India has a rich heritage of using medicinal plants for indigenous uses and practices. Some of the country's best herbal medicines have also been introduced worldwide, and new applications have been found for them in different parts of the world. This new found "fame", however, has proven to be troublesome for India in some instances. For example, the “turmeric case” highlights the problems faced by this country in preventing bio-piracy. Traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Sidda, Unani, and homeopathy make use of more than 2000 plant species. Local People, medicinal practitioners and tribal healers of this country where oral tradition is closely followed, have made some of our medicinal plants world famous as they find diverse applications across the world. Traditional systems of medicine make use of nearly 7000 plant species. Out of the 17,000 economic species of angiosperms known worldwide, about 5000 occur in India. Of these, 3000 are medicinal plants in which root drugs constitute the largest number of species (680) followed by drugs originating from fruits (450). Bearing the above facts in mind, an attempt has been made here to enumerate the medicinal plants available in the Tirunelveli plains, with help of local people and medicinal practitioners. Approximately three hundred fifteen plants were at one time medicinally used in the plains area of the Tirunelveli district, of which 95 have been treated in the following account.
Vanila, D.; Ghanthikumar, S.; and Manickam, V. S.
"Ethnomedicinal Uses of Plants in the Plains Area of the Tirunelveli-District, Tamilnanu, India,"
1, Article 159.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/ebl/vol2008/iss1/159