*Corresponding Author:
P. R. Bhatt
Department of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Junagadh Agricultural University, Junagadh-362 001, India
E-mail: [email protected]
Date of Submission 05 May 2017
Date of Revision 20 April 2018
Date of Acceptance 20 November 2018
Indian J Pharm Sci 2019;81(1):161-167  

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This study was conducted between January to July 2015 in Junagadh and surrounding villages to document the use of medicinal plants for veterinary practices by people living in this area. A total 121 farmers, cowshed owners or livestock owners were contacted personally in the survey with a semi-structured questionnaire. Out of 121, 82 male informants of age 40 to 70 yeras have responded well and were included in this study. Sixty-seven medicinal plants from 40 different families have been reported to be effective in 13 different animal ailments. A total of 13 medicinal plants were cited 47 times for gastrointestinal problems, which were the highest. Leaves were used prominently (27.59 %) whereas, epicarp was the least used (0.86 %). Large number of medicinal plants reported were from the Fabaceae family (15.38 %). Junagadh area is important due to a large plant biodiversity.


Ethnopharmacology, veterinary practices, traditional knowledge, Saurashtra, folklore, Gujarat

Ethnoveterinary practices include the use of local medicinal plants to prevent, cure or treat various ailments in animals. It can be considered as traditional knowledge, which is used for the well-being of animals [1]. Ethnoveterinary practices are known in India since the ancient Vedic period. Cattle husbandry was well developed during the Rigvedic period (1500- 1000 BC) and the cow. ‘Kamdhenu’ was adored and considered as the best wealth of mankind. Atharvaveda provided interesting information about ailments and herbal medicinal cures for diseases of humans, cows and horses [2]. Medicinal plants like Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Indrajava (Holarrhena antidysenterica), Kadamba (Anthocephalus cadamba), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Asana (Pterocarpum marsupium) and Ashoka (Saraca asoca) were commonly employed by Vedic Aryans to cure ailments of animals and men [3]. The oldest ancient treatise on veterinary Ayurveda is Asvayurvedasiddhanta (complete Ayurveda of horse). The text entitled Hastyayurveda (the Ayurveda of elephant) ascribed to Dhanvantari, the father of Ayurveda [4].

Gujarat state in India is a rich source of flora. As per Gujarat Biodiversity Board, 2198 angiosperm species are found in Gujarat, which is 12.56 % of total species found in India. Junagadh is located near to the Sasan Gir forest, which is the only Lion sanctuary in Asia. The average rainfall in this region is about 400 to 1000 mm. The coldest and warmest months are December and April, May, respectively [5]. Ethnoveterinary knowledge existed in Junagadh region of Gujarat state, due to various communities like Charan, Maldharies, Rabaris, Kunbies and Maher. These communities are nurturing various animals like cows, buffalos, sheep and goats in this region since long [6].

Traditional knowledge is being forgotten these days due to the advent of latest technologies, hence some researchers are attempting to document this fragile knowledge as written reports [7]. Dependence of poor people on medicinal plant-based treatments may be due to unavailability of hospitals in the nearby area as well as allopathic drugs [8]. Due to easy availability and low cost of medicinal plants, the livestock owners of the remote areas use them as a first aid for their animals [9]. Documentation of traditional ethnoveterinary knowledge is a requirement due to increasing demand for herbal drugs in the veterinary field along with some known side-effects of allopathic products. Recognization of ethnoveterinary practices in this region and their documentation is necessary for creating new herbal-based treatments. Thus, the present study was carried out to gather traditional knowledge from the animal keepers of different age and education status. This documentation may help to create awareness of the importance of veterinary therapy with medicinal plants.

Three tehsils of Junagadh, Mendarda and Vanthali of Junagadh district were selected primarily for the study. Four villages from each tehsil were randomly selected for this study, which were Plaswa, Bandhala, Majewadi, Bilkha from Junagadh; Barvala, Rajeshar, Araniyala, Aalidhra from Mendarda; and Gadoi, Vadla, Navagam, Nagadiya from Vanthali.

Study participants were selected randomly from each village included in the study area. Selection criteria for the participants included, either he should maintain animals at their home or on the farm or they should be engaged in animal keeping activities since 5 y or more. Minimum 10 participants from each village were contacted randomly. All participants were contacted either at their farm or at home. There were no female participants in this study due to the patriarchal nature in these villages hence only male participants were included. Some cowshed owners were also contacted for this survey.

A semi-structured questionnaire was prepared in the local Gujarati language, which contained more than 8 questions that included personal details along with contact numbers (if any), occupation, ailments of animals and medicinal plants used in particular ailments, type of application of plants and part of the plant. The plant species cited by the informant were determined from, flora of Gujarat [10], and other traditional books written in the Gujarati language [11,12].

