of them are getting eroded leading to their extinction. Therefore, it is necessary to document such knowledge and conserve them for value addition in future.


5 Conclusion

The traditional knowledge system in India is fast depleting. There is an urgent need to inventor and record all ethnomedicinal informatiion among the primitive tribal groups before it is completely lost. It is hoped that the information gathered from the PTGs will provide further lead for developing new herbal formulations.


Author’s contributions

All the authors contributed equally for this study. All the authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.



The authors express their gratitude to the primitive tribal groups for sharing their valuable knowledge on plants used for curing piles and help during field work.



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


Hari Babu M., Prasanthi S., and Seetharami Reddi T.V.V., 2010, Plant based native therapy for piles in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh, Ethnobotany, 22: 114-117


Jadeja B.A., Odedra N.K., and Odedra K.R., 2006, Herbal remedies for haemorrhoids by tribals of Saurashtra, Gujarat, Indian Journal of Traditional  Knowledge, 5: 348-352


Jain S.K., 1991, Dictionary of Indian Folk Medicine and Ethnobotany, Deep Publications, New Delhi, pp. 303-303


Kirtikar K.R., and Basu B.D., 2003 (Reprinted), Indian Medicinal Plants, Oriental Enterprises, Dehra Dun, Uttaranchal, Vol. I-VIII, pp. 2791-2791


Lalfakzuala R., Lalramnghinglova H., and Kayang H., 2007, Ethnobotanial usage of plants in western Mizoram, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 6: 486-493


Manjula R.R., KoteswaraRao J., and Seetharami Reddi T.V.V., 2013, Ethnomedicine from Khammam district in Andhra Pradesh for haemorrhoids (piles), Journal of Tropical Medicinal Plants, 14: 49-52


Shiddamallayya N., AzraYasmeen and Gopakumar K., 2010, Hundred common forest medicinal plants of Karnataka in primary healthcare, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 9: 90-95


Silja V.P., SamithaVarma K., and Mohanan K.V., 2008, Ethnomedicinal plant knowledge of the Mullukuruma tribe of Wayanad district, Kerala, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 7: 604-612

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