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Ethno Veterinary practices among the rural people of Ganjam District India: A Case Study On some Common Veterinary Ailments

  By : , Polasara, India       13.2.2010         1 Comments          Phone:9337330712          Mail Now


Animal and plant relationship has been continuing since time immemorial. Ancient man had discovered natural products to satisfy his needs including relief from his personal ailments as well as of his fellow domestic animals. This has been tested through lapse of time and later on these findings were transmitted to the succeeding generation through the words of mouth. Very little of this knowledge (Ethno-veterinary knowledge) has been recorded so far and it seems that these valuable time-tested findings are on the verge of extinction. A part of such knowledge is tried to be retrieved in this project.

Key words: Ethno-veterinary treatment, Traditional Healers (THs), Allopathy


Animal and plant relationship has been counted as an inseparable bond in nature. Since the beginning of this earth they coexist and flourish with the help and assistance of one another. It was only after the evolution of human civilization this relationship was analysed finely and improved to a great extent.

Ancient human beings were closely associated with other animals, especially the domesticated ones and with the plants those were found in and around their close vicinity as well as with other plants which were used for their daily necessities like food, shelter, clothing and medicines.

There is no authentic record of medicines used by the ancient men. But the Rigveda, which is the oldest book describes a lot regarding the close association of human beings with the plants for treatment of their kith and kin (Ayurveda) and their animals (Mrigayurveda) or today’s Ethno Veterinary Treatment (EVT).

Rigveda (10:97:2) mentions that this motherly earth has provided us hundreds and thousands of plants which have got capability of keeping us healthy and if required cure us from various ailments/ diseases. In hymn 10:97:12 of the Rigveda it has been described that the extracts of these plants when used as prescriptions have potentials of penetrating into our muscles, joints and relieves ailments. Further it has also been mentioned that these herbs conquer diseases as fast as swift horses, prove their efficacy for the sick, make them healthy and happy, (Rigveda 10:97:3). In the Atharvaveda (11:4:10) there were descriptions of remedies of ailments. According to it, there are four kinds of remedies, which are considered to protect life as well as they help increase life span of individual. 

The Mrigayurveda could not flourish along with its counterpart the Ayurveda. This might be due to decreasing interest of the herbal healers (Pashu Vaidyas), less availability of the medicinal plants due to rapid urbanization and industrialization and also due to rapid increase in the chemical medicament market (Allopathy).
However the traditional treatment of the animals, the Ethno Veterinary Treatment (EVT) did not continue along with the development of world population and poverty with the common people in the developing countries who remembered their traditional medicines, the Ethno Veterinary Medicines (EVM) for treatment of their livestock. The EVM/EVT although not well documented still continue in the minds of local people and the tribals.

Ethno veterinary practices cover people’s knowledge, skills, methods, practices and belief about the care of their animals. Similarly EVM is the knowledge developed by local livestock healers and contrasts the allopathic veterinary medicines. Both are dynamic and changing. EVM is developed by the farmers in the field and barns rather than in scientific laboratories. It is less systematic, less formalized and usually transferred by words of mouth rather than writings. EVM is in the danger of extinction because of advancement of the modern veterinary medicines (MVM).

The present study was made during 2002 – 2007 to collect data regarding this undiscovered field of herbal treatment in the study district.

Orissa is the ninth largest state of India by area and the eleventh largest by population with an area of 155.820Km2. Out of the 30 districts of Orissa state Ganjam district extends from 19.4oN to 20.17oN latitude and 84.7oE to 85.12oE longitude spreading over a geographical area of 8070.60Km2. There are 22 Blocks, 475 Gram Panchayats, 3212 villages, 18 Urban Bodies and 13 assembly constituencies. Geographically this district is divided into two divisions: the coastal plains in the east and the hills and table lands in the west. It has a population of 31, 60,635 (as per 2001 census) with a population density of 385 persons/Km2. The gross crop area is 718.80(‘000 hectares). 

