Introduction: Ethno botanical research on medicinal plants is getting much importance and it is included among the advanced research in India during the recent years. Plants have much relevance on Socio-economic, Socio-religious aspects of human life in India.

Central India is covered with tropical forests, which are supposed to be rich in biodiversity. However subtropical hill forests are found in few areas. About 500 species of medicinal plants are found. Some of the economically medicinal plants are on the verge of extinction. The endemic and rare flora is also found in the region.

Chhindwara District of Central India (Madhya Pradesh) lies among 21°23' and 22°49' north and longitude 78°10' and 79°24' east. It is situated near the south border of Madhya Pradesh. Tribals are main inhabitants of this district in rural areas. Deep in the heart of Central India there is a wild, forest surrounded by sheer, 1,200 foot cliffs. The Patalkot forest is so well hidden that people on the outside didn't even know it existed. It is a very special place, rich with plants and animals. The natives who live there know how to collect and grow the plants they need for food, clothing and building their homes. They also have a special skill that has been passed down every generation. They know the secrets of the medicine plants. Gonds and Bharias are main among the tribal population. There are no proper health facilities in several tribal areas. They still follow the traditional system of medicines. They use plants for curing various ailments. In the present study, author has surveyed Patalkot, a tribal pocket of the district and collected information about the medicinal uses of various plants that grow in that region.

Various contributors have worked on medicinal plants of Central India (Jain, 1963 a, b and c; Jain and Tarafdar, 1970; Bhatnagar et al., 1973; Sahu, 1982; Sahu, 1982, 1983; Mishra and Sahu, 1984; Saxena, 1986; Rai 1987, 1989; Lal, 1988, 1993; Rai and Ojha, 1989; Oommachan et al., 1990; Shah and Singh, 1990; Pandey et al., 1991; Jain, 1992; Rai and Nonhare, 1992; Bhalla et al., 1992, 1996; Khan et al., 1994; Maheshwari, 1996b; Khan and Singh, 1996; Bajpai and Mitra, 1997; Kumar and Jain, 1998; Dubey et al., 2001). Few ethnobotanical work have also been done in Patalkot valley (Rai, 1987a, 1988; Rai et al., 1999). But still there are some tribal pockets in Patalkot which could be surveyed for the search of new traditional medicines.

Material and Methods:

Extensive surveys were carried out from Jan 2004 to March 2004 in the 20 tribal villages of Patalkot valley which includes: Sidhouli, Beejadhana, Dhendhu, Loutia, Markadhana, Bamdi, Kareyam, Gaildubba, Rated, Chimtipur, Kathotia, Thanakheda, Satalwa, Umarwa, Banki, Bhainskho, Bailpathar, Jaitapur, Bijouri, and Harra ka char.

Medicinal plants collected during the surveys have been deposited in the department of Botany of Danielson College. Villagers were interviewed for gathering information on medicinal plants. Village chief, local practitioner and Bhumka (Local vaidhya) were among the interviewed people. As much as, 65 plants were surveyed. Ethnobotanical uses of plants have been descired below in alphabetical order.

1) Acacia arabica (Lamk.) Willd.

Family: Mimosaceae
Local Name: Babul
Medicinal Uses:
- The leaves are astringent and beneficial to the eye.
- Fruit of the plant is Coagulant.
- Gum is astringent, cooling and healing. It stops bleeding.
- It cures dysentery and diarrhea.
- Extract of the bark is mixed with honey is applied in the eyes to relieve conjunctivitis and to stop lacrimination.
- Bark is goof for gums, heals and ulcers. It is a sedative.

2) Butea monosperma (Lamk.) Taub. Syn. Butea frondosa Koen. ex. Roxb.

Family: Papilionaceae
Local Name: Palas
Medicinal Uses:
- Flowers are used in burning sensation and useful in skin diseases
- Fruits cure diseases related to urine, piles, worms, abdomen etc.
- Fruits are aphrodisiac and anthelmintic.
- It cures diarrhea.

3) Cassia fistula Linn.

Family: Caesalpiniaceae
Local Name: Amaltas
Medicinal Uses:
- Leaves and flowers are used in ringworms and other skin infections.
- Roots cure fever.
- Pulp is purgative and used in all intestinal disorders.
- Bark is laxative and astringent.

4) Citrus aurentium Linn.

