Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Traditional Usage of Plants of Costus Species in Assam, India

Written By

Biman Bhuyan, Dipak Chetia and Prakash Rajak

Submitted: 28 May 2021 Reviewed: 20 September 2021 Published: 09 October 2021

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.100532

From the Edited Volume

Natural Medicinal Plants

Edited by Hany A. El-Shemy

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Customary use of plants in the treatment of ailments in Assam, India is a typical situation. Ethno medicinal study was led in a few topographically unique zones of the state and utilization of plants from Costus species were reported. The extent of study chose for the investigation range across seven organizational regions spread across Assam, India. The regions include Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Karbi Anglong, Goalpara and Kokrajhar. Different plants were reported and plants fitting with the said species were chosen for determining the relevance concerning its use in customary medication. The survey divulged that plants associated to three species of the genus Costus namely Costus speciosus, Costus pictus and Costus scaber were espied to be primarily ubiquitous in traditional medicine in the discrete contemplated regions. The species were predominantly utilized as prime ingrediants in hepatoprotactive and anti-diabetic formulations. Costus speciosus was perceived to be chiefly used in the treatment of hepatic disorders and ailments. Costus pictus was observed to be used customarily in the upper Assam region bordering Nagaland for treating diabetes and Costus scaber was being used in the area bordering Arunachal Pradesh for tending people with jaundice, snake bite etc. The research climaxed with the profiling of the costus species as annotated from the ethnomedicinal survey.


  • Costus
  • Ethnomedicine
  • Assam
  • Costus speciosus
  • Costus pictus
  • Costus scaber

1. Introduction

Customary medical understanding is undergoing augmented consideration globally in health sector. The importance of traditional medicine in catering the health needs cannot be undermined. The herbal medicine sector commercially is already booming with the annual turnover crossing billions of dollars. With the passage of time newer knowledge is being incorporated substantially thereby highlighting the significance of documentation aspects pertaining to these medicinal plants and practices associated with herbal medicine.

Documentation based upon ethnomedicinal survey along with interaction with local healers practicing traditional system of medicine can be said to be the basis for establishing a systematic protocol for validating traditional medical knowledge.


2. Ethnomedicinal survey area

Assam was selected as the targeted study area due to the rich diversity in flora, fauna and above all due to the presence of diverse ethnic groups with a wide array of traditional practices. Several geographically distinct zones, encompassing seven administrative districts spread across Assam were considered for the study (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Map of Assam showing different districts where ethnomedicinal survey was conducted.

The selected areas in which the ethnomedicinal survey was done are as follows:

  1. Nagakhelia village and Jokai area, Dibrugarh

  2. Naojan and Borghoria area, Golaghat

  3. Laipuli, Tinsukia

  4. Majarbari village and Sissiborgaon, Dhemaji

  5. Kathkatia village, Karbi Anglong

  6. Dhupdhora, Goalpara

  7. Dotma, Kokrajhar

2.1 Survey area: Dibrugarh

Dibrugarh is known as the Tea City of North-East.To the north and east lays Dhemaji and Tinsukia district respectively. South-east and south-west parts of Dibrugarh are bounded by Tirap and Sivsagar district [1, 2, 3, 4].

Two places in Dibrugarh district were selected for ethnomedicinal survey viz. Nagakhelia and Jokai. Nagakhelia is a small village, consisting of around hundred households under Barbaruah block of Dibrugarh district lays about 6 km from Dibrugarh University [5]. The village is located on the banks of river Brahmaputra and the area boasts of thick vegetation which serves as a prime source of medicinal plant materials for the local healers of the area practicing traditional medicine.

Jokai comes under Barbaruah block in Dibrugarh district. It is located about 10 km south from Dibrugarh University. It is also home to the over twelve hectare Jokai reserve forest within which Jokai Botanical Garden cum Germplasm Centre is located. The reserve forest is endowed with different flora species of medicinal, oil bearing and aromatic plants. It also has diverse fauna species like flying squirrel, black panther and leopard including various species of butterflies and fishes. The villages surrounding the forest areas in Jokai has a rich heritage of prescribing traditional medicine, mostly from plants for many types of ailments like jaundice, diabetes, malaria, fever, skin infection etc.

