Medicinal plant based antidote against snake bite by Irula tribes of Tamil Nadu, India

Author : Gnanavel R and Franklin Charles Jose

Objective of the present study is to gather first hand information about anti-snake bite plants used by Irula tribes of Tamil Nadu. From 2011 to 2012, different tribal villages were visited. The herbal practitioners in this study area were interviewed and information on meditational plants was collected from the traditional healers called ‘Vaidyars’. 30 informants were interviewed regarding the anti-snake bite plants used by them. Specifically ‘Vaidyars’ were interviewed to get an authentic antidote preparation of plants. This survey revealed a total of 30 anti-snake bite plants belonging 27 genera and 21 families. In terms of the number of plant species. Asclepidaceae and Acanthaceae constitute 34% of plants. Regarding the plant part used as antidote, the whole plant is used in 9 out of 30 species. The plants used against snake bite treatment by Irula tribe possess some chemical compounds responsible for snake venom inhibition. This traditional knowledge has to be protected and further chemical and pharmacological investigation may lead to the discovery of novel antidotes against snake bite.

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