Ethnobotanical studies provide vast amount of data with potential use in medicine.
The use of plants and their parts is not a subject of interest, since the relationship between man and plants is in practice from time immemorial. But due to the intrusion of modern civilization in the remote country side most of the people of the globe have abandoned the idea of traditional use of plants in their daily life and many a such plants are becoming scarce owing to unplanned exploitation and prevailing biotic factors. Simultaneously, by considering the expansion of population and increasing demand for daily requirement. Scientists have to intensify their interest towards the importance to little or less known organic source of plant origin. During the course of investigation it has been observed that a particular plant is sometime prescribed for different ailments. It is presumed, in the first case that it possess the efficacy for the treatment of more than one diseases and in the second case this may be a multiple treatment or it gives composite impact in curing the diseases. During the last decades, since the advancement of the science, considerable interest has been created among the western scholars of medicine for an inquisitive enquiry in this great science of health and healing in quest of medicinal truth for rendering an accurate medical service to the suffering humanity. Besides, there has been a great demand, for the revival of the practive of the ancient system of healing as expounded in Ayurvedic classics. During the present research on attempt has been made to place a brief note on the applied aspect of the fundamental principle of Ayurvedic therapy along with the concept of Ayurvedic classification of diseases and methods of cures and have a good grasp of the Ayurvedic treatment based on plant crude drugs. Pharmacognosy is important not only as an academic exercise. It is the infrastructure on which evolution of novel medicines depends. Several crude drugs are utilised for the preparation of galanicals. Several crude drugs provide essential intermediate for final synthesis of bioactive molecule. All over the world, the demand of herbal drug increased enormously. Eighty percent of world population depends on crude drug and folklore medicine. The plants collected and reported from different tribal and rural areas of Rajasthan. Species namely Azadirachta indica, Tinospora cordifolia, Phyllanthes emblica are used in diabeties. Boerhaavia diffusa, is generally used in liver disorders. Euphorbia hirta is often used for longer period against asthmatic problems for permanent recovery. Phyllanthus emblica are given to cure jaundice generally with buttermilk. The use of the plant parts as a crude drugs by various communities local people and vaidya’s in Rajasthan for various ailments no doubt indicates that the plant must have medicinal properties in it. Therefore, the plant requires a thorough screening of it's bioactive properties for the reported efficacies. Plant species namely Ageratum conyzoides, Calotropis procera, Piper nigrum are generally used as antileukaemic. Calotropis procera and Curcuma longa are used for face shadow, darkness and pimples on face. The collection, identification and documentation of ethnomedicinal data on biological resources are inevitable steps for bioprospecting. The native inhabitants are well-versed with the utilization of plants of their surrounding by their long trial and error method of using the herbal plants. These plants may serve as source of some important medicine against some major diseases. Therefore, these tribal and rural claims should be further validated scientifically. In the present work physical constant values have been estimated. Lower percentage of acid insoluble ash was recorded in Calotropis procera. High percentage of acid insoluble ash may indicate the probability of high content of certain inorganic minerals. According to annual reports of 1970-71 and 1974-75 of the pharmacognosy research unit, Drug research laboratory, Pune, ash value of powdered leaf of Calotropis procera was 19.85%. The differences observed in the ash values was probably due to the age at which the material was collected and also due to the locality. Carbohydrate metabolism is affected by drought through direct and indirect effects on photosynthesis and through several intermediate components and processes (Slayter, 1969). Under drought, there is a conversion of starch to sugars. This conversion is frequently associated together, although there are reports of reduced polysaccharide levels not being associated by an increase in sugar content. Reduced starch levels in cotton plants have been shown to be due to reduced photosynthesis and increased hydrolysis, as well as decreased carbohydrate synthesis (Eaton and Ergle, 1948). In the present work both the conditions that is either reduced starch level and increased sugar level or less amount of sugar and high amount of starch has been observed in various species. The cardiac-glycosides are particularly important source of unusual aligosaccharides derivatives (Reichstein and Weiss, 1962). The cardenolides are the more common and particularly abundent in the Calotropis procera. Sharples and Burkhard (1954) reported that fluctuation in carbohydrate content in influenced by seasonal environmental factors and by the growth activity of plants. 