Vitex trifolia (Sambhalu patti) a boon to livestock farmers of A&N Islands

Port Blair, May 31: Traditional medicines such as Ayurveda and siddha use plants as their most extensive sources. The use of plant-based drugs all over world is now increasing. The present covid situation is witnessing for this and public are advised to use medicinal plants as preventive and healing therapy. Vitex trifolia is one of such great plants in traditional medicine. The plant Vitex trifolia Linn (Verbaneaceae) is commonly known in Hindi as ‘Pani-ki-Sanbhalu’, ‘Sufed-Sanbhalu. Various other local names are Jalanirgundi (Sanskrit), Urikshibi (Manipuri), Paniki-shumbala (Bengali), Nira-lakki-gida (Kannada), Lagondi, Nirnoschi (Malayalam), Nirnochchi, Shirunoch-chi (Tamil), Niruvavili, Shiruvavili (Telugu). It is plumpy aromatic/coastal shrub or a small tree, found from the foot of Himalayas southwards throughout greater part of India, Western ghat and in Andamans. It is widely distributed in different parts of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The spicy odour of its leaves is due to its essential oil content. In addition, leaves contain polyphenolic compounds, flavonoids, proteins, tannins, phytosterols and saponins.  It is used as anti-inflammatory in Chinese folk medicine in the treatment of headaches, migraine, eye pain, rheumatic pains and gastroenteritis. The leaves possess insecticidal and antibacterial activity and to treat eczema, ringworm, liver disorders, spleen enlargement, gout, abscess, antiseptic, diuretic, treating sprains, contusions, and swollen testicles. The inner bark is used for dysentery, expectorant, lowering blood pressure and treating common cold, chronic tracheitis, sinusitis, periodontitis, and rheumatism and used in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. The roots are used as antihelmintic, insecticidal, diuretic, antiemetic, expectorant, tonic and beneficial in thirst. The research by conducted at ICAR-CIARI, Port Blair scientifically proved that Vitex trifolia has got antibacterial and antifungal activity against different bacterial and fungal pathogens. A crystalline compound named Methyl-p-hydroxybenzoate extracted from Vitex trifolia showed insecticidal properties and it works exceptionally well in eradicating the larvae of the mosquito of genus Aedes. In a recent research it was found that extracts from Vitex trifolia exhibited profound wound healing activity. This was proved by an increase in the wound contraction rate, decrease in epithelialization period and there was increased collagenation which showed the signs of speedy wound recovery. Hence this plant is useful in treating cuts. Almost all parts of this plant like leaves, flower, fruit and root are all filled with medicinal properties. In traditional medicine system vitex leaves are used to cure fungal infections. It is done so by using completely crushed leaves mixed with ghee, this mixture is applied on infected area. Traditionally in Andaman, the fumes out of burning its leaves inside cattle, poultry and goat shed are used to kill mosquitoes and to reduce respiratory infections. Scientists of ICAR-CIARI, Dr. Jai Sunder, Dr.D.Bhattacharya, Dr.T.Sujatha, Dr.A.K.De under the supervision of Dr. E.B. Chakurkar  prepared  vitex  and oil based topical application as described for effectively controlling tick infestations under Island climatic conditions with no side effects. This herbal formulation has been found to be very effective in control of  ticks and flies infestation in domestic animals. Hence, organic tick control strategy using this herbal formulation will address the issue of acaricide resistance and thereby prevent the diseases they transmit.  The tested extracts have the great scope for commercialization and have potential to be a part of Integrated Pest Management for sustainable effect on cattle and goat. Further, the decoction made out of vitex and neem leaves in recommended in drinking water of poultry twice a week to enhance the vaccine immunity, to prevent any gastro intestinal problems and overall any disease outbreak. ICAR CIARI appeal and advise farmers of A&N Islands   to utilize and conserve this wonder plant as preventive therapy in livestock and poultry as well as for organic production of agriculture and livestock. 

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