Plants consumed in the ethnoveterinary practice in the Junagadh and surrounding area were investigated in this study. Total 67 plant species from 40 different families were documented for different purposes in the area (Table 1). Face-to-face interviews were conducted with the participants with a semi-structured questionnaire, which contained basic questions related to the aim of this study. Number of participants were highest in Mendarda (34.15 %) tehsil followed by Junagadh (32.93 %) and Vanthali (32.93 %) as shown in Figure 1A. All 82 participants interviewed in various tehsils were males in the age range of 40 to 70 y or more (Figure 1B). Participants in the age range of 40 to 50 y demonstrated more ethnoveterinary knowledge as compared to other groups. This shows that the knowledge of ethnoveterinary practice is in the hands of middle aged people, which might have been inherited. Participants who had education, from 5 to 9 standards were found to possess good ethnoveterinary knowledge in all three tehsils. The highest number of participants with education up to 10th standard and above were found in the Mendarda tehsil (Figure 1C). Even with a low level of primary or secondary school education, participants demonstrated good traditional knowledge, which suggested ethnoveterinary information is being inherited.


Figure 1: Statistical details of the participants
(A) Percent participants in each district (B) percent distribution of participants age-wise (C) education level of participants in the study area. equation Junagadh, equation Mendarda, equation Vanthali

