An Ethno Botanical Study of Ralte Communities in the North Easte
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Journal of Natural Product and Plant Resources

Research Article - Journal of Natural Product and Plant Resources ( 2017) Volume 7, Issue 4

An Ethno Botanical Study of Ralte Communities in the North Eastern Part of Mizoram, North East India

Corresponding Author:
Zorinpuii Khiangte
Department of Environmental Science
Mizoram University, India


The present study deals with the first-hand information of ethno-medicinal plants which are used traditionally by the
Ralte tribes of Mizoram. The treatment includes various ailments such as hypertension, tuberculosis, rheumatism,
allergies, fractured bones, jaundice, dysentery, cuts and wounds. The Ralte people of the study area represent a
well-organized tribe with unique dialect and identities. The study has revealed 106 plant species of ethno-botanical
importance belonging to 96 genera and 57 families. The need for complete inventory and documentation of such
indigenous knowledge is very important before they are being lost forever from the community.


Ethno-medicine, Ralte, Traditional knowledge, Mizoram, Hilly tribe


Health is like a precious jewel that makes life a wonderful adventure. Treating human health with indigenous traditional knowledge dates back age’s ago [1]. It is estimated that 70-80% of the people worldwide rely on indigenous herbal remedies for their primary healthcare [2].

The Ralte are hilly tribe living in Mizoram, Manipur and Myanmar. The word Ralte consists of two parts, viz, Ral means enemy and te indicates plurality. The Ralte people of the study area represent a well-organized tribe with unique dialect and identities. About 200 years ago they are found living mostly near Champhai in the Eastern part of Mizoram. The Ralte’s zealously maintained their individual identities and resisted absorption into the folds of Lushai (Mizo) tribes. They divided themselves into mainly 4 main clans namely Siakeng, Kawlni, Khelte and Lelhchhun clan [3]. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people.

The Ralte people are said and considered to be the noisiest people among the Mizo clan because of their high pitched tone. Almost the entire population in the rural areas (>95%) of Mizoram relies on herbal medicines and nearly 98% raw materials are harvested from wild plant resources [4].


Study area

The study area lies within Kolasib district in the northern most part of Mizoram and bordered by Aizawl district in the south and east and Mamit district in the west and Assam state in the north. The geographical area of Kolasib district is 1382.51 km. This is 6.56% of the state total geographical area (Figure 1). It is situated in between 23°5′to 24°35′N Latitude and 92°3′to 93°E Longitude [5].

Figure 1: Location of Kolasib district in Mizoram

The present study was conducted in Ralte dominated villages viz, North Chaltlang, Parsenchhip, North Bukpui, Thingthelh, North Hlimen, fewer numbers at Saiphai villages shown in Figure 2. The District is covered by Humid Sub-tropical Hill Zone (N. Hlimen, Parsenchhip, Bukpui, Thingthelh, N. Chaltlang villages) and Humid mild tropical zone (Saiphai village) [6].

Figure 2: Kolasib district map showing study area

Field observation

An extensive field work was conducted in these tribal’s dominated areas during 2013-2014. Prior informed consent was first obtained from the traditional healers. Random interviews of the herbalists, elderly men and women were done for documentation. The herbal healers or the knowledgeable person took the interviewers to the areas where they collect the plants and describe its uses. Plant specimens were photographed, collected, pressed and identified with the help of regional floras and manuals available [7-10]. The unidentified specimens are taken to Botanical Survey of India (BSI), Shillong for matching and identification. They are deposited as voucher specimen in the Herbarium of Mizoram University, Aizawl or in life forms in the botanical garden of Mizoram University, Aizawl.


From the 35 (26 female and 9 males) informants interviewed the important medicinal plants used by the tribal are, covering 106 plant species belonging to 96 genera and 57 families along with their uses are listed along with the collection number (ZO) are listed in Table 1. Most of the plants used for treatment are collected from the wild (73 plants; 68.86%). Habit wise analysis of the plants indicates that trees are highly used (33 spp.), herbs (28), climbers (13), shrubs (12) with Small tree (12) while epiphytes, succulents, canes and bamboo are less represented.

