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Traditional medicinal knowledge about Turmeric Beetles in Chhattisgarh, India. Updated Version.

Traditional medicinal knowledge about Turmeric Beetles in Chhattisgarh, India. Updated Version.

Pankaj Oudhia

 

Introduction

Entomophagy and Entomotherapy are well known in Asia since generations. Unfortunately not much work has been done to document valuable Traditional Medicinal Knowledge about Insects. Pankaj Oudhia is documenting this knowledge since year 1990. The present note “Traditional medicinal knowledge about Turmeric Beetles in Chhattisgarh, India.”  is updated version of his previously published online research document available through pankajoudhia.com.

Keywords: Entomophagy; Entomotherapy; Medicinal Insects; Ayurveda; Chhattisgarh;

 

Haldi or Turmeric (Curcuma longa syn. C. domestica) is a perennial herb under cultivation in many parts of India. Its rhizomes are used for food seasoning and as condiment. After harvesting, raw Turmeric rhizomes are cured properly before the commercial product is obtained. According to the reference literatures, India is the largest grower of Turmeric. Turmeric has wide medicinal uses. According to Ayurveda, Turmeric is pungent, bitter, heating, laxative, anthelmintic, tonic, alexiteric, emollient and improves complexion. It is useful in treatment of blood diseases, leucoderma, scabies, urinary discharges, inflammations, small-pox, swellings, sprains etc. According to Unani system of medicine, Turmeric is a bitter, carminative, maturant, diuretic, good for liver affections, jaundice, urinary discharges etc. Turmeric is well known herb in Chhattisgarh. Many wild species of Turmeric have been reported in natural forests of Chhattisgarh. The natives and traditional healers have in depth traditional medicinal knowledge about this herb. During the Ethno-entomological surveys conducted in different parts of Chhattisgarh I have noted that the traditional healers of Southern Chhattisgarh use the Turmeric beetles i.e. Oryzaephilus surinamensis (Linne), Lasioderma serricorne (Fab.), Araecerus fasciculatus De Geer and Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) as medicinal insects. These beetles feed on Turmeric rhizomes by making holes in it. According to the traditional healers these beetles, after feeding, possess ‘refined’ properties of Haldi (Turmeric). The healers use both grub and adults. After killing it, they dry it in shade and in form of dry powder keep it with them for use as medicine. Many healers dip the dead grubs and adults in herbal solutions in order to eliminate its toxic contents. The healers informed that the use of Turmeric in treatment of old wounds is having its own limitations. The dry powder of beetles gives more satisfactory results in many cases. The dry powder is used in same way like Turmeric powder. Many times it is used with Turmeric powder in order to increase its efficacy. The traditional healers of Southern Chhattisgarh specialised in treatment of different types of cancer, add the dry powder, prepared by mixing the full fed adults of all four species (mixed in equal proportion), in popular herbal combinations used to dress the cancerous wounds. The healers are aware that the dry powder plays an important role in these herbal combinations. Many healers consider the dry powder as promising tooth powder but as other promising alternatives, are available it is used less commonly. From documentation point of view it is important information. 

[New comments added on April, 2014: Through recent surveys I have collected information about over 700 Formulations used for treatment of old wounds including cancerous wound in which these beetles are used as important ingredient. In Berberis based Formulations these beetles are added as secondary ingredient. In these Formulations Azadirachta and Pongamia are also added as secondary ingredient. In Alstonia based Formulations these beetles are added as tertiary ingredient. In Madhuca and Shorea based Formulations for Cancerous wound these beetles are added as quaternary ingredient. In Chlorophytum and Lepidium based Formulations these beetles are added as quinary ingredient. These Formulations are popular among the Traditional Healers. The Healers of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are also aware of these Formulations. In Curculigo and Costus based Formulations these beetles are added as septernary ingredient. In Hedychium based Formulations these beetles are added as octonary ingredient. Before adding the beetles in these Formulations the Healers dip it in ten types of Herbal Formulations for many days. Many Healers use it without purification also. Turmeric raised by chemical farming is not preferred for collection of these Beetles. In Lannea based Formulations for Diabetes wound these beetles are added as nonary ingredient. The Healers claim that presence of these beetles in Formulations enhances the performances of other ingredients. In Careya based Formulations these beetles are added as quinary ingredient along with Terminalia chebula. These Formulations are used both internally as well as externally. In Sterculia based Formulations these beetles are added as tertiary ingredient.

These beetles are also added in over 3000 Formulations used for treatment of different diseases. In Bryophyllum based Formulations for Kidney related diseases these beetles are added as quinary ingredient. In Tribulus based Formulations for diseases of male genitals these beetles are added as tertiary ingredient. For complete information on Formulations and dosage please visit pankajoudhia.com]


In reference literature all Turmeric beetles have been described as problematic pest. The information on its traditional medicinal uses is coming for the first time among the world community. As very few traditional healers are aware of these traditional uses, I personally feel that it is essential to start a systematic research on different aspects of these medicinal insects without any delay. 


Thank you very much for reading article.

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Citation

Oudhia, Pankaj (2014). Traditional medicinal knowledge about Turmeric Beetles in Chhattisgarh, India. Updated Version. pankajoudhia.com

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