Family: Rutaceae
Local Name: Khatta nibu
Medicinal Uses:
- It removes constipation.
- It cures nausea, vomiting, thirst, bad taste of mouth and indigestion.
- It good for treating worms.

5) Coriandrum sativum Linn.

Family: Umbelliferae
Local Name: Dhania
Medicinal Uses:
- Seeds are carminative, stomachic.
- In case of frequency of stools with blood, leaves of this plant are given to remove blood in stool.
- Leaves are appetizer.
- Extract is used as antidysentric.
- Extract is useful in conjunctivitis.

6) Datura stramonium Linn.

Family: Solanaceae
Local Name: Dhatura
Medicinal Uses:
- Fruits are used in skin related disorders.
- It is good in ulcers and worms.
- When internally used, it stimulates the mind and creates intoxication lastly resulting in fainting.
- Seeds are employed in headache.
- Plant is used as antidote for poisons.

7) Mentha arvensis Linn.

Family: Labiatae
Local Name: Podina
Medicinal Uses:
- Used as carminative and flavoring agent.
- Stomachic, diuretic and anthelmintic.
- It cures bad taste of mouth, indigestion, constipation and worms.

8) Ricinus communis Linn.

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Local Name: Arandi
Medicinal Uses:
- It is purgative, carminative, aphrodisiac.
- It cures cough and headache.
- Good in rheumatism, fever ad urinary disorders.

9) Adhatoda vasica Linn.

Family: Acanthaceae
Local Name: Adusa
Medicinal Uses:
- It is used in asthma, diarrhea and dysentery.
- It checks bleeding.
- Good for throat emollient, flowers are used in eye disorders, extract of root is used in stiffness of neck.

10) Aegle marmelos Correa.

Family: Rutaceae
Local Name: Bel
Medicinal Uses:
- Used in dysentery and diarrhea.
- Root checks vomiting.
- Leaves cure fever, dysentery, diarrhea and piles.
- Fruits are good tonic for brain.
- Leaves are good in diabetes.

11) Allium sativum Linn.

Family: Liliaceae
Local Name: Lahsun
Medicinal Uses:
- It is laxative, strength promoter, aphrodisiac and carminative.
- It cures cough, skin troubles and chronic fever.
- Relieves breathing problems, heart troubles.
- It is good in piles.
- It helps the union of fractured bones.

12) Saccharum officinarum Linn.

Family: Graminae
Local Name: Eekh, Ganna
Medicinal Uses:
- It is laxative, diuretic and tonic.
- It strengthens the teeth.
- Clears the foul odor of mouth.
- It is good in jaundice.

13) Carica papaya Linn.

Family: Caricaceae
Local Name: Papeeta
Medicinal Uses:
- It is used as digestant.
- It anthelmintic, laxative, tonic, nutritive and diuretic.
- Latex acts as anthelmintic.
- Unripe fruit is good for excretory troubles in children.
- It is a good aphrodisiac
- It has wormicidal activity and it is good in cough.

14) Euphorbia hirta Linn.

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Local Name: Dudhi
Medicinal Uses:
- Used in treatment of cough and asthma.
- It is aphrodisiac and enriches the blood.
- Employed in diarrhea, piles and semen debility.
- It is laxative and astringent.

15) Hemidesmus indicus R. Br.

Family: Asclepiadaceae
Local Name: Anantmul
Medicinal Uses:
- It is used in fever, diabetes and cough.
- Cures blood disorders.
- It is tonic and diuretic.
- It is taken in hypertension.

16) Punica granatum Linn.

Family: Punicaceae
Local Name: Anaar
Medicinal Uses:
- Used as an anthelmintic.
- Good for improving memory, brain and strength.
- It cures fever, burning, heart diseases and disease of throat.
- It is laxative and astringent.

17) Rosa damascena Mill.
Family: Rosaceae
Local Name: Gulab
Medicinal Uses:
- Used as purgative.
- It heals ulcer.
- Employed in the treatment of conjunctivitis, headache and fainting.

18) Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn.
Family: Leguminosae
Local Name: Methi
Medicinal Uses:
- Aphrodisiac.
- Stomachic, carminative, laxative.
- It is used in abscess, pigmentation and discoloration of the face

19) Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb.
Family: Leguminosae
Local Name: Bijaka, Beejasaal
Medicinal Uses:
- Used in leprosy, leucoderma and other skin diseases.
- Cure diabetes and ulcer.
- It is given to improve the complexion and to darken the hair.

