Indigenous knowledge of coastline sacred groves in Central Kerala, India
Sacred groves are a patch of forest protected by religious belief in South India, especially in Kerala. It preserves a vast array of plants including critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable medicinal plants and a way to conserve biodiversity. The present study was aimed to document plant diversity and related ethno medicinal significance along the coastline sacred groves of central Kerala. Field visits were conducted for sample collection and semi structured open-ended questionnaire tools have been used to conduct interviews with local peoples herbal healers and herbal dealers. A total of 121 plant species belonging 108 genera under 60 families were recorded from the sacred groves under this study. Indigenous people commonly use around 100 species as herbal medicines and for other uses. Among this, the traditional medicinal usages of critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable plants are described in this paper. The study envisage that indigenous people still relay various plants as herbal remedies to treat various diseases, as source of income, as fuel and during rituals in temple etc.
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