2.2 Survey area: Golaghat

Golaghat is an important district of upper Assam having its own historical and cultural heritage. Golaghat is bordered by the Brahmaputra River in north, towards south lays Nagaland, whereas in the east it is bounded by Jorhat district and the western side lays Karbi Anglong and Nagaon district [4]. The major rivers of the district are Brahmaputra, Dhansiri, Kakodonga, Doyand, Gelabil and Diplolu [6]. The vast geography of Golaghat district also includes tropical evergreen and semi evergreen forest; tropical grassland in Kaziranga National Park and swampy vegetation. The topography of Golaghat is dominated by a diverse array of flora and fauna [7, 8].

Borghoria and Naojan were the areas selected for ethnomedicinal survey in Golaghat district. Borghoria village and Naojan are located about 30 km and 60 km from Golaghat town and about 2.5 km and nearly 70 km from Numaligarh Refinary township, respectively. Naojan, due to its close proximity to Barpathar, an archeological site where the remains of an 8th century temple made of square bricks and a stone inscription of Brahmi characters belonging to the 5th century were excavated along with the hot water springs and Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary of Garampani, has a very rich abundance of diverse flora and fauna. Borghoria situated in the vicinity of Dhansiri river has an exposure to vast and varied natural resources. Traditional healers around the area are mainly engaged in agricultural activities and prescriptions of traditional medicine by these healers are done on philanthropic basis [3].

2.3 Survey area: Tinsukia

Tinsukia is situated in the northernmost portion of Assam [2]. The district is surrounded on three sides by Arunachal Pradesh. The south part is ecompassed by Dibrugarh. As the district falls in the far east of North-East region of Assam (India), it is a part of global bio-diversity hot spot and has great biodiversity significance [9, 10]. The high biological diversity found in the district is often related to its forest cover, which is categorized into tropical wet evergreen forests. The important sanctuary located in the district is Dibru-Chaikhowa Sanctuary. It has an area of 640 sq. km and is famous for rare, endangered animals and birds such as white-winged wood duck, elephant, tiger, sambar, buffalo, aquatic avifauna and wild white horse. The other protected areas and important forests are Dum Duma-Dangori-Kumsong Reserve Forests, Tirap-Burihidihing, Sadiya plains, Upper Dihing (East) and Upper Dihing (West).

Ethnomedicinal survey in Tinsukia districted was conducted in Laipuli area. Laipuli is located at a distance of around 6 km from Tinsukia town [3].

2.4 Survey area: Dhemaji

Situated in the northern bank of the mighty river Brahmaputra, Dhemaji can be suitably described to be located in one of the remote area of north eastern region of India. In its northern and eastern end the state of Arunachal Pradesh lies. The western part is bounded by Lakhimpur district followed by river Brahmaputra in the South. Dhemaji has a total geographical area of 3237 sq. km [1, 2, 3, 4].

Two places selected for the ethnomedicinal survey in Dhemaji district were Majarbari and Sissiborgaon.

2.5 Survey area: Karbi Anglong

The district of Karbi Anglong is located in the central Assam region. The eastern part is surrounded by Golaghat district, in its west lies the state of Meghalaya and Morigaon district, the north is bounded by Nagaon and Golaghat district whereas North Cachar Hills and the state of Nagaland is located towards south. Karbi Anglong district is home to thick forest cover having numerous species of flora and fauna. It is to be noted that a new district, West Karbi Anglong was curved out from erstwhile Karbi Anglong district on 15th of August, 2015 [1, 3].

The district can be broadly divided into two physiographic units’ viz. hills and plains. About 85 percent of the district is covered by hills [4]. Environmental and topology studies of Karbi Anglong specify a great degree of diversity among the existing plant and animal species. The forest areas serves as the natural gene bank of important types and sub types pertaining to various species.

Kathkatia village located in Silonijan of Karbi Anglong district was selected for the ethnomedicinal survey [11].