20) Cymbopogon flexuosus Wats.
Family: Graminae
Local Name: Gauti chai
Medicinal Uses:
- It cures blood disorders.
- Good for cough, worms and indigestion.
- Carminative and stimulant.

21) Tamarindus indica Linn.
Family: Leguminosae
Local Name: Imli
Medicinal Uses:
- It is laxative.
- Dry bark power relieves gastric pain.
- It is aphrodisiac, tonic and good for hair.
- Plaster of leaves is applied for curing inflammation, blood disorders and acne.
- Cures dandruff.

22) Achyranthes aspera Linn.
Family: Amaranthaceae
Local Name: Chirchita
Medicinal Uses:
- It cures eye disorders.
- Good for cough, worms and indigestion.
- Good in snake bite.

23) Ageratum conyzoides Linn.
Family: Asteraceae
Local Name: Ajgandha
Medicinal Uses:
- It is good in stomach disorders.
- Used as a tonic.

24) Alocacia indica Roxb.
Family: Araceae
Local Name: Ghuiyan
Medicinal Uses:
- Tuber of the plant is good in piles.
- Taken as a tonic.
- Good in constipation.

25) Amaranthus virdis Linn.
Family: Amaranthaceae
Local Name: Choulaee
Medicinal Uses:
- It is said to be good blood purifier.
- Used in piles.
- Taken as digesting agent.

26) Amarpophallus campanulatus Blume ex. DC.
Family: Araceae
Local Name: Surankand
Medicinal Uses:
- Good in rheumatism.
- Tuber is taken in snakebite.

27) Bauhinia variegata Linn.
Family: Caesalpiniaceae
Local Name: Kachnaar
Medicinal Uses:
- Bark is good in good in dysentery and piles.
- Buds and flowers are good in skin disorders.
- Extract of the bark is given in skin related infections.
- It is carminative and laxative.

28) Bryonia laciniosa Linn.
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Local Name: Shivlingi
Medicinal Uses:
- It is taken in impotency

29) Carissa opaca Stapf. ex. Hainss.
Family: Apocynaceae
Local Name: Van Karonda
Medicinal Uses:
- It cures fever.
- It is good in eye disorders.
- Fruit of the plant mixed with roots of mimosa pudica is taken as aphrodisiac.

30) Cocculus hirsutus (Linn.) Diels.
Family: Menispermaceae
Local Name: Patal Garudi, Jaljamani
Medicinal Uses:
- Extract of whole plant with Mishri (Sugar) is taken to gain energy.
- Plant is used in Leucorrhoea.

31) Convolvulus pluricaulis Chois.
Family: Convolvulaceae
Local Name: Sankhpushpi
Medicinal Uses:
- It is anthelmintic.
- It is good in dysentery.
- It is said to be good brain and hair tonic.
- Used for curing skin ailments.
- It is taken to reduce high blood pressure.

32) Cuscuta reflexa Roxb.
Family: Cuscutaceae
Local Name: Amarbel
Medicinal Uses:
- Taken to reduce bilious disorder.
- Removes itching and white spots of skin.
- Hair growth promoter.
- Cures fever.

33) Delbergia sisoo Roxb.
Family: Fabaceae
Local Name: Shisham
Medicinal Uses:
- Used in gonorrhoea.

34) Derris indica (Lamk.) Bennet
Family: Fabaceae
Local Name: Karanj
Medicinal Uses:
- Seed oil is good for curing skin infections.

35) Emblica officinalis Gaertn.
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Local Name: Aola
Medicinal Uses:
- It is good in diabetes.
- Cures heart disorders.
- It is taken in eye problems.
- Relieves rheumatism, diarrhea.
- It is a good aging agent.

36) Ficus bengalensis Linn.
Family: Moraceae
Local Name: Bad, Bargad, Vat
Medicinal Uses:
- Latex of the plant is good in curing diarrhea, dysentery, piles, teeth decay, rheumatism, leucorrhoea and other skin related problems.

37) Ficus racemes Linn.
Family: Moraceae
Local Name: Omar, Guar
Medicinal Uses:
- Fruits are analgesic.
- Root is astringent, carminative, diuretic and tonic.
- Good in diabetes, dropsy, dysentery and diarrhea.
- It is taken in small pox.

38) Ficus religious Linn.
Family: Moraceae
Local Name: Papal
Medicinal Uses:
- Good in leucorrhoea.
- It is used in impotency.
- It is astringent, expectorant, laxative and coceptive.
- Taken in asthma, whooping cough and genito-urinary troubles.

39) Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn.
Family: Malvaceae
Local Name: Jason, Gurhal
Medicinal Uses:
- It is aphrodisiac.
- Leaves are good for curing boils.
- Flowers are laxative.

40) Jatropha curcus Linn.
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Local Name: Chadrajot, Ratanjot
Medicinal Uses:
- Seed are used in cholera, and dysentery.
- Good in stomach disorders.
- Cures toothache and gum ache.
- Seeds are used as antidote for poisoning.
- It is effective in skin diseases and rheumatism.

41) Launaea nudicaulis L.
Family: Asteraceae
Local Name: Musakani
Medicinal Uses:
- It is nutritive, diuretic, stomachic and blood purifier.
- It is used as antidote for poisoning.
- Roots relieve jaundice and skin disorders.
- Leaves and roots are given in leprosy and leucorrhoea.

42) Leucas cephalotes Spreng.
Family: Labiatae
Local Name: Gooma, Gatta, Lumba, Drona
Medicinal Uses:
- Used in fever.
- Good in scorpion and snakebite.
- Taken for curing dysentery.
- Leaves and flower are good in jaundice.

44) Mangifera indica L.
Family: Anacardiaceae
Local Name: Aam
Medicinal Uses:
- Bark of the plant is aphrodisiac, cardiac, appetizer and astringent.
- Fruits are good in bleeding piles, hemorrhage from uterus, lungs and intestine leucorrhoea
- Roots relieve jaundice and skin disorders.
- Leaves and roots are given in leprosy and leucorrhoea.
- Bark is used in scabies and other cutanious problems.
- Used in ophthalmic and erruptions.

45) Melia azadirachta Linn.
Family: Meliaceae
Local Name: Bakain
Medicinal Uses:
- Bark is antifungal, it cures eczema and boils.
- Seeds are used in ulcers and stomacache
- Roots relieve jaundice and skin disorders.
- Leaves and roots are given in leprosy and leucorrhoea.
- The whole plant is good for curing snake-bite and scorpion sting.
- It is a good tonic.

46) Mirabilis jalapa Linn.
Family: Nyctanthaceae
Local Name: Gulbans
Medicinal Uses:
- It reduces the swelling.
- Leaves are purgative.
- It cures boils.

47) Moringa oleifera Linn.
Family: Moringaceae
Local Name: Munga, Sahjan
Medicinal Uses:
- The whole plant is abortifacient, anthelmintic, carminative, digestive, diuretic and stomachic.
- Fruits and seeds are taken to relieve abscess, asthma, earache, epilepsy and hysteria.
- Roots are important in curing paralysis and guinea-worm.
- The whole plant has the ability to cure rheumatism and sore throat.
- It is a good tonic.

48) Ocimum americanum Linn.
Family: Labiatae
Local Name: Mamiri tulsi
Medicinal Uses:
- Leaves are useful in skin infections like eczema.

48) Ocimum basilicum Linn.
Family: Labiatae
Local Name: Kali tulsi
Medicinal Uses:
- Leaves are useful in skin infections like eczema.
- Seeds are aphrodisiac.
- Leaves added in tea or honey relieves from cough and cold.
- It is a good tonic.

49) Phyllanthes niruri Linn.
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Local Name: Bhui-aonla
Medicinal Uses:
- The whole plant is diuretic and given in jaundice.
- Good liver tonic.
- Cures urino-genital infections.

50) Pithecolobium dulce Benth.
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Local Name: Rain tree, Vilayati imli
Medicinal Uses:
- Used in fever.
- Taken for curing dysentery.
- Good energizer.

51) Polygonum spp. Benth.
Family: Polygonaceae
Local Name: Indrani
Medicinal Uses:
- Used in colic pains and pneumonia.
- Taken in sore and bites of insect and snake.

52) Plumbago zeylanica Linn.
Family: Plumbaginaceae
Local Name: Chitawar, Chitrak, Chita
Medicinal Uses:
- Effective in intestinal disorders.
- Cures wounds, fever, skin disorders, rheumatism and white spots of skin.

53) Ruta graveolens Linn.
Family: Rutaceae
Local Name: Sitab
Medicinal Uses:
- Cures rheumatism, hysteria and disorders of stomach.
- It is colic and anthelmintic.

