Herbal treatment for snakebites in Uttarakhand state of India



Kala, Chandra Prakash

Abstract

Plants used in the treatment of snakebites were surveyed in the Uttarakhand state of India, using a questionnaire. The herbal practitioners were interviewed and information on snakebite treatments, using medicinal plants were collected from the traditional healers, locally called as vish vaidyas. The study documents 56 medicinal plant species, of which most of the species (93 %) are used for the treatment of snakebites and some species are used to cure dog and scorpion bite, traditionally. The use of herbs was highest, followed by trees and shrubs for this purpose. Before treatment the vish vaidya makes sure the identity of poisonous or non-poisonous type of snakebites on the basis of claims made by the patient over the taste of plants given. The taste of plant (mainly neem, Azadirachta indica A. Juss.) if claimed other than its normal taste by the patient then it is considered the bite of venomous snake. Thorough clinical testing of plants as used by vish vaidyas may help to standardize the efficacy of herbal drugs in curing venomous snake bites, which result into loss of thousands of human life in India.

Keyword(s)

Medicinal plants, Snakebite, Traditional system of medicine, Vish vaidyas, Uttarakhand.

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