10-30% of the protein in a forage is converted into human food by ruminants whereas 40-60% of the protein can be extracted. Protein can be extracted more readily from soft bushy leaves than from those that are fibrous and dry. Leaves that give glutious or slimy extracts are difficult to handle (Prie, 1968). Good yield of protein have come from leaves that are by products, e.g., beans, jute, peas, potato and sugar beet. In young leaves of plants growing under good conditions, as much as 40% of the dry matter may be protein and 30% is fairly common. As the leaf matures the protein content falls. This may be caused by a change in the ratio of fibrous tissue to tissue rich in plastids but it is often caused by nutritional deficiencies. The seeds of Cucurbitaceae are outstandingly high in protein contents (28%), seeds of most of the members of family Euphorbiaceae are relatively high in protein and oil contents (Smith, 1954). The high quality proteins is also indicated for certain families like Chenopodiaceae, Polygonaceae and Amaranthaceae. In the present work it has been found that Asclepiadaceous plant i.e. Calotropis procera have rather low protein content, ranging from 3.05 to 11 percent. In recent years, efforts have been made to develop new methods of proteins production. One of these methods has been the extraction of proteins from plant leaves for consumption by human being and non ruminant animals (Chayen et al., 1961; Morrison and Pirie, 1961). Recent feeding trials suggested that leaf proteins concentrate may be equal to or better in nutritive value than proteins, such as meat, white fish meat and milk of certain species of non-ruminant animals (Winter and Funk, 1956). Plant protein may turn out to be of great medicinal importance and foodstuffs. However, there is a great paucity of information on the sources and uses of plant protein (Pirie, 1971, 1978). Thus, in conclusion we can say that phytochemical screening of medicinal plants would be much help in locating the source of pharmacologically active chemical compounds like alkaloids, tannin, sterols, phenolic constituents etc. Further phytochemical information is at times decisive in solving taxonomic problems. (Gibbs, 1974; Swain, 1963). It is hoped that screening data will be useful for the development of small scale industries engaged in extraction of crude drugs. Flavonoids form a major class of phytochemicals and are universally distributed among vascular plants. Flavonoids have been reported from a number of plants belonging to Compositae. Rienacker in his article “The future of medicines” says a new type of medicinal scientist are appearing on the scene who no longer regard diseases mechanically as local phenomena but as symptoms resulting from a general state of disorganizations and disharmony (Weiss and Fintelmann, 2000). Ayurvedic system of medicines a large number of plants are employed in the traditional system of medicines for the treatment of several diseases like cancer (Jain, 1991; Sharma and Kumar, 2003), depression and other nervous disorders (Mishra and Kumar, 2000), diabetes (Raghunandan & Mitra, 1982; Gupta & Kumar, 2002), rheumatism (Sanghi and Kumar, 2001), Leprosy (Sanghi and Kumar, 2003), skin disease (Shivani and Kumar, 2002) Urinary stone track disease (Mishra and Kumar, 2001) hepatic disease (Sharma and Kumar, 2003), disease of digestive system (Choudhary and Kumar, 2001), Malaria(Yadav and Kumar, 2002) paralysis (Sharma and Kumar, 2001). Medicinal plants with anti-tumour potential are listed below: Antitumour triterpenoids derived from Celastrus hindsii. (Kuo Y.H., 1997) Ageratum conyzoides Aloe vera Curcuma longa Vinca rosea Taxus baccata Medicinal plants with anti-HIV potential Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has been a serious life-threatening health problem since 1981 and is the most quickly spreading disease of the century. On account of recent reports of WHO and UNAIDS, at the end of 2001, an estimated 40 million people globally were living with HIV, out of them about 22 million people had died. Plants with anti-HIV potential are listed below: (1) Acer okomotoanum (Family: Aceraceae) (2) Artemisia annua (Family: Asteraceae) (3) Croton tiglium (Family : Euphorbiaceae) (4) Curcuma longa (Family : Zingiberaceae) (5) Glycyrrhiza