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Traditional use of medicinal plants by the Jaintia tribes in North Cachar Hills district of Assam, northeast India

Albert L Sajem1* and Kuldip Gosai2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Botany, Haflong Government College, Haflong-788819 Assam, India

2 Department of Agricultural Engineering, North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology, Nirjuli-791109, Arunachal Pradesh, India

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Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2006, 2:33  doi:10.1186/1746-4269-2-33

Published: 9 August 2006


The study of ethnobotany relating to any tribe is in itself a very intricate or convoluted process. This paper documents the traditional knowledge of medicinal plants that are in use by the indigenous Jaintia tribes residing in few isolated pockets of northeast India. The present study was done through structured questionnaires in consultations with the tribal practitioners and has resulted in the documentation of 39 medicinal plant species belonging to 27 families and 35 genera. For curing diverse form of ailments, the use of aboveground plant parts was higher (76.59%) than the underground plant parts (23.41%). Of the aboveground plant parts, leaf was used in the majority of cases (23 species), followed by fruit (4). Different underground plant forms such as root, tuber, rhizome, bulb and pseudo-bulb were also found to be in use by the Jaintia tribe as a medicine. Altogether, 30 types of ailments have been reported to be cured by using these 39 medicinal plant species. The study thus underlines the potentials of the ethnobotanical research and the need for the documentation of traditional ecological knowledge pertaining to the medicinal plant utilization for the greater benefit of mankind.