People and plant: Learning with Adi community on ethnomedicinal practices and conservation in Arunachal Pradesh, India
Local plant species have been in use in variety of ethnomedicinal practices from time immemorial among the people of various communities for treating various human diseases. This paper reports about the plant species used by Adi community in curing various human diseases and ailments. A study was conducted during 2008-2009 and further refined in succeeding years with the 12 purposively selected traditional knowledge holders (TKHs) of Adi tribe of East Siang district, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Data were collected using combined approaches of personal interview, participant observations and transect walks. It was observed that with Shannon-Weaver diversity index 2.73, there were 39 local plant species belonging to 25 plant families and used as ethnomedicinal practices by the TKHs. Most of the species (17) were used by Adi TKHs with their green leaf parts followed by root and fruits (5 each) to develop ethnomedicinal formulations for treating a range of diseases and ailments. Out of these, most of the species [(e.g., Leucas aspera (Willd.) Link.; Plumeria rubra L.; Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don; Solanum torvum Swartz; Solanum khasianum C. B. Clarke; Oroxylum indicum (L.) Benth. ex Kurze; and Tinospora cordifolia (Thunb.) Miers)] were found in use by Adis against asthma, bronchitis, cough, sinusitis, diabetes, malaria, typhoid and jaundice. The Adi TKHs holders maintain a rich cultural ethics, govern by their own world-view in continuing ethnomedicinal practices, and harvesting the species from various land use systems with the aim to sustain biodiversity and associated practices. The key findings indicated that, plant species used as ethnomedicines for some of the diseases and ailments by the Adi TKHs, can be undertaken for the long-term trial to find some natural remedies against few human diseases, including search of immune enhancer against COVID-19, provided TKHs of Adi community are partnered in ethically and culturally appropriate manner.
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