lepidota (6) Polyalthia suberosa (7) Phyllanthus myrtifolius. Out of an estimated 250,000 higher plants, less than 1% has been screened pharmacologically and very few in regards to AIDS. Therefore, it is prudent to look for options in herbal medicine for AIDS as well. It should be noted that many of the anti-HIV drugs currently used in chemotherapy either are derived directly from natural products or are synthetic based on natural product models. Natural product derived active compounds serve as important lead molecules as demonstrated in the case of the development of calanolides. The rapid evolution of new anti-HIV clades and drug resistant variants in AIDS patients, as well as resurgence of other infectious diseases, such as drug resistant tuberculosis and hepatitis requires the development of innovation but reproducible technology targeting the critical elements for drug discovery and development. The goals of medicine no matter to which group it belongs i.e. the welfare of the patient. One can look towards a future of integrated medicine and hope that research in alternative medicine will help to identify what is safe and effective rather than marginalizing, unorthodox medical claims and findings. Plant life and soil fertility are closely interrelated. In this relationship plant roots play an important role in their function in the absorption and translocation of nutrients. The plant growth is governed by complex interaction of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Different plant nutrients affect the metabolic processes in plats which, in turn influence the growth. Fertilizers contain those nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that are rapidly taken up and required in high quantity by crops. Potassium nitrate and Ammonium nitrate are important inorganic macronutrients (Sudheendra et al., 1993 and Sreeramu and Farooqi, 1996). Inorganic macronutrients improved percent seed germination and seedling growth at lower to higher dosages. This may be due to stimulation of ATP production by application of macronutrients. They increase the rates of photo-phosphorylation and photosynthetic electron transport and also activate many enzyme systems. Therefore, the rate of nitrogen turnover and protein synthesis increases resulting in increase in growth (Jeanniot et al., 1970; Evans and Sorger, 1966 and Evans and Wildes, 1977). Nitrogen is essential for the growth and reproduction of plants, being a main constituents of all protein. Nitrogen in the form of inorganic or organic substances is widely used in the crop improvement. In the present investigation ammonium nitrate and urea were used. Gill and Reisenauser (1993) demonstrated that ammonium toxicity is generally associated with the occurrence of free ammonium ions and ammonia in plant tissues. Schortemeyer et al. (1997) found that dry matter production of the two hybrids. i.e. Melina and helga of maize was restricted in both shoot and root if supplied with ammonium. Sharma (1998) on the basis of their observation of germination studies on Boswellia serrata concluded that seedling growth was promoted by low concentration of Ammonium nitrate. In the present investigations, a considerable increase in (%) seed germination was recorded up to 50 ppm treatment of ammonium nitrate however beyond this concentration seed germination reduced considerably (Plate 10C). The maximum seed germination was recorded in 50 ppm NH4NO3 treatment (Table 17). The length of seedling was positively influenced by KNO3 treatment (Plate 10B). A considerable increment was recorded at all the concentration and it was at its maximum in 20 ppm treatment of KNO3. Plate 10A shows the effect of boric acid on shoot length on O. sanctum. Although application of boric acid in low concentration caused increment in shoot length but higher concentrations resulted in reduced shoot length (Table 19). Urea is one of the synthetic organic fertilizer used as nitrogen source. It is readily soluble and leachable when it is first applied to the soil but then it changes to ammonium carbonate and then to nitrate within less then a week. Soil nitrogen significantly increased root length, shoot length, fresh and dry weight (Lal and Tyagi, 1951; Brar et al., 1980; Johari and Kumar, 1992; Verma and Gupta, 2000 and Bagga and Kaushik, 2002). In the preset investigation it was observed that. The different fertilizers in different concentrations exhibited different effects on overall growth of C. tuberosum. The N applied in the form of urea resulted in better vegetative growth and the best growth was recorded in 160 mg. kg-1 soil of urea applied.. Phosphorus plays a significant role in affecting the metabolic process in plants. It is claimed that it affects quality more than the yield and improves, leaf area, leaf weight and dry weight (Lal and Tyagi 