Sunday, 6 January 2008
Students find herb with anti-venom properties
January 6, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Visakhapatnam, Jan 5: Two students of class VIII of a private school in Warangal have documented over 150 rare plant species of high medicinal value deep in the woods, including an herb that treats snake bites.
Tanmay and Abhilash Bandari of Vidya Niketan High School went on a six week expedition in the thick forests of Eturunagaram, Kaleswaram, Pakal, Polwoncha and Lakkavaram searching for medicinal plants that are not normally found in the plains. The search yielded more than 150 species of plants, some of which have anti-venom properties.
The students displayed their herbarium at the ongoing 95th Indian Science Congress in this port city. “We have hundreds of species of plants that have anti-toxic properties. These plants cleanse the body system. But the students have found a species which has chemicals that will fight snake poison effectively. It will, however, not work against the poison of scorpion,” said marine engineer T Sreenivasa Rao, who is coordinating the herbarium show with the students.
Most of these plants are not found in plains, says Abhilash. “They grow only in the wild. Our idea is to popularise such species so that the forests department takes up large scale cultivation in the woods. With some basic research these plants can be made to grow even in our backyards,” he adds.
Visha Mushti (poison nut) found in Eturunagaram forests is highly poisonous and it has to be administered under medical supervision. The derivatives from this plant species are used as anti-venom. Generally anti-venom is prepared from snake venom but the authorities at Warangal Science Club, of which these students are members, point out that Visha Mushti is a plant equivalent of serpent poison.
Other herbal species found by the students include Chilaka Duddi (Polyalthia ceracides) for diarrhea control, Barre Duddi (Annonacea family) for removal of kidney stones, Tada (Gravia orbiculata) an antiseptic agent, Thuja, an anti-coagulant, and Reddyvari Nanabali, anti-asthmatic.
The department of botany of Kakatiya University coordinated with the students in the preparation of the herbarium. A number of scientists from different parts of the country visited the stall where the herbarium is displayed.
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