2.6 Survey area: Goalpara

Goalpara is sited towards the southern bank of Brahmaputra River. The district is surrounded by the state of Meghalaya in the South, towards east lays Kamrup district, the western end is bounded by Dhubri district and, the northern part is covered by the mighty Brahmaputra. In 1983, Goalpara Civil sub-division was separated from original Goalpara district to form the present Goalpara district [1, 2].

Dhupdhara selected for the ethnomedicinal survey, is a village in Rongjuli circle in Goalpara district of Assam. It is located about 58 km east of district headquarter Goalpara and 13 km from Rangjuli [3, 4].

2.7 Survey area: Kokrajhar

Kokrajhar district is the entry point to the NER of India. It is boardered by Bhutan in the north, followed by the district of Dhubri in its south, whereas Bongaigaon and West Bengal is situated in the east and west directions.

On the 1st of July, 1983 the Kokrajhar Sub-division was upgraded into Kokrajhar district with headquarter at Kokrajhar town [3]. The district is situated in a humid sub-tropical climate, which is the characteristic of the lower Brahmaputra Valley of Assam. The district also has one of the largest concentrations of forest in the state. About 55% of the total geographical area of the district is under reserved forest. The Bhutan hills are the source of a number of rivers that flow through the district and act as tributaries of the mighty Brahmaputra that flows from east to west far from the southern boundary of Kokrajhar district [4].

Dotma village in Kokrajhar district of Assam was selected for the survey for ethnomedicinal documentation. It is located about 17 km towards North from District head quarters Kokrajhar, 188 km from State capital Dispur towards East. Dotma is bounded by Kokrajhar town towards East, Kachugaon towards west, Rupshi towards west, Chapor-Salkocha towards west. Kokrajhar, Bilasipara, Bongaigaon, Gauripur are the nearby towns to Dotma [12].


3. Documentation of medicinal plants in the surveyed areas

Plants surveyed in Dibrugarh region were documented on the basis of interview and questionnaire with the traditional healers with emphasis on the part of the plants and their applications in treating different diseases and disorders (Table 1).

DistrictPlant namePart usedUse/applications
Botanical nameLocal name
DibrugarhAsparagus racemosusSotmulRootKidney stone
Averrhoa carambolaKordoiLeaves, FruitJaundice
Bonnaya brachiataHoru KasidoriaLeavesWound healing
Cassia fistulaSonaruBarkFever, Deworming
Caesalpinia bonducellaLetagutiSeedWound healing
Cassia toraBilokhoniLeavesSkin infection, Snake bite, Joint pain
Centella asiaticaBarmanimuniWhole plantWound healing, Well being
Cleodendrum viscosumDhapat titaLeaves, RootMalaria, Diabetes, Jaundice, Skin infection
Costus speciosusJomlakhutiRhizomeJaundice
Coscorus olitoriusMeetha PatLeavesBody pain, dysentery, piles, fever
Cucumis sativusTiyanhLeaves, FruitBleeding nose, Diabetes
Dillenia indicaOw tengaFruitConstipation, Stomach trouble
Drymaria cordataLaijaboriAerial partFever, stomach ache
Eupatorium cannabinumTonglotiRootTooth ache
Euphorbia nerifoliaHijuLatexAsthma
Hiptage benghalensisMadhoi malotiRootAsthma
Houttuynia cordataMosonduriLeavesConstipation
Leucas apseraDurum bonAerial partsCough, Fever
Momordica dioicaBhat kerelaRootUrinary problems
Murrya koenigiiNarashinhaLeaves, Tender aerial partsStomachic
Naravelia zylenicaGorob choiAerial partsTooth ache, Skin infection
Paederia foetidaBhedai lotaAerial partsStomach problem, Constipation, Joint pain
Physalis peruvianaKopalphootaAerial partsJaundice
Polygonum chinenseModhuhulengAerial partsStomach trouble, Dysentery
Rosa centifoliaTezi gulapFlowerEye infection
Sapindus mukorossiMonisalFruitTonsillitis
Sarcochlamys pulcherrimaMesakiLeavesInfection, Diarrhea, Dysentery
Spondias pinnataOmoraFruitAcidity, Stomach trouble
Stereospermum chelonoidesParoliLeavesSkin infection
Stephania hernandifoliaTubuki lotaLeavesWound healing
Syzygium jambolanumKola jamukSeedDiabetes, Stomach trouble
Sida rhombifoliaHunbarialLeavesBody pain, Joint pain
Vitex negundoPochotiaLeavesFever, Cough

Table 1.