1951). Verma and Gupta (2000) reported that high concentration gave high yield of crop. Lopez and Miranda (1998) studied the effect of NPK on the growth of Hylocereus undatus for four years and found that phosphorus was significant only in the first two years. Johari and Kumar (1992) studied different NPK treatment on Euphorbia antisyphitia and observed that phosphorus promoted growth and biochemcial components. In the present investigation, different concentrations of super phosphate affected the plant growth variably. The growth was best supported by 80 mg.kg-1 soil concentration of super phosphate (Plate 11B). Potassium plays a vital role in plant metabolism in spite of the fact that it does not enter into the composition of any organic compound in the plant body. It seems to provide the ionic background which is essential for the maintenance of the living entity of the protoplasm. Potassium has a role in osmotic pressure in the synthesis of proteins and the maintenance of protein stability, in stomatal opening, membrane permeability and pH control. Potassium did not influence any vegetative character except leaf size, during middle portion of life cycle. It seems to have no effects on plant weight. (Lal and Tyagi, 1951 and Faroda, 1974). K+ promotes carbon dioxide assimilation and the beneficial effect of K+ on the translocation of photosynthates in an indirect one resulting from a higher rate of carbon dioxide assimilation (Jones, 1966; Cooper et al., 1967; Hartt, 1970; Ashley and Goodson, 1972). Potassium activates many enzyme system (Evans and Wildes, 1977). Plant growth hormones are chemical substances synthesized by the plants in very small amount. They produce specific effects on growth and development on the sites other than the sites of their production. They have occupied a significant position in improving both qualitative and quantitative characters of the plant. The present investigations were carried out to observe the effect of different concentrations of growth regulators namely IAA, IBA, GA3 and NAA on seed germination and seedling growth. Auxins and Gibberllins are two important growth hormones which stimulate cell elongation. Auxins have been defined as organic substance which can promote elongation of shoots when present in low concentration of less than 0.01M. Auxins are of two types : 1. Natural Auxins – Indole Acetic Acid (IAA) is an almost universal natural Auxin of plants. It is found in all the parts of the plant though its activity in the root is not yet clear. It appears that all enlarging and dividing cells of the plant are capable of synthesizing IAA. In intact plant more of the Auxin is prepared at the stem tips, which acts as a major source of Auxin supply to the other parts of the plant. 2. Synthetic Auxins-Some of the important synthetic compounds which have been found to show Auxin activity are Indole-3-Butyric-Acids (IBA), Naphthalene-1-acetic acid (NAA) (Bhatia and Parashar, 1996). Seed germination is affected by several physico-chemical and nutritional factors such as water, aeration light temperature and nutrients (Suresh, 1980; Mummus, 1993; Sreeramu and Farooqi, 1996). Treatment with growth regulators increased percent seed germination due to activation metabolic processes in the seed as a result of synthesis or activation of different enzyme systems. Such results were also observed by Khan and Rao (1971) and Chenshepley and Vener (1973) in Phaseolus radiatus. Gibberrellic acid (GA3) causes cell elongation of intact plants in general and increase internodal length of genetically dwarfed plants in particular. It is maximum in seeds and in young leaves. It causes elongation of internodes therefore, increases the plant length. It causes shoot elongation. The size of the leaves increases. Its effect is very less in case of root. Gibberellins (GA) comprise the class of hormones most directly implicated in the control and promotion of seed germination (Hsiao and Vidaver, 1984; Singh, 1970; Sharma and Chakraborty, 1976). Of the natural hormones, gibberellic acid is the most potent germination promoter and breaking seed dormancy in a wide range of crop species. The relation between growth regulators and nodulation and plant growth is very complex Verma and Dubey (1974), Abbas and Abotabikh (1976), Sing and Kumar (1989 and 1990), Trivedi and Kumari (1998). Trivedi and Rai, 2000 and 2001 reported that lower and moderate concentration of growth regulators are suitable for enhancement of nodulation and plant growth parameters. Higher concentrations are either depressive or inhibitory sometimes resulting into death of plants. Ethnobotanical studies provide vast amount of data with potential use in medicine. Pharamcognostical studies are helpful in identification of crude drugs. The yield of the plant could be improved by experimental manipulation.