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J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Sep 28;143(2):540-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.07.014. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Quantitative ethnobotany of traditional Siddha medical practitioners from Radhapuram taluk of Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu, India.

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  • 1Division of Ethnopharmacology, Entomology Research Institute, Loyola College, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600 034, India.



The aim of the present study was to document the knowledge of traditional Siddha medical practitioners from Radhapuram taluk of Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, India, and to quantitatively analyze the data to identify some useful leads for further studies.


Successive free listing was the method adopted for the interview. In this study, 84 traditional Siddha medical practitioners were included and their knowledge on medicinal plants was gathered. The data were assessed with the help of two indices viz., Informant Consensus Factor (F(ic)) and Informant Agreement on Remedies (IAR).


The present survey is in accordance with some of the aspects of our previous surveys. Regarding the demography of the informants, it exhibited unevenness in male-female ratio and majority of the informants were poorly educated. Practicing this system of medicine as part time job by majority of the informants might indicate the reduced social status of this medicinal system. The present study had recorded the usage of 217 species which were used to prepare 448 formulations, which in turn yielded 812 use reports. Conversion of use reports had yielded a total of 625 claims and 84.16% of the claims were 'singletons'. The illness category 'adjuvants' holds a high F(ic) value. Among the other illness categories, kapha ailments and dermatological ailments have a high percentage of use-reports. Ailments of blood, jaundice and fever were the other illness categories with high F(ic) values. Some of the claims viz., Mukia madarasepatana (kapha ailments), Mollugo nudicaulis (febrifuge), Indigofera asphalathoides (dermatological ailments), Aerva lanata (urinary ailments), Abutilon indicum (hemorrhoids) and Hybanthus enneaspermus (aphrodisiac), which have relatively high consensus can be taken up for further biomedical studies, since no substantial studies have been conducted on them.


One of the major aims of National Rural Health Mission is to implement traditional Indian system of medicines into the main stream. In such scenario, scientific validation of community-based local health traditions becomes necessary for their rational implementation. Through this study we have highlighted some claims which are at high use in the study area but having little scientific support. Studies on such claims will provide scientific base which in turn will be useful to improve the health of indigenous people.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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