Scientific name with family Vernacular name Medicinal use of different parts of plants
Abrus precatorius L. (Fabaceae) Chanothi Crushed seed given with jaggery in retention of the placenta
Achyranthes aspera L. (Amaranthaceae) Aghedo Juice of the seed in light warm water given in gastric disturbance
Adansonia digitata L. (Bombacaceae) Gorakh ambli A paste of fruits is applied locally to wound and orally for enteritis
Adhatoda vasica Nees. (Acanthaceae) Ardusi Leaves are used in mild to moderate cough
Aegle marmelos (L.) Corrêa. (Rutaceae) Billi Crushed fruits given orally for diarrhoea
Allium cepa L. (Liliaceae) Dungli Fresh bulbs given for retention of the placenta
Aloe barbadensis Mill. (Liliaceae) Kuvarpathu Fresh leaf gel for burns, itching and wounds
Anacyclus pyrethrum (L.) Lag. (Compositae) Akkal karo Crushed root decoction given up to 250 ml for retention of the placenta
Anethum sowa Roxb. ex Flem. (Umbelliferae) Suva Fresh cold decoction of seed given in stomach problems
Annona squamosa L. (Annonaceae) Sitaphali Fresh leaf paste with sugar applied locally for wound and maggots
Aristolochia bracteolata Lam. (Aristolochiaceae) Kidaamari Fresh paste applied for the treatment of maggots and parasites on the skin
Asparagus racemosus willd. (Asparagaceae) Satavari Root is used as a galactagogue in cow and buffalo
Azadirachta indica A. Juss. (Meliaceae) Kadvo Limdo Fresh cold decoction of leaf and stem bark is applied to itching and skin infections
Bauhinia variegata L. (Caesalpiniaceae) Kachnar Powdered bark applied externally for wounds
Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Oken (Crassulaceae) Paanfuti Leaf paste along with Aegle marmelos fruit pulp given for chronic stomach problems and mild urinary tract problems in cattle
Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub. (Fabaceae) Khakharo Powder of bark applied to the wound for quick healing.
Calotropis procera (Aiton) Dryand. (Asclepiadaceae) Aakado Leaf paste or entire fresh leaf applied along with Cassia auriculata leaf paste for chronic joint inflammation
Carissa carandas L. (Apocynaceae) Karmada Juice of the fresh plant used for infected wounds that refuse to heal
Cassia fistula L. (Caesalpiniaceae) Garmalo Seeds given along with jaggery for stomach problems
Cassia tora L. (Calsalpiniaceae) Kuvadiyo Fresh paste of seed and root applied locally for ringworm and fungal infection
Centratherum anthelminticum (L.) Gamble (Asteraceae) Kalijiri Dried seed powder used for maggot wound
Citrus medica L. (Rutaceae) Bijoroo Fresh decoction of the plant given as a supplement to cattle
Clerodendrum phlomidis L. f. (Verbenaceae) Arni Fresh paste is applied to worm and other foot diseases
Coccinia grandis (L.) Voigt (Cucurbitaceae) Tindora Fruit is an antidiabetic
Cocos nucifera L. (Arecaceae) Naliyeri Cattle exposed to a fog of dry leaves for chronic cough
Cordia dichotoma G. Forst. (Boraginaceae) Gunda Powder of bark used externally for wound healing. Fresh juice given for intestinal worms
Curcuma amada Roxb. (Zingiberaceae) Amba haldar Powdered rhizome paste applied for foot joint inflammation, bone fractures. Thick syrupy solution in water given internally to oxen in hyperventilation
Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae) Haldar Warm paste applied locally for inflammation, antiseptic
Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf. (Poaceae) Lemon Grass Given with fodder for anorexia in cattle
Datura metel L. (Solanaceae) Dhaturo Leaf paste applied in painful injuries of ankle bone
Derris indica (Lamk.) Bennet. (Fabaceae) Karanj 5 to 10gm seed are crushed in water and apply for itching and pruritus
Eclipta alba (L.) Hassk. (Compositae) Bhangro Leaf paste is applied to wound along with other herbs
Elephantopus scaber L. (Compositae) Gojihva Commonly used for wound healing in cattle
Enicostemma littorale auct. Non-Bl (Gentianaceae) Mamejvo Stomach problems and treatment of intestinal worms
Euphorbia nivulia Buch.-Ham.
Dandaliyo thor Fog of dried stems for the treatment of cough. Fresh paste of stem applied locally for inflammation
Ferula foetida (Umbelliferae) Hing Given in flatulence
Ficus bengalensis L. (Moraceae) Vad Bark paste applied in fractures along with other herbs
Ficus racemosa L. Syn. Ficus glomerata Roxb. (Moraceae) Umbaro Fruits given with fodder for liquidy dung due to stomach problems. Bark paste externally used for wound healing and minor haemorrhages
Ficus religiosa L. (Moraceae) Pipalo Juice of leaf and bark given for vaginal prolapse
Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Fabaceae) Jethi Madh Root powder given with water for the treatment of cough
Lepidium sativum L. (Curciferace) Sheliyo Seeds given as a supplement during pregnancy
Leptadenia reticulata (Retz.) Wight & Arn. (Asclepiadaceae) Dodi Fruit paste applied to various skin problems
Mangifera indica L. (Anacardiaceae) Ambo Ash of bark given for cough and respiratory problems
Moringa oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae) Saragvo To increase milk production in cow and buffalo
Murraya koenigii (L.) Spreng. (Rutaceae) Mitho limdo Leaf given with fodder during diarrhoea and related problems
Ocimum sanctum L. (Labiatae) Tulsi Used as antiseptic, antibacterial
Pandanus tectorius Soland.ex
Parkinson (Pandanaceae)
Kevado Fresh water decoction of leaf is used to all types of wounds
Peltophorum pterocarpum
(DC) K. Heyne. (Caesalpiniaceae)
Pilo gulmohar Bark decoction given in diarrhoea. Pods used externally for mild to moderate inflammation
Piper nigrum L. (Piperaceae) Kala mari Fruit given with fodder for indigestion
Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC. (Mimosaceae) Gando bawal Leaf and fruit paste applied locally for infections in cattle
Psoralea corylifolia L. (Fabaceae) Baauchi Seed paste applied to itching and other related skin problems
Pueraria tuberosa (Willd.) DC(Fabaceae) Fagiya ni ganth Chopped tubers given orally to increase milk production. Tuber decoction suggested for urinary problems
Punica granatum L. (Punicaceae) Dadam Fresh decoction of fruit epicarp is given orally for diarrhoea and bloat
Sapota achras Mill. (Sapotaceae) Chikoo Unripe fruits given in diarrhoea
Semecarpus anacardium L. (Anacardiaceae) Bhilama Fruits given to treat retention of the placenta
Solanum melongena L. (Solanaceae) Ringna Fruits given with fodder for retention of the placenta
Solanum xanthocarpum Schrad. & H. Wendl. (Solanaceae) Bhoi ringni Fruit is used in treatment of a cough and respiratory diseases
Syzygium cuminii Merr. (Myrtaceae) Kala Jambu Fruit and leaves are antidiabetic. Leaf paste applied as antibacterial on wound
Tagetes erecta L. (Compositae) Galgota Fresh paste of flower petals applied to the wound
Tamarindus indica L. (Caesalpiniaceae) Ambali Treatment of stomach pain due to ingestion of castor seed
Tecomella undulata (Sm.) Seem.
Ragat rohido Dilute decoction to wash infected eyes. Bark paste applied along with other herbs for bone fracture. orally given to treat intestinal worms
Terminalia arjuna (Roxb. ex DC.) Wight & Arn.(Combretaceae) Arjun Bark juice is given to hyperventilated oxen in the field
Thespesia populnea (L.) Soland. ex Correa (Malvaceae) Paras piplo Bark paste applied for skin diseases and itchy skin
Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague (Umbelliferae) Ajmo Leaf juice given in common stomach problems
Tridax procumbens (L.) L. Gha buri Fresh juice applied to wounds
Vitex negundo L. (Verbenaceae) Nagod Leaf paste applied externally for mild to moderate inflammation
Zingiber officinale Roscoe (Zingiberaceae) Aadu Crushed rhizomes along with jaggery given to cattle in bloat and indigestion

