Current Status of Medicinal Plants used by Traditional Vaidyas in Uttaranchal State of India

Kala, Chandra Prakash
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
The current status of medicinal plants used by traditional Vaidyas was studied in Uttaranchal state of India. Information was gathered using semi-structured questionnaires among 60 traditional Vaidyas. They were questioned about the types of ailments treated with plants and the preparation of herbal medical formulations. A total of 243 herbal medical formulations prepared by Vaidyas treating 73 different ailments were documented. Plants were the major ingredients in these medical formulations. 156 medicinal plant species were documented during the survey. Of these 55% were cultivated and 45% were wild species. Of the cultivated species 80% were found growing in the kitchen gardens and 20% in the agricultural fields. The frequency of use of kitchen garden species was highest in preparing the medical formulations as in 243 formulations the relative frequency of use of such species was 87%. The relative frequency of use of the medicinal plants growing in the wild was 55% in preparing herbal medical formulations. There was a sharp decline in the number of traditional Vaidyas through generations. The loss of knowledge on preparing medicine was due to several reasons including the number of Vaidyas coming forward to adopt this traditional healing practice professionally.
Kala CP. 2005. Current status of medicinal plants used by traditional Vaidyas in Uttaranchal state of India. Ethnobotany Research & Applications 3:267-278.
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