Some of the medicinal plants used in Dibrugarh district and their allied applications.

Plants in the surveyed areas of Golaghat district were subjected to documentation on the basis of interview and questionnaire with the traditional healers with emphasis on the part of the plants and their applications in treating different diseases and disorders. Some of the plants are listed in Table 2.

DistrictPlant namePart usedUse/applications
Botanical nameLocal name
GolaghatAchasma loroglossumKor PhoolRhizomeTooth ache
Aegle mermelosBelLeaves, FruitKidney problem, Dysentery
Adiantum capillusChuli dhekiaAerial partWounds, Infection, Tooth ache
Averrhoa carambolaKordoiFruitJaundice, Diarrhea, Dysentery
Ageratum conyzoidesGandhalibonLeavesCuts and wound
Alpinia allughosToraRhizomeStomach trouble, Joint pain
Alternanthera sessilisMati KanduriAerial partConstipation
Baccuarea sapidaLetekuFruitStomach problem
Borreria hispdaDolicha BonLeavesTooth ache, Gum swelling
Bryophyllum calycinumDupor tengaLeavesLeaves Kidney stone
Cissus repensBogi tengaLeavesMenstrual discomfort
Clenogyne dichotomaPatidoiStemSupport in fracture
Costus speciosusJomlakhutiRhizomeJaundice, Diabetes
Costus pictusLetekiAerial partsDiabetes
Cinnamomum bejalghotaPatihundaLeavesAsthma, Cough
Clitoria ternateaAparijitaRoot, FlowerFever, Snake bite, Infection of skin
Croton bonplandianumBonoria jaifalSeedLaxative
Cissampelos pareiraTubuki lotaLeavesDiabetes
Eclipta albaKehraj sesuLeavesBlood clotting
Heydichium coronariumPakhila phoolRhizomeJoint pain
Hydrocotyl sibthropioidesHoru manimuniWhole plantFever, Stomach problem
Leucas aspera DurunDurun BonLeavesSnake bite, Sinusitis
Litsea salicifoliaDighlotiLeavesInsect repellent
Phyllanthus niririiBon AmlokhiShootStomach trouble, Urinary problem
Polygonum chinenseMadhu hulengAerial partsDiarrhea
Sarochlamys pulcherrimaMesakiAerial partsTapeworm infection
Sida rhombifoliaHunbariolRootHelps in child birth for pregnant women
Smilax perfoliataTikoni baruaLeaves, RootWound healing
Styrex serulatumLota madhuriShootAnti infective
Triumfetta rhomboideaBon AgoraAerial partsInsect repellent
Xanthozylum nitidumTejmuriStemFractured bone

Table 2.

Some of the medicinal plants used in Golaghat district and their allied applications.

Plants in Tinsukia district, surveyed areas were documented on the basis of interview and questionnaire with the traditional healers with emphasis on the part of the plants and their applications in treating different diseases and disorders (Table 3).