Sl. No. Scientific name/Voucher No. Family Local name Habit Part(s) used Preparation and administration Distribution
1 Acer laevigatum Wall. (ZO 16622) Sapindaceae Thingkhim T Bark Decoction of bark applied as a massaging lotion in muscle strain. F, W
2 Adina cordifolia Roxb. (ZO 16602) Rubiaceae Lungkhup T Leaves Decoction of leaves taken in typhoid. 1 cup (50 ml twice per day after food) C, W
3 Ageratum conyzoides (L.) L. (ZO 16623) Asteraceae Vaihlenhlo H Roots Decoction of roots taken as a remedy for cancer (50 ml twice per day after food) A, W
4 Alocasia fornicata Schott (ZO 16620) Araceae Baibing/ Dawl H Fruit The fruits are dried and smoked for tuberculosis Cu, A
5 Aloe barbadensis var. chinensis Haw. (ZO 5202) Aloeaceae Aloe vera Su Aerial parts The aerial parts are cleansed and taken raw as convenient by the patient for stomach ulcer In, C
6 Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br. (ZO 16608) Apocynaceae Thuamriat T Bark, leaves Decoction of bark and leaves taken in 100 ml after food for hypertension C, W
7 Anogoeisus acuminata Roxb. (ZO 16609) Combretaceae Zairum T Leaves Decoction of leaves taken in 100 ml after food for hypertension C, W
8 Aporosa octandra (Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don) (ZO 5210) Phyllanthaceae Chhawntual T Bark Decoction of bark taken as a tea for stomach ulcer, it is also used as a tonic. F, W
9 Aquilaria malaccensis Lam. (ZO 5214) Thymelaeaceae Thingrai T Resin, Bark Dropsy, tonic, vomiting, heart palpitations R, W
10 Artemisia indica Willd. (ZO 5204) Asteraceae Sai H Leaves Decoction of leaves taken in 50 ml before food in stomach ulcer F, W
11 Averrhoa carambola L. (ZO 16674) Oxalidaceae Theiherawt St Fruits Raw fruits are taken as convenient by the patients in diabetes, regulating menstrual period in women Cu, C
12 Baccaurea ramniflora Lour. (ZO 5267) Euphorbiaceae Pangkai T Bark Decoction taken in 100 ml before food in stomach ulcer C, W & Cu
13 Begonia roxburgnii (Miq.) A.DC (ZO 16654) Begoniaceae Sekhupthur H Aerial parts The whole plant is crushed and the juice is taken for piles problems and applied externally on the affected area. F, W
14 Benicasia hisipida (Thumb.) Cogn.(ZO 16607) Cucurbitaceae Maipawl C Leaves Crushed juice of the leaves taken internally for jaundice, applied externally on snake bite, taken in 50 ml after food twice a day for cholera. Cu, A
15 Berberis nepalensis (DC.) Spreng. (ZO 16621) Berberidaceae Pualleng T Bark Decoction of the bark taken internally for stomach ache. R, W
16 Blumea lanceolaria Roxb. (ZO 16636) Asteraceae Buarze S Leaves 3-5 leaves are taken raw for stomach ulcer, juice of the crushed leaves applied externally for cuts and wounds. C, W
17 Calamus tenuis Roxb.(ZO 16645) Arecaceae Thilte Ca Shoots Juice of the pounded shoots taken for malaria. C, W
18 Callicarpa arborea Roxb. (ZO 16606) Verbenaceae Hnahkiah T Bark Decoction of bark taken in 100 ml for hypertension, stomach ulcer. A, W
19 Carcinia pedunculata Roxb. ex Buch.-Ham. (ZO 16613) Clusiaceae Vawmvapui T Fruit The fruits are taken raw as a laxative. C, W
20 Carica papaya L. (ZO 16689) Caricaceae Thingfanghma St Leaves Juice of the pounded leaves taken in stomach ulcer and allergies towards meat. Cu, A
21 Senna occidentalis (L.) Link (ZO 5274) Caesalpiniaceae Rengan St Leaves The leaves are boiled with rice and taken as a vegetable for increasing breast milk. F,W
22 Castanopsis tribuloides (Sm.) A.DC.(ZO 16603) Fagaceae Thingsia T Juice The juice oozing out from the stem is dropped into the mouth for mouth ulcer. F, W