54) Salmalia malabarica (DC) Schoit and Endl.
Family: Malvaceae
Local Name: Semur, Semul
Medicinal Uses:
- Gum of the plant is good for curing kidney troubles, leucorrhoea and tuberculosis.
- Flowers and barks have ability to cure conjunctivitis and cutaneous infections.
- It is expectorant, laxative and suppurative.

55) Sapindus laurifoliatus Linn.
Family: Sapindaceae
Local Name: Reetha
Medicinal Uses:
- Fruits promote growth of hair.
- It is used as shampoo.

56) Sauromatum guttatum Linn.
Family: Araceae
Local Name: Bhasam Kanda
Medicinal Uses:
- Tuber is very good tonic.

57) Semicarpus anacardium Linn.
Family: Anacardiaceae
Local Name: Bhilwa, Bhallak
Medicinal Uses:
- Fruit is digestive.
- It is used in cough, leprosy, piles and boils.
- Seed oil is anthelmintic and good in scabies.

58) Shuteria hirsuta Baker
Family: Fabaceae
Local Name: Cheeval
Medicinal Uses:
- Seeds are used in conjunctivitis and other eye related disorders.

59) Sida rhombifolia Linn.
Family: Malvaceae
Local Name: Pithkarenti
Medicinal Uses:
- The whole plant is used in curing rheumatism and pulmonary tuberculosis.

60) Solanum xanthocarpum Schard & Wendl.
Family: Solanaceae
Local Name: Bhat Kataiyan
Medicinal Uses:
- It is effective in respiratory diseases, dropsy and throat disorders.
- It cures gonorrhoea.
- It is good in snake bites.

61) Sonchus arvensis Linn.
Family: Asteraceae
Local Name: Sahdehi
Medicinal Uses:
- Good in body pains, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, leucorrhoea, leprosy, white spots of skin and ring worms.
- It is asteringent and diuretic.
- It is good in snake bites.

62) Syzigium cumini (Linn.) Skeels.
Family: Myrtaceae
Local Name: Jamun
Medicinal Uses:
- Fruit is carminative, astringent, diuretic and fabrifuge.
- Bark is good in stomacihc dysentery, indigestion and lose of apetite.
- It cure leucorrhoea, ring worm and diabetes.

63) Terminalia bellarica Roxb.
Family: Combretaceae
Local Name: Baheda
Medicinal Uses:
- Fruit is imporatant in various disorders viz., cough, sore throat, abnormal digestion, worms, eye disorders, antipyretic, astringent, digestive, laxative, narcotic, tonic, diarrhea, dropsy, dyspepsia, headache, fever, leprosy, piles and skin infections.
- Ayurvedic preparation TRIPHALA is made with the combination of T. chebula and Emblica officinalis.

64) Vanda roxburghii R.B.
Family: Orchidaceae
Local Name: Rasna, Banda
Medicinal Uses:
- Good in rheumatism, external nervous system, anti-arthritis.

65) Vernonia cinerea Less.
Family: Asteraceae
Local Name: Sahdeyi
Medicinal Uses:
- The whole plant is good in fever.

66) Zizyphus jujuba Lamk.
Family: Rhamnaceae
Local Name: Ber
Medicinal Uses:
- Good in diarrhea and fever.
- It is a good blood purifier.

Result and Discussion:

Research and extension work are the keys to integrating folk medicine into modern primary health care. The major objective should be to match safe, effective remedies to common illnesses, using local medicinal plants. The problem is that very little is known about fold medicine and traditional medicine proper, and it is impossible to say how effective they are without a lot more research.

The survey provides an evidence that the Gond and Bharia tribe of Patalkot valley uses about 65 plants in various ailments. The tribal people depend totally on herbal medicines as there is no clinic in the village. The plants are generally used as stomach disorders, skin diseases, aphrodisiacs, fever, tonic, ulcer, asthma, snake-bite, respiratory diseases, leucorrhoea, dandruff, eye-diseases and diabetes. There is need of training on conservation and cultivation of medicinal plants. There is a greater need to develop a garden of medicinal plants of the area. The tribal people can also be encouraged to take up this job as an income generation activity.


Author are grateful to Dr S A Brown, Principal, Danielson College, Chhindwara for constant support. We are thankful to Dr Sanjay Pawar for his critical suggestions.


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Author's Bio: 

Dr Deepak Acharya is Director, Abhumka Herbal Pvt Ltd, India. For more information, visit and