DistrictPlant namePart usedUse/applications
Botanical nameLocal name
TinsukiaAbroma augustaGorokhia koraiRootUrinary disorders
Abrus precatoriusLatumoniRootUrinary disorders
Achyranthes asperaBionihakutaLeaves, RootWound, Sore throat, Cough and Cold
Acorus calamusBoshRhizomeAcidity
Amaranthus spinosusHatikhuturaRoot, Aerial partsDiarrhea, Increases milk output in lactating mother
Amaranthus tricolorBishalya karaniLeavesWound healing
Alternanthera sessilisMati kanduriAerial partsDysentry, Stomach trouble
Caesalpinia bonducLetagutiSeedFever, Body pain
Caryota urensSewaRootIncreases milk output in lactating mother
Cascabela thevetiaKarabiSeed, Bark, LatexAnti-infective, Diabetes, Fever
Celtis tetrandraHukutaTender Aerial partsRelieves pain after child birth
Centalla asiaticaBormanimuniWhole plantHealth tonic, Memory enhancer
Cinnamomum bejolghataPatihondaLeavesDiabetes
Ipomoea aquaticKolmouLeavesDiabetes
Cissus quadriangularisHarjura lotaStem, TendrilsWound, Fracture
Citrus grandisRobab tengaFruitJaundice, Deworming
Clerodendron colebrookianumNephafuLeavesHypertension
Costus pictusLetekiLeavesDiabetes, Blood purification
Costus speciosusJomlakhutiRhizome, LeavesJaundice, snake bite
Croton joufraGochmahudiLeavesMenstrual discomfort
Curanga amadaBhui titaLeavesFever, Malaria
Curcuma amadaAam adaRhizomeDiarrhea, Dysentery
Cuscuta reflexaAkashi lotaStemJaundice, Wound healing
Garcinia cowaKuji thekeraFruitDiarrhea, Dysentery
Garcinia lancifoliaRupahi thekeraFruitGastric discomfort, Diarrhea
Hibiscus sabdarifoliaTengamoraAerial partsDiarrhea, Dysentery
Houttuynia cordataMosondoriLeaves, Tender shootFlatulence, Diarrhea, Dysentery
Lasia spinosaSengmoraRhizome, Aerial partsMenstrual discomfort
Lindernia pursillaGakhiroti bonWhole plantIncreases milk output in lactating mother
Lygodium flexuosumKopou dhekiaLeavesFungal infection
Malastoma malabathricumPhutukiLeavesWound healing
Mussandra roxburghiiHuklotiAerial partsStomach problems
Vetivera zizanoidesBirinaRootRheumatic pain

Table 3.

Some of the medicinal plants used in Tinsukia district and their allied applications.

Plants in Dhemaji district selected areas were documented on the basis of interview and questionnaire with the traditional healers with emphasis on the part of the plants and applications in treating different diseases and disorders (Table 4).

DistrictPlant namePart usedUse/applications
Botanical nameLocal name
DhemajiAbroma augustaUi-sipakLeavesCuts and wound healing
Ageratum conyzoidesNamnyin/ GunduabonAerial partsAids blood clotting, Wound healing
Alternanthera sessilisPatang oyingAerial partsJaundice, Body ache
Bombax ceibaSinggiLeavesWound healing
Catharanthus roseusSada BaharLeavesDiabetes
Calotropis giganteanAkonLeaves, LatexWound healing, Body ache
Caesalpinia cucullatumTezmuriLeavesTooth ache, Fever
Chromolaena odorataJarmanibonLeaves, RootSnake bite, Anti infective
Cissus quadrangularisGomset soriAerial parts, TendrilsTendrils Joining of fractured bone
Costus scaberKeuriLeavesSnake bite, wounds
Costus speciocusPeki jigjigRhizomeJaundice, UTI
Cyclosorus extensusRukjiLeavesIncreases milk output in lactating mother
Desmodium laxiforumBhuter chiraAerial partsInfection, Menstrual discomfort
Eryngium foetidumBormang oriLeavesAppetizer, stomach problems
Ficus hispidaTakpiFruitJaundice
Garcinia lanceifoliaRupohi tehekeraFruitJaundice, Diarrhea
Houttuynia cordataMusondriLeavesOptimizes stomach function
Ipomoea aquaticMouLeavesJaundice, Diabetes
Mentha arvensisTakemareLeavesStomach trouble
Mimosa pudicaYuptapRootDeworming
Musa velutinaDoge kopakFlowerDiarrhea, Dysentry
Litseacitr ataMezangkoriBarkAsthma, Cough
Solanum nigrumLoshkosiLeavesJaundice
Tylophora asthamaticaJangli pikranLeaves, RootsPurify blood, Stops white vaginal discharge
Oxalis corniculataTengsiLeavesHypertension, Diabetes, Stomach upset
Zanthoxylum nitidumRikomAerial partsAnti infective

Table 4.