23 Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don. (ZO 16658) Apocyanaceae Kumtluang H Aerial parts Decoction taken in 20 ml after food for hypertension and dysentery in children Or, F
24 Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. (ZO 16605) Apiaceae Lambak H Aerial parts Raw plants are directly taken and chewed to cure kidney problems and toothache. C, W
25 Chromolaena odorata (L.) R.M. King & H. Rob. (ZO 16615) Asteraceae Tlangsam H Leaves The crushed leaves are bandaged upon cuts and wounds. A, W
26 Citrus aurantifolia Christm.
(ZO 16624)
Rutaceae Nimbu S Juice The fruit juice is taken directly in 10-20 ml every morning for stomach ulcer. Cu, C
27 Citrus grandis L. (ZO 16644) Rutaceae Sertawk T Seeds 3-5 seeds are taken raw and chewed for hypertension F,W
28 Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck (Z0 16604) Rutaceae Serthlum T Leaves Decoction of leaves taken as diuretic, and used for bathing patients with fever. Cu, A
29 Clerodendrum bracteatum Wall. ex Walp. (ZO 16661) Verbenaceae Phuihnam chhia S Leaves Decoction of leaves or juice of the pounded leaves taken in small amount for dysentery. F, W
30 Clerodendrum colebrookianum Walp. (ZO 16633) Verbenaceae Phuihnam St Leaves Decoction of leaves taken for hypertension and for increasing breast milk. Cu, A
31 Cordia fragrantissima Kurz. (ZO 16635) Boraginaceae Muk T Leaves Juice of the crushed leaves applied in the affected area for Melasma. C, W
32 Costus speciosus (Koenig) J.E. Sm (ZO 16610) Zingiberaceae Sumbul S Aerial parts Juice of the aerial part used as a lotion for massaging sciatica, taken internally for kidney problems, dropped on the eye for eye infections. F, W
33 Cucumis sativus L. (ZO 16677) Cucurbitaceae Fanghma C Fruit The juice of the fruits is applied on insect bites. Cu, A
34 Curcuma longa L. (ZO 16643) Zingiberaceae Aieng H Root stock Decoction of root stock taken for stomach ulcer and jaundice, paste of the root stock applied for fractured bones, skin lightening. Cu, A
35 Curcumorpha longiflora
Wall. (ZO 16618)
Zingiberaceae Ailaidum H Root stock 1-2 slices of the root stock taken for stomachache. Vu, Cu & W
36 Dendrobium sp. (ZO 16664) Orchidaceae Nauban Epiphyte Flower The flower is chewed for toothache. Vu, W
37 Dendrocnida sinuate (Blume) Chew(ZO 16695) Urticaceae Thakpui T Roots Decoction of roots taken internally for jaundice, tender leaves is consumed as vegetable. A, W
38 Dillenia pentagyna Roxb. (ZO 16626) Dilleniaceae Kaihzawl T Bark Decoction of bark taken for stomach ulcer. F, W
39 Elaegnus caudate Schlecht.
ex Momiyama (ZO 16614)
Elaegnaceae Sarzuk St Leaves Decoction of leaves taken for retained placenta, diarrhoea, stomachache. C, W
40 Elsholtzia communis (Collett & Hem sley) Diels (ZO 16647) Lamiaceae Lengser H Flowers Flowers are chewed raw for diarrhea. Cu, C
41 Emblica officinalis Gaertn. (ZO 16612) Euphorbiaceae Sunhlu T Fruit Taken as vitamins, tonic A, Cu & W
42 Ensete superbum (Roxb.) Cheesman (Z0 16625) Musaceae Saisu Su Seeds 2-3 dry seeds are woven around the neck with a thread to cure epilepsy in children. Cu, F
43 Eryngium foetidum L. (ZO 16679) Apiaceae Bahkhawr H Aerial parts Consumed raw for increasing breast milk Cu, A
44 Erythrina stricta Roxb. (ZO 16687) Fabaceae Fartuahpui T Bark Paste applied directly on skin diseases in domestic animals, decoction taken for stomach ulcer. F, W
45 Erythrina alba Cogn. & Marchal (ZO 16617) Fabaceae Fartuah par var T Bark Decoction of bark taken for stomach ulcer. R, In