The district is characterized by equable temperature throughout the year, particularly in the coastal regions and by high humidity. Normal rainfall of this district is 1444mms. The recorded forest area is 58136sq. Kms. which is 37.34% of the states geographical area. Agriculture and animal husbandry are the most important economic sectors of the district. Total livestock population of the district is 1334000 (as per 2003 livestock census). The district has 37 veterinary hospitals/ dispensaries and 246 livestock aid centres. The density of livestock population/ sq. Km. is 163. 

Most of the inhabitants live in rural and semi-urban areas and they chiefly depend upon the above two sectors to earn their livelihood. Disease is the most common factor that affects greatly to these two sectors. Common people generally depend upon the traditional methods of treatment of their animals. 

The present study is mainly focused upon the following five cattle diseases which frequently affect the cattle (cows, bullocks, buffalo etc.) for which the economy of the owners is affected greatly. (1) loss of appetite, (2) fever (3) cold and cough (4) diarrhea and (5) wounds.

Basing on the method adopted by Jain and Saklani (1992) the study area was frequently visited for selection of the contact persons including the Traditional Healers (THs) and veterinarians, collection of data regarding common veterinary ailments of the locality with their causes, symptoms and traditional methods of treatment, plants/ plant parts used for preparation of the traditional medicines, methods of drug administration etc. With a fixed interval the same persons were contacted for collection of concurrent data. Several meetings/ group discussions were also made with the local livestock holders, their wives, traditional healers (Pashu Vaidyas) and local veterinarians to have a detailed knowledge about the system of traditional treatment. The plant samples were collected for identification and confirmation in the Department of Botany, Berhampur University. 
Data thus collected were compiled and screened for future reference. During the next year further visits were made to the areas and similar data on common cattle ailments and diseases were collected along with their methods of traditional herbal treatment. This was done to get concurrent data regarding traditional herbal treatment or more appropriately the ethnoveterinary treatment (EVM).

Out of the data so compiled, common methods of ethno veterinary treatment (EVT) were identified and they were searched from published data for confirmation. Also out of all such preparations for different ailments some which were frequently used by the local people and THs were selected for administration to the ailing cattle in the following on the field experiments. The results were recorded and accordingly a statistics was prepared regarding the gradation of cure with the traditional medicines like: fully cured, symptomatically cured, less effective and non-effective. Only preparations those produced results for fully cured and symptomatically cured were taken into account and documented according to their effectiveness.