Table 1: Medicinal plants used in ethnoveterinary practice in junagadh region of gujarat, india

GIT problems, wound healing, skin-related disorders, respiratory problems and inflammatory conditions were listed more compared to other diseases. Out of the 67 medicinal plants, 22.03 and 13.56 % were used for treating bloating, diarrhoea and wound healing action, whereas about 10.17 % plants were used for skin problems, respiratory problems and inflammationrelated problems (Figure 2A). Apart from these, for treating retention of the placenta, parasitic infections, bone fracture, milk let down problem, vaginal and urinary tract problems, a number of plants alone and/or in combinations were commonly used. Leaves (27.59 %) and fruits (18.97 %) were used predominantly, while epicarp, exudate and rhizomes were used sparingly (4.31 %; Figure 2B).


Figure 2: Distribution of ailments and plant parts used as treatments
(A) Percent use of medicinal plants in various ailments and (B) percent use of vegetative parts of medicinal plants in the study area. equation Leaf, equation fruit, equation bark, equation seed, equation root, equation stem, equation whole plant, equation flowers, equation others (equation rhizomes, equation epicarp, equation exudate)

Some farmers have reported the use of fresh juice of Tridax procumbent in large ruminant injuries. This plant was reported to exhibit antiseptic and antihemorrhagic activity [13,14]. These activities of this plant might be due to the presence of steroids and triterpenes [15]. Another report from one of the farmers indicated use of fresh decoction of Prosopis juliflora leaves when an animal suffered from infectious diseases. Phytochemical analysis of P. juliflora revealed the presence of four piperidine alkaloids with good antibacterial and antifungal activities [16-18].

One of the widely distributed plants from this region is Achyranthes aspera, which has been used by livestock owners and farmers for gastric disturbance (bloat) in animals. This plant is also monographed in Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India. Various pharmacological actions like wound healing [19], spermicidal activity [20] and hepatoprotective activity [21] were reported. Veterinary use of this plant however was not reported.

Butea monosperma is one of the important medicinal plants found throughout India except in arid regions. Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India described the use of stem bark of this plant in chronic diseases like abdominal tumour and other intestinal conditions. But it was surprising to note the use of the plant for instant wound healing purpose, in which stem bark powder was applied to the fresh injury of animals. Though the mechanism of action is still unknown the presence of palastrin, isobutein, and other flavonoids, as well, tannins might help in wound healing through antioxidant and astringent mechanisms [22].

Use of various parts of Azadirachta indica leaves, stem bark in itching and other skin-related diseases have been documented. Triterpenes like nimbin, azadirachtin, limonoid presnet in neem could be responsible for this therapeutic activity [23].

Ricinus communis is one of the important agricultural crops in this area. Participants reported that when animals swallow the seeds of R. communis accidentally, a very painful condition resulted. To treat this condition Tamarindus indica was given alone or mixed with palatable food has been reported. T. indica is traditionally used as a laxative. Presence of tartaric acid, malic acid, and citric acid, xylose, epicatechin, and phenolics have been reported in this plant [24].

Another interesting finding was the use of Pueraria tuberosa tuber as the galactagogue in milch animals. Tubers of this plant are being used in human [15] but the veterinary use of this plant has not been studied. Some participants cited this Ayurvedic treatment, which was generally practised for the human. Under that, use of Solanum xanthocarpum for respiratory diseases, Terminalia arjuna in hyperventilated oxen, Psoralea corylifolia for the skin and related ailments were also informed [25]. All the claims cited were by participants with primary to secondary level education. This shows that Ayurveda system of medicine constituted traditional knowledge that passed from generation to generation since long.

After the thorough survey by interviews with livestock keepers, farmers and traditional healers, it was realized that important ethnoveterinary knowledge is possessed by rural people. This valuable information needs to be validated with in vitro and in vivo studies. Proper utilisation of this information might help in developing alternate therapy of ailments.


Authors thank all the farmers, owners of cowsheds and animal custodians who shared information enthusiastically.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests in this paper.

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