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Kavitha C H and *Murugan K


The ethno botanical importance of plants is quite useful for health care and hygiene of local people. Remote village people are mostly dependent on indigenous plants for the cure of skin problems and cosmetics. In the present study, 28 plant species belonging to 23 families used by the local vendors of Neyyatinkara, Thiruvananthapuram district for curing various ailments was documented. A few plants of this area are coming under Red Data list also. The highest number of species and applications were reported for digestive system disorders (stomach ailments and liver problems), musculoskeletal body system (rheumatism and the complex of contusions, luxations, sprains, and swellings), kidney and other urological problems, and gynaecological disorders. Some medicinal species had magic connotations, e.g. for cleaning and protection against ailments, to bring good luck, or for Andean offerings to Pachamama, 'Mother Nature'. In some indications, the separation between medicinal and magic plants was very narrow. Most remedies were prepared from a single species, however some applications were always prepared with a mixture of plants, e.g. for abortion, and the complex of luxations and swellings. These plants are good source to interact with nature. It is crucial to have this precious ethno botanical knowledge and it should be transferred to the younger generation also, in that the society did not lose a great treasure that is disappearing rapidly. The data can be used in future for pharmacological studies. Similarly, ethno botany is very helpful in identifying and solving conservations issues, as in cases where the harvesting exceeds the re-growth rates. It is prosperous to conserve the medicinal plants, which were harvested.

Keywords: Ethno botanical survey, wild plants, local communities, traditional knowledge.

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