Ethno veterinary treatments:
1. Loss of appetite: 
i. Tamarind fruit pulp 500ml, dried Terminalia chebula powder 10gm are mixed. The preparation is drenched directly or mixed with feed once a day.
ii. 50gm each of dry ginger (sonth), Zingiber officinale, Foeniculum vulgare seed powder, molasses and 25gm black salt are mixed together. One tablespoonful of the preparation is taken to be rubbed over of the tongue of the animal.
iii. One tablespoonful of common salt, 10gm Trachyspermum ammi(Carum carvi) seeds are pound together. To it 20-25gm of molasses is mixed and fed to the animal twice a day for 2-3 days.
iv. Leaves of Cymbopogan citratus 10-12, Black salt - 10gms. are grounds together with rice water to make a volume of 500ml. The liquid is drenched to the infected animal.
v. Apium graveolens L. -15gm., Carum carvi -15gm., Myristica fragrans - 5gms., dry ginger- 30gms., Piper nigrum -25-30 pieces, and fried Hing (Ferula assafoetida L.)-10gm dry ground and mixed together. 1/2 teaspoonful of this powder is mixed with 200ml. preboiled and cooled water to prepare the tonic. It is drenched to the animal once a day for 7 days.
vi. Apium graveolens L., Carum carvi and dry ginger in a ratio of 1:1:2 are dry ground to make a powder. 1 teaspoonful of this powder is mixed with 1 teaspoonful of molasses to prepare a paste which is fed to the animal as such or rubbed over its tongue once a day for seven days.
vii. Whole plant extract of Mormodica charantia is prepared in cold water and bottle-fed to the animal to increase its appetite.
viii. Triphala (Terminalia chebula + Terminalia bellarica + Embelica officinalis ) powder with cold water is a best appetizer.
2. Fever: 
i. About 1Kg of small pieces of stem with leaves of Andrographis paniculata Nees are boiled in 5 lit of water for 3-4 hours and mashed. It is left as such overnight for fermentation. The decoction is filtered and stored. 2 cups of decoction is administered orally twice a day for 5-6 days in case of acute cases. In chronic cases the preparation is administered for about 3-4 weeks.
ii. Whole plant of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. is sun dried and ground to make powder and stored. Two tablespoonful of this powder is orally administered for a week twice daily.
iii. 25gms of whole plant powder of Swertia chirata is mixed with 100-150 gms of molasses to make a thick paste which is rubbed on the tongue and roof of mouth cavity 2-3 times a day for 5 days.
iv. A handful (about 100gms) of fresh neem leaves is boiled in 1 lit of water for about 20 minutes. This is then strained. The decoction in warm condition is drenched to the animal twice a day for 5 days.
v. 2 handfuls (about 200gms) of Vitex negundo leaves are boiled in 1 litre of water for 15-20 minutes to make a decoction. 1-2 cups of the decoction is drenched to the ailing animal thrice a day for 5 days.
3. Cough and cold:
i. Juice from fresh leaves of Anisochilus carnosus is extracted and filtered. 10ml of the juice is orally administered thrice a day for about 10-15 days in case of chronic adults. In common cases the duration is 5-6 days.
ii. Flowers of Calotropis procera are sun dried and stored. 500gms of flowers are boiled in 5lit of water for 3-4 hours in low flame. Decoction is prepared and stored. 15-20ml of decoction is orally administered 3-4 times a day for about 10-12 days.
iii. Flowers of Viola odorata Linn. are collected, sun-dried and powdered. 2 tablespoonfuls of the powder are orally administered with warm water 3-4 times a day at an interval of 4-5 hours for about 8-10 days.
iv. 50gms of Brassica nigra seeds, 50gms of garlic, 25gms of black pepper, 25gms of stem bark of Moringa oleiofera and 50gms of ginger are finely ground to make a small bolus. 4-5 such bolus is fed to the animal twice a day for 5 days.
v. 100gms of Ocimum sanctum leaves, 100gms of bark of Adhatoda vasica are boiled in 200ml water. When it is reduced to 100ml the extract is prepared. With it 1-2 teaspoonful of honey is added and given to the animal twice daily for 5 days.
