Before the advent of modern medication, medicinal interventions such as dentistry were practiced as early as 7,000 BC in India. For ages, we have healed with herbal medicines using the traditional knowledge passed down through generations.
The rich biodiversity of Northeast India makes it one of the richest warehouse of medicinal and aromatic plants in the world with more than 6,500 species of medicinal plants found in Northeast India. Adding to this Meghalaya alone consist of 800 species of medicinal plants which are used for traditional medicines. Our land has always been blessed with natural treasures and we are not new to the usage of the locally grown herbs and wild plants for healing purposes.
Zizira is proud to present to you Potentilla fulgens, a medicinal herb better known as lyniangbru (Khasi) in Meghalaya, which is an important ingredient for the local traditional medicine used to relieve dental problems. Research on Potentilla fulgens is also being done to understand the possible antitumor property of this unique herb.
Chewing arecanut along with Potentilla fulgens has been an integral part of Meghalaya’s culture and perhaps our ancestors had discovered its benefits even back then.
When Zizira explorers found a lead on lyngiangbru, which is a little-known herb outside the Northeast, we did some research ourselves and decided to dig up more facts. And in the process, we met with Dr. Don Syiem, Professor and Head of Department, Biochemistry in North Eastern Hill University, who has been doing extensive research on this perennial herb.
My grandmother would always chew bits of Potentilla fulgens with kwai or areca nut, this used to make me wonder if there is any reason behind this chewing habit,” said Dr. D. Syiem
Now that Dr. Syiem has done some widespread research on the herb, he now knows the reason behind the selection of this herb, i.e. excellent oral health and lowering blood sugar levels.
How Does it Grow?
It has several leaflets with the lower surface having a silvery colour. Flowers are half an inch in diameter. It grows well in the open meadows and grassy slopes in the Himalayan range. It starts producing leaves by May and flowers by June-July. Starts to fruit by August and eventually deteriorates (dries out) by September. It grows from both the seeds and roots (vegetative propagation).
How Can Potentilla Fulgens Help You?
Potentilla fulgens have been in use for a long time in traditional medicine by the Khasi and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya. Moving up north, even in Chinese traditional medicine, Potentilla fulgens extracts have been used for treating diarrhea, hepatitis and rheumatism.
Research done on the Herbal remedies among the Khasi traditional healers at the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong suggests that the roots of Potentilla fulgens are effective against high blood pressure.
Another study done on the antitumor activities of plants from Meghalaya at NEHU concludes that the root extract possesses significant antidiarrheal properties and is safe to use as a homemade remedy.
I always see my Mother-in-law chew bits of Potentilla fulgens with arecanut. On asking why this herb? I got a straight reply, it helps control our blood sugar levels and give us a healthy mouth and teeth”, said Badshai Hujon, Zizira team member.
Commercial demand for this herb is a major cause of concern as Potentilla fulgens are over-harvested from the wild which poses a threat to this indigenous medicinal herb.
In Meghalaya alone 9,900 kg of raw drug (medicinal plant parts) from Potentilla fulgens is consumed annually. source
What next, as Zizira looks to unleash the potential of this medicinal herb and share the researches done that could vouch for the authenticity of the traditional knowledge on the local herbs. The only viable solution to meet the regular growing demand for the herb is domestication. In the process, we can reduce the pressure on the natural habitat of this herb.
Owing to the high elevations zones, if such medicinal herbs are cultivated by the farmers here, it could be a source of better returns to the farmers. We are exploring out all the possibilities to create a market for Potentilla fulgens and similar medicinal herbs that could bring promise for a better livelihood for the farmers of Northeast India. Join us as we explore the unique bounty of this region.
Have you ever come across this herb?