J Ethnopharmacol. 1984 Jun; 11(1): 59-77.
Ethno-medico-botanical investigations in Kerala I. Some primitive tribals of western ghats and their herbal medicine.
Ethno-medico-botanical investigations of seven primitive tribals, Cholanaikken, Pathinaikken, Paniyan, Kuruman, Irular, Adiyan and Kurichan, living in the densely forested high-lands of western ghats in Kerala were carried out. One of the tribes, Cholanaikken, is the most primitive tribe known in the Indian subcontinent. Ethnically they appear close to the Australian aboriginals. All other tribes of Kerala have mixed features of Veddoids, Negroids, Australian aboriginals and Dravidian races suggesting the mixing of these races at various periods of Kerala's historical past. All the tribals investigated practice their own traditional system of medicine. The medical treatment of diseases of most of these tribals involves mysticism, magical incantations, sacrificial practices and divining. They also utilize a wide variety of herbs in treating the physical symptoms. These medicinal herbs were collected, identified and some of the interesting plants for which new medicinal uses were claimed by the tribals are described here.