Some of the medicinal plants used in Dhemaji district and their allied applications.

Documentation of plants in Karbi Anglong district, surveyed areas was then done on the basis of interview and questionnaire with the traditional healers with emphasis on the part of the plants and their applications in treating different diseases and disorders (Table 5).

DistrictPlant namePart usedUse/applications
Botanical nameLocal name
Karbi AnglongAcmella paniculataBapchukiLeaves, FlowerStomach ache, Acidity
Abelmoschus moschatusArnam hanserongLeaves, FruitSnake bite
Abrus precatoriusChuselokLeavesFever, Asthma, Joint pain
Abutilon indicumMir-atLeaves, FlowerSnake bite, Insect bite
Acacia pennataThemra/KhemraLeaves, BarkSnake bite
Alpinia galangalPhrikan gnekLeaves, RhizomeStomach ache, Improves digestion
Alternanthera sessilisRaeabaAerial partsFever, Infection
Amorphophalus bulbiferHen salkuLeaves, FlowerPiles, Irregular bowel movement
Arisaema tortuosumChamuaLeaves, TuberPiles, Irregular bowel movement
Calamus rotangPriAerial partsSnake bite
Cassia toraBapduliLeaves, FlowerJoint pain, Improves bowel movement
Costus pictusTuiLeavesDiabetes, Jaundice
Costus speciosusAi-upoLeaves, RhizomeJaundice, Snake bite
Cycas pectinataOr-ohAerial partsAcidity, Heart burn
Lasia spinosaChusotAerial partsPiles, Irregular bowel movement
Laportea cremulataBap kangsamFruit, FlowerScorpion bite
Murraya koenigiiThengsaksoLeavesAcidity, Fever
Olax acuminateHanbokaLeavesWound healing
Oroxylum indicumNopak banLeaves, FlowerIntestinal worm, Stomach ache
Paederia foetidaRekang nemthuLeavesAcidity
Physalis peruvianaThebongkangLeaves, FruitStomach ache, Deworming
Phlogocanthus thyriflorusTitafulFlowerFever, Jaundice
Solanum torvumBhekuri titaLeaves, FruitAnti infective
Spondias pinnataSimingLeaves, FlowerAcidity, Diarrhea
Tagetes erectaMir kadomphuiLeaves, FlowerAnti infective, Wound healing, Improves digestion
Vitex negundoVorke abapLeaves, FlowerFever, Ache, Malaria

Table 5.

Some of the medicinal plants used in Karbi Anglong district and their allied applications.

Documentation of plants in the surveyed region of Goalpara district was initiated on the basis of interview and questionnaire with the traditional healers with emphasis on the part of the plants and their applications in treating different diseases and disorders (Table 6).

DistrictPlant namePart usedUse/applications
Botanical nameLocal name
GoalparaAbroma augustaDadhubedangLeavesStomach ache, Ringworm infestation
Acalypha indicaMuktaborchaLeavesAsthma, Bronchitis
Calamus rotangBatbelaiLeavesEye infection
Clerodendrum bracteatumVate gakhaLeavesMemory tonic
Calotropis gigantiaAakonLeaves, BarkSnake bite, Asthma
Deeringia amaranthoidesMatak tukaLeavesWound, Sore
Euphorbia hirtaDudh bonShoot, LatexInfection
Ficus hispidaDomuruLeavesJaundice
Murraya koenigiiNarasinghabelaiLeaves, Tender aerial partsFever, Stomach upset
Nelumbo nuciferaPodumRhizomeMenstrual discomfort
Ocimum sanctumDhulungshiLeavesCough, Fever
Paederia foetidaBhadalilewaLeavesDiarrhea, Dysentry
Polyalthia longifoliaDebdaruBarkMenstrual discomfort
Solanum integrifoliumTita BhekriFruitMalaria, Fever, Jaundice, Diabetes
Terminalia tomentosaAmraFruitDiabetes, Stomach upset
Vitex negundoPasatiaLeavesBody pain, Wound, Fever

Table 6.