46 Euphorbia royleana Boiss. (ZO 16691) Euphorbiaceae Chawng S Latex, leaves The latex is taken directly for fever, decoction of leaves taken for jaundice. C, Cu
47 Ficus prostate Buch-Ham. (ZO 5211) Moraceae Theitit T Latex Applied directly on affected area of bee stings. F, W
48 Garcinia cowa Roxb. (ZO 16697) Clusiaceae Chengkek St Leaves Decoction of leaves taken for dysentery C, Cu & W
49 Hedychium coccineum J.E. Sm. (ZO 16641) Zingiberaceae Aichhia H Root stock Crushed plant part applied directly on the affected area of bee stings. C, W
50 Hedychium spicatum Koenig (Z0 16678) Zingiberaceae Kelhnamtur H Aerial parts Decoction taken for kidney and urinary problems. F, W
51 Helicia robusta (Roxb.) R. Br. ex Blume (ZO 16700) Proteaceae Pasaltakaza T Bark, roots Decoction taken in 100ml after food twice a day for stomach ulcer. Vu, W
52 Homalomena aromatic Schott. (ZO 5275) Araceae Anchiri H Root stock Paste applied on broken, fractured bones, cuts and wounds, nerve problems. Vu, W
53 Inula cappa DC. (ZO 16655) Asteraceae Buarthau H Aerial part Juice of the pounded plant taken internally for intestinal ulcer. C, W
54 Jasminum nervosum Lour. (ZO 16673) Oleaceae Maufimhlo H Aerial parts Decoction of the plant taken in 50 ml for ovarian disorder, kidney problems C, W
55 Jatropa curcas Linn. (ZO 16639) Euphorbiaceae Kangdamdawi S Leaves Paste applied on scabies and burns. C, W
56 Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers. (ZO 16619) Lythraceae Thlado, Chawnpui T Bark Decoction taken in large quantities for diarrhea, stomachache, vomiting, diabetes F, W
57 Lepionurus sylvestris Blume (Z0 16627) Olacaceae Anpangthuam St Leaves Decoction of the leaves taken for hrilawn (Mizo) a certain sickness in new born babies and halitosis. C, W
58 Lindernia ruelloides Pennell. (ZO 16656) Scrophulariaceae Thasuih H Whole plant Juice applied on cuts and wounds, used as a lotion for massaging muscular spasm. F, W
59 Lobelia angulata Forst. (ZO 16630) Campanulaceae Choakthi C Leaves Juice of the crushed leaves taken internally for dysentery, diarrhea, stomach ulcer, night blindness. C, W
60 Lobelia nicotianaefolia Heynne. (ZO 16616) Lobeliaceae Berawchal H Juice Juice of the fruits rubbed on boils and warts. R, W
61 Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Muell. Arg (ZO 16696) Euphorbiaceae Thingkhei T Bark, root Decoction taken internally for diarrhea and stomachache. R, W
62 Mallotus roxburghianus Muell.-Arg. (Z0 16651) Euphorbiaceae Zawngtenawhlung St Leaves Decoction of leaves taken in 100 ml thrice per day for hypertension. A, W
63 Mangifera indica L. (ZO 16628) Anacardiaceae Theihai T Bark Decoction of bark taken in 100 ml twice per day for diarrhea. F, W
64 Marsdenia maculate Hook.f. (ZO 16676) Asclepediaceae Ankhapui St/C Leaves Crushed leaves are applied externally for herpes zoster. C, W
65 Melocalamus compactiflorus (Kurz.) Benth. & Hook.f. (ZO 16611) Poaceae Sairil Ca Juice Juice of the cane applied externally for inducing hair growth. C, W
66 Melocanna baccifera (Roxb.) Kurz. (ZO 16660) Poaceae Mau Ba Juice of the cut stem Juice applied on cuts and wounds. A, W
67 Mentha arvensis L. (ZO 5284) Lamiaceae Pudina H Aerial parts The aerial parts consumed raw for stomach ulcer. Cu, C
68 Mikania micrantha Kunth. (ZO 5216) Asteraceae Japanhlo C Leaves Juice of the crushed leaves taken internally for diarrhoea, applied on cuts and wounds, consumed for dysentery. A, W
69 Millettia pachycarpa Sm. (ZO 5218) Fabaceae Rulei   Roots Paste applied for acute cellulitis C, W
70 Mimosa pudica L. (ZO 5231) Fabaceae Hlonuar H Leaves Decoction of leaves used for massaging sciatica. A, W
