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Ethno medicine and healthcare practices among Nicobarese of Car Nicobar - an indigenous tribe of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Research paper by M Punnam MP Chander, C C Kartick, J J Gangadhar, P P Vijayachari

Indexed on: 12 Oct '14Published on: 12 Oct '14Published in: Journal of Ethnopharmacology



Abstract

This study is an attempt to document the use of medicinal plants by Nicobarese tribe from the Car Nicobar Island of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Inspite of the availability of modern healthcare facilities tribal people often take herbal medicines and Traditional Knowledge Practitioners (TKPs) serve as the local medical experts in Car Nicobar Island.The present study was to conduct an ethnomedicinal survey among the TKPs of Nicobarese tribe of the inhabitants of Car Nicobar Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India.Field research was conducted in 15 villages of Car Nicobar Island during March 2011-February 2012. TKPs were interviewed with a questionnaire-guided ethnomedical survey protocol. The data obtained were quantitatively analysed using the informant consensus factor (ICF) and use value (UV). Voucher specimens of all cited plants were collected and deposited at Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), Port Blair.Use of 150 medicinal plant species, belonging to 122 genera encompassing 59 families were recorded during the survey. These 150 species are employed to treat 47 different medicinal uses, divided into nine categories of use. The highest ICF (0.68) was obtained for the gastrointestinal system. The Euphorbiaceae family exhibited the highest number of citations, and the species with the highest UVs were Morinda citrifolia L., Tabernaemontana crispa Roxb. and Colubrina asiatica (L.) Brongn. Of the medicinal plants reported, the most common growth form was shrubs (28%). Among several parts of individual plant species which are used, leaves constitute the major portion in preparation of medicines. Remedies were generally prepared using water as the excipient.This study is an attempt to document the use of medicinal plants from the Car Nicobar Island of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Future phytochemical and pharmacological studies are needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of the identified plants.