Some of the medicinal plants used in Goalpara district and their allied applications.

Plants in surveyed areas of Kokrajhar district were documented on the basis of interview and questionnaire with the traditional healers with emphasis on the part of the plants and their applications in treating different diseases and disorders (Table 7).

DistrictPlant namePart usedUse/applications
Botanical nameLocal name
KokrajharBenincasa hispidaKumbraFruit, LeavesDiabetes, Acidity
Canarium bengalensisDhunaLeaves,Bark Joint pain
Chromolaena odorataBangrilewaLeavesStomache ache, dysentery
Chrystella parasiticaDaokhumwiYoung aerial partWound healing
Clerodendum infortunatumLwkwnaLeavesJaundice, Wound healing
Clitonia ternateaNilkanthaLeavesFever, antiseptic
Costus speciosusBuritokonRhizomes, LeavesJaundice, Snake bite
Corchorus capsularisPatwLeaves, RootFever, Diarrhea
Datura stramoniumDaturaLeaves, FruitsTooth ache, Heartburn, Asthma
Emblica officinalisAmlaFruitTonic, Stomachic
Laportea crenulataKomaLeaves, RootHeartburn, Fever, Cuts and Wound
Leucas plukenetiiKhangsinsaLeavesSinusitis, Pain
Nyctanthes arbortristisSephaliLeaves, FlowerAntihelmintic
Ocimum sanctumTulsiLeavesCough relief, Asthma
Paederia foetidaBhedalilewaLeavesDiarrhea, Constipation
Scoparia dulcisBongpang rakebWhole plantKidney stone, Diarrhea, Fever
Xanthium strumariumAgaraRoot, LeavesFever, Joint pain

Table 7.

Some of the medicinal plants used in Kokrajhar district and their allied applications.


4. Profiles of Costus species used predominantly in traditional medicine in the surveyed areas

The ethnomedicinal survey conducted in the different areas revealed the prominent use of the species belonging to the genus costus. The species were Costus speciosus, Costus scaber and Costus pictus. Therefore botanical and pharmacognostic profiling of the said species were done accordingly.

4.1 Costus speciosus (J. Konig) Smith

Costus speciosus (Figure 2) is an erect plant, up to 2.7 meters high; root stock is tuberous; stem is sub-woody at the base. Leaves have an average dimensions of (15–30) cm × (5.7–7.5) cm and are sub sessile, oblong, spirally arranged with silky-pubescent base [13, 14]. The flowers are present in very dense spikes having ovate bracts that are mucronate and bright red in color. The corolla have short tube with lobes which are ovate-oblong subequal. Flower lips are white with yellow center with crisped, concave, disk with a tuft of hair at the base. Fruits are capsule, globosely trigonus and are red in color. The seeds are black with white aril. Flowering time in Indian condition is August to October [13, 15].

Figure 2.

C. speciosus (J. Konig) Smith collected from Nagakhelia village, Dibrugarh.

It is a herb occurring in the moist and wet evergreen areas of the Indo-Malayan region and Sri Lanka along with Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Mexico etc. Within India it occurs from Central and Eastern Himalayas to Southern India [15, 16].

4.2 Costus scaber

Costus scaber (Figure 3) is an erect plant, up to 4 meters high; root stock is tuberous; stem is sub-woody at the base. Leaf shape is elliptical with entire margin and are spirally arranged around the stem. The primary bracts are borne on the inflorescence in spiral phyllotaxy. One flowered cincinni occur in the axils of these bracts. Each cincinnus consists of an axis bearing a terminal flower [17]. The floral organs are formed sequentially starting with calyx. Flowering time in Indian condition is October to December.

Figure 3.

Costus scaber collected from Dhemaji (insert: flower specimen).

It is mainly distributed in the neo tropical regions. Within India its geographical distribution is in the sub-Himalayan tract from Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh eastwards to Arunachal Pradesh; and in the Western ghats in Maharastra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

4.3 Costus pictus D. Don

Costus pictus (Figure 4) is a plant that goes upto 3 meters in height; it has tuberous root with a nearly woody base. The leaf arrangement is spiral with an elliptical shape. Leaf bears rigid and rubbery morphology. Spiral phyllotaxy is observed in the primary bracts. The external appearance of the flowers as depicted in Figure 4 is primarily are creamy colored along with pink stripes initiating from the base. The plant generally bears flower between the months of August and October.