vi. 10 leaves of Cinnamomum tamala, 50gms of Zingiber officinale and 10 leaves of Ficus reliogiosa are mixed and extract is prepared in water. Then it is drenched to the animal 2-3 times a day for 4-5 days.
vii. Efflorescence of Ocimum sanctum one handful (about 50gms), Adhatoda vasica leaves 15-20 nos. are ground to paste. To the paste one teaspoon ghee, 25gms ginger and 50gms molasses are added and fed to the animal.
viii. 50ml extract of Solanum melongena L. leaves, 50ml extract of ginger and 3-4 pieces of black pepper powder are mixed and given to the animal.
ix. A paste is made from ghee, black pepper (10-15), ginger (50gms), and garlic (50gms). It is divided into 2 equal halves. One half is fed to the animal and the other half is applied topically over the neck and head.
x. Nigella sativa, Brassica campestris L. seeds, sonth (dry ginger), Piper longum, Capsicum annum, Vitis vinifera L. fruits in equal proportions are ground to paste and diluted with water. This is drenched to the cattle twice daily for 5 - 7 days.
4. Diarrhea:
i. 250gm fresh ginger, 250gm Trachyspermum ammi are ground to paste. To the paste 100gms of tea leaves are added. The mixture is boiled for 10-15 minutes in 1 litre of water. The preparation is left to cool and filtered. ˝ of the preparation is drenched to the animal in the morning and the other half in the evening for 3 days.
ii. 1 litre of drained out water from cooked rice plus 100gms of dried ginger powder is drenched to the animal twice a day for 3 days.
iii. 500gms of fresh guava leaves (Psidium guajava) are boiled in 200ml of water for 10 minutes. The decoction is drenched twice daily for 4-5 days.
iv. One handful of tea leaves (about 100gms) is boiled with 1litre of water and strained. To it half handful of ground ginger (150-200gms) is added. The preparation is drenched twice daily for 3-4 days.
v. 100gms of fresh tender leaves of Psidium guajava and 150gms of ginger are ground together to make a bolus. The animal is fed with 2 such bolus at a time for 3-4 times a day for 5 days.
vi. One flower of Musa paradisiaca ground to paste with 10-15 black pepper is given to the animal once daily for 4 - 5 days.
vii. One flower each of Musa paradisiaca and Feronia limonia are ground together and drenched to the animal once daily for 5 days.
viii. Leaf extract of Mormodica charantia, fresh Curcuma domestica,Cymbopogan citratus in equal proportions mixed with sonth powder is drenched to the animal twice daily for 5 days. In case of calves up to 2 years the dose is reduced to half.
ix. Root bark of Calotropis procera R.Br. 20gms ground with 10gms of Carum carvi to make a paste. With freshly prepared rice this paste is fed to the animal twice daily for 5days.
x. Bark of Strychnos asper Lour. is boiled with water to prepare a tincture. One tablespoon of sonth powder is mixed with one glass of the tincture and drenched to the animal twice daily.
5. Wounds:
i. 500gms of fresh Moringa oleiofera leaves are ground to make a paste. This is applied as a poultice over the wound.
ii. Raw cotton wool is burnt. Its black mass is collected after the flame is extinguished. The black mass is applied topically.
iii. 2-3 handfuls of neem and Ocimum sanctum leaves are ground to paste. It is applied as a poultice daily for 3-4 days.
iv. 2 parts of neem leaves, 1 part Ocimum leaves, 1 part Annona squamosa leaves are shade-dried and powdered. This powder is applied topically with butter/ghee/til oil.
v. Fresh leaves of Tagetis erecta along with turmeric are powdered to form a paste. This is applied over the wound as poultice till the wound heals.
vi. Sap of Aloe vera is applied topically.
vii. Curcuma domestica, turmeric paste or powder is applied topically.
viii. Sap extracted from leaves and stem of Scirpus grossus is mixed with garlic, Allium sativum paste and applied topically.
ix. Extract of Tegetes erecta leaves is applied topically.
x. Leaf extract of Tridax procumbens L. is applied.
xi. Paste made from root and/or bark of Syzgium jambolanum is applied topically.
xii. Roots of Strychnos asper Lour. roots of Hellianthus annus are mixed with petals of Butea monosperma and mustard oil to prepare a paste and applied topically over the affected part.

