An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by traditional healers in silent valley of Kerala, India

J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Jul 3;154(3):774-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.05.004. Epub 2014 May 14.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Medicinal plants are treating and preventing a variety disease. There is urgency in recording such data. This is the first ethno botanical study in which statistical calculations about plants are done by ICF method. The present study was aimed to identify plants collected for medicinal purposes by the traditional healers of silent valley, located in Palakad district of Kerala, India and to document the traditional names, preparation and uses of these plants.

Materials and methods: Field study was carried out a period of 2 years in Kerala. The ethno medicinal information was collected through interviews among traditional healers. The collected data were analyzed through use value (UV) informant consensus factor (F(ic)) and fidelity level (FL).

Results: A total of 102 species of plants distributed in 95 genera belonging to 53 families were identified as commonly used ethno medicinal plants by traditional healers in silent valley for the treatment of 19 ailment categories based on the body systems treated. Leaves were the most frequently used plant parts and most of the medicines were prepared in the form of paste and administrated orally. F(ic) values of the present study indicated that dermatological infections/diseases and gastro-intestinal disorders had highest use reports and 7 species of plants has the highest fidelity level of 100%. The most important species according to their use value were Moringa oleifera (2.62), Curculigo orchioides (2.5) Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, Vitex negundo (each 2.37), Carica papaya (2.12), Annona squamosa (1.87).

Conclusion: Gathering the present study, we can recommended the plants Moringa oleifera, Curculigo orchioides, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, Vitex negundo, Carica papaya, Citrus hystrix, and Tribulus terrestris (with high use values), Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, Aloe vera, Carum capticum and Discorea pentaphylla (newly reported claims with highest FL) for further scientific investigation based upon the traditional knowledge of medicinal plants can be an approach in the discovery and development of novel drug leads.

Keywords: Ethnoplants; Folk medicine; Silent valley; Traditional healers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ethnobotany
  • Humans
  • India
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Wound Healing*