Figure 4.

C. pictus D. Don collected from Naojan, Golaghat.

This plant is mainly distributed in the neo tropical regions [18, 19]. In India it found in the sub-Himalayan tract from Himachal Pradesh to Arunachal Pradesh; and in the Western ghats in Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


5. Conclusion

The state of Assam, popularly known as the land of the red river and blue hills is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. Assam falls in one of the great migration routes of mankind of different groups who over the centuries have come and settled down. Every community has its own traditional rituals, customs and herbal remedies which have been molded by the geographical location and the environmental factors where they reside. The abundant natural resources in encompassing location form the basis for the characteristic food habits and related medicinal practices of each community. By their experience, the knowledge of herbal remedies was transferred to generation after generation as folk medicine.

A study was conceived based on the aforesaid facts with intent to scientifically analyze different folkloric healing practices encompassing various medicinal plants. Subsequently an ethno medicinal survey was conducted across the state of Assam for compiling information with respect to traditional medicine. Thereafter, plants belonging to Costaceae family were selected for scientific validation studies owing to their predominant use among the traditional healers in the surveyed regions particularly in upper Assam for treating ailments like jaundice, diabetes etc.

Three plants belonging to the costus genus were identified viz. Costus scaber, Costus speciosus and Costus pictus for the study. Costus speciosus locally known as ‘Jomlakhuti’ in Dibrugarh, Golaghat and Tinsukia district; ‘Peki jigjig’ in Dhemaji; ‘Ai-upo’in Karbi Anglong district and ‘Buritokon’ in Kokrajhar district, the rhizomes, leaves are primarily used for treating liver aliments, diabetes, UTI, snake bite respectively. Costus scaber locally known as ‘Keuri’ in Dhemaji district, the leaves are used in the treatment of snake bite and wound healing. Costus pictus locally known as ‘Leteki’ in Golaghat and Tinsukia district and ‘Tui’ in Karbi Anglong district, the aerial parts and leaves are used traditionally in the treatment of diabetes, for blood purification and jaundice respectively.

Therefore, it can be safely concluded that species belonging to this genus are traditionally used in the mitigation of various ailments particularly diabetes. Furthermore, in vivo and in vitro studies are warrented against these species so as to elucidate viable phyto components as a future prespective.



The authors thankfully acknowledges the traditional healers of Dotma, Kokrajhar district; Dhupdhora, Goalpara district; Laipuli, Tinsukia district; Kathkatia village of Silonijan of Karbi Anglong district; Naojan and Baragharia village of Golaghat district; Nagakhelia village and Jokai area of Dibrugarh district; Sissiborgaon, Barmukuli and Majarbari village of Dhemaji district of Assam who helped by sharing their valuable information regarding the methodology of usage of different plant species used in the treatment of ailments. The authors also acknowledge Mrs. Monika Kuli of Barmukuli village of Dhemaji district, Mrs. Sarala Rabha of Dhupdhora of Goalpara district, Mrs. Minu Borah and Mr. Dhruba Borah of Baragharia village and Mrs. Purnima Borah of Jyotinagar, Golaghat district, Mrs. Savitri Sonowal of Jokai and Mr. Anil Bhuyan and Mr. Ripul Bhuyan of Nagakhelia village of Dibrugarh district, Mrs. Kareng Rongpi of Silonijan of Karbi Anglong district, Dr. Pranjit Narzaree, Ms. P. Narzaree of Kokrajhar district for their immense help regarding the collection of information in the conducted ethnomedicinal survey. The conducted study was not funded by any organization whether government, semi government or private funding bodies whatsoever.


Conflict of interest

“The authors declare no conflict of interest.”


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Written By

Biman Bhuyan, Dipak Chetia and Prakash Rajak

Submitted: 28 May 2021 Reviewed: 20 September 2021 Published: 09 October 2021