From different field studies which included data collection, personal interview with the farmers, cattle owners and THs, group discussion and on-field experiment it was observed that-
1. Most of the persons within the age range of 40-70 are knowledgable about one or more methods of traditional cattle treatment.
2. They have sufficient knowledge (gained by experience) regarding diseases, symptoms, medicinal plants, their local names, identifications, methods of use, dose preparation and administration etc. 
3. Most of the local people (about 75%) are habituated to use traditional medicines for treatment of their domestic cattle. They themselves try the EVM as a first option, for complicacies they visit the local THs. In severe cases they opt to visit the nearby veterinary centre or a veterinarian.
4. The economic condition of the cattle owner also affects a great deal for the choice of EVM.
5. The local people have a strong faith and belief on EVM.
6. There were no side-effects after treatment with EVM on the field experiments.
7. In most of the cases animals were cured with EVM. 

The present study included extensive survey and research work regarding use of EVM in the district. As observed in most of the cases cattle owners’ and common people first choice of treating their animals is traditional herbal medicine (EVM). The on-field tests revealed that the above common ailments were cured fully in all the cases excepting a few negligible percentages of cases. There were no side effects. Repetition of the experiments on the fields in the successive years produced the same type of data. Further the cost of all these herbal preparations were negligible in comparision to the modern veterinary medicines prescribed by the veterinarians. As majority of the inhabitants of the district solely depend on agriculture and animal husbandry sectors i.e. directly or indirectly upon their domestic animals and they are busy throughout the year with their practice of earning their livelihood from these sectors, they rarely find sufficient time to visit the veterinary hospitals. Their poor economic condition does not permit them to meet the cost of the allopathic medicines. Hence they strongly believe and rely upon their age-old traditional herbal medicines.
However, the phytochemical and pharmacological screening, biological assay of the drugs/preparations must be carried out to display the active principles present in these plants. Standardization of the drugs with their dosage has to be made and above all the medicinal plants are to be protected and preserved systematically with Government and private sector initiatives. EVM has to be credited equal importance with its counterpart, the MVM.

While assessing the role of EVM in curing common cattle ailments in Ganjam district it was observed that:
1. EVM is very cost-effective in comparison with MVM.
2. This treatment is effective in cases of common ailments like cold and cough, fever, skin diseases, worms, wounds, reproductive disorders, nutritional deficiencies, intestinal problems including diarrhea and dysentery.
3. EVM is cheap and readily available.
4. The medicinal plants are readily identified by the local people with their local naming.
5. Many such medicinal plants are culturally associated with the lifestyles of the local people.
6. There are no side-effects and after-effects of the EVM.
7. People have very strong belief on this treatment.
However use of EVM has certain limitations.
1. The efficacy of all medicinal formulae adopted by the local people and the THs are not ascertained in the laboratory.
2. Although some work in this regard have been undertaken at different places of the world, yet a lot more have to be worked out to establish the importance of the use of EVM.
3. Due to rapid urbanization and industrialization forest cover area is gradually squeezed and hence the availability of the medicinal plants has become scarce. Many of them are on the verge of extinction.
4. Audio-visual commercials and modern marketing techniques of MVM has magnified the interest of urban people for which the traditional system of treatment is ignored.
5. Present system of education is not sufficient to attract the young generation towards the age old traditions including EVM and Ayurveda.
6. Dose and therapeutic uses of EVM vary a great deal with geographical distribution. Hence, there is no correlation which is to be established.
7. There is no authentic record to refer. People simply learn the system from their forefathers, seniors and THs by hearing. Hence, a standard database in this regard has to be developed which should be easily accepted by all concerned.

The efficacy of all medicinal formulas mentioned in the treatment methods is not yet ascertained. But the collection of pharmacognosical data from this study can provide a basis for the integration of folk uses in the conventional veterinary medicine. This is to say that traditional medicine can be a real source for insights into material from which the discovery of new compounds of medicinal values may be made. For this, phytochemical screening and biological assays of plant drugs must be carried out to display the active principles. The efficacy of some plant extracts in terms of their phytochemical and pharmacological aspects e.g. antibacterial, anti-venomous, anthelminthic, ascaricidal, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, digestive are proved in case of human beings and in certain animals. Some substances, such as alkaloids, tannins, lignans, saponins, quinons, phenols, phytoecdysons and various glycosides have been isolated and pointed out as substances which are endowed with biological activities (Chifundera, et. al., 1993). 
An important potential long-term output of this study, and of other studies like it, could be the development of eco-sustainable projects with the primary goals of re-evaluating TKthe traditional knowledge on folk-herbal treatment for veterinary ailments and sustaining traditional agricultural and animal breeding systems. This could also permit the controlled use, perhaps supervised by local veterinary services, of suitable phytotherapeuticals and plant extracts derived from plants that could add value to the present day’s requirements of well-being of men and animals.

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   shivam arora,
Reply Posted On :
2 - 7 - 2010

thanks igot my project


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