71 Momordica charantia L. (ZO 5271) Cucurbitaceae Changkhate C Aerial parts Juice taken directly for hypertension. Cu, C
72 Musa sp. (ZO 16672) Musaceae Changel Su Tender shoots, juice Tender shoots are taken internally for jaundice and stomachache, juice of the stem applied on snake bite A, W
73 Myrica esculenata Ham. (ZO 16653) Myricaceae Keifang T Bark, flowers Decoction taken for fever, cough, sore throat, urinary disorders, flowers used in dysentery and diarrhea. Flowers smoked for asthma. C, W
74 Nicotiana tabacum L. (ZO 16629) Solanaceae Vaihlo S Leaves Leaves chewed for tongue ulcer. Cu, A
75 Occimum tenuiflorum Linn. (ZO 5298) Apiaceae Tulsi H Leaves Decoction of leaves taken for typhoid. C, Cu
76 Oroxylum indicum (L.) Kurz (ZO 16675) Bignoniaceae Archangkawm T Aerial parts Decoction taken for hepatitis, adenitis. C, W
77 Oryza sativa L. (ZO 16638) Poaceae Buh H Roots Decoction taken for UTI, Fever Cu, A
78 Osbeckia sikkimensis Craib. (ZO 16699) Melastomataceae Builukhampa/Khampa S Roots Decoction of roots consumed in 100 ml thrice a day for renal failure, UTI, stomachache F, W
79 Paedaria foetida L. (ZO 16671) Rubiaceae Vawihuihhrui C Stem Chewed for toothache. C, W
80 Parkiana roxburghii Roxb. (ZO 5213) Leguminaceae Zawngtah T Bark The bark is chewed for food allergies, i.e., pork, paste applied on cuts and wounds. Cu, A
81 Phyllanthus fraternus Webster. (ZO 16682) Euphorbiaceae Mitthisunhlu H Aerial parts Decoction taken for hepatitis, diabetes. F, W
82 Piper betle L. (Z0 16632) Piperaceae Panhnah C Leaves Smoke of the leaves inhaled for asthma. Cu, A
83 Prunus domestica L. (ZO 16646) Rosaceae Japan theite St Leaves, fruit Paste of the leaves applied externally for scabies, fruits used for treating asthma. C, W
84 Prunus persica (L.) Stokes (ZO 5241) Rosaceae Theite hmul St Leaves Dried leaves smoked for asthma Cu, A
85 Prunus venosa Buch.-Ham ex D.Don (ZO I6640) Rosaceae Theiarlung T Leaves Decoction of leaves taken for aegina. C, W
86 Pseudodrynaria coronans Ching. (ZO 16684) Polypodiaceae Awmvel Epiphyte Root stock Juice of the crushed root stock applied externally on the affected area of herpes zoster Vu, W
87 Psidium guajava L. (ZO 16642) Myrtaceae Kawlthei T Tender leaves Tender leaves as convenient by the patient are chewed for diarrhea Cu, A
88 Saccharum officinarum L. (ZO 16694) Poaceae Fu S Juice Juice of the stem consumed for Jaundice and facial discoloration in women. Cu, A
89 Saraca asoca Roxb. (ZO 5203) Caesalpiniaceae Mualhawih T Bark Decoction of bark taken as a tonic and as diuretic. VU, W
90 Schima wallichii (DC.) Korthals. (ZO 16631) Theaceae Khiang T Bark, seeds Decoction of bark taken for diarrhea, seeds applied externally for insect bites. A, W
91 Scoparia dulcis L. (ZO 16652) Scophulariaceae Perhpawngchaw H Aerial parts Decoction of the plant taken for kidney problems like kidney stones. C, W
92 Securinega virosa Roxb. (ZO 16692) Euphorbiaceae Saisiak S Leaves Decoction used for bating patients with measles and scabies. F, W
93 Smilax glabra Roxb. ZO 16650 Liliaceae Tluangngil C Bark Decoction of bark used for massaging vsciatica, osteoarthritis, drunk for ovarian disorders and also used as a tonic R, W
94 Solanum melongeana L. (ZO I6681) Solanaceae Bawkbawn H Fruit The fruits are rubbed on the affected area of eczema. Cu, A
95 Solanum nigrum L. (ZO 16693) Solanaceae Anhling H Aerial parts Decoction of the aerial parts consumed for kidney problems. Cu, A
96 Solanum sp. (ZO 16634) Solanaceae Bawngek hling S Fruits Dried fruits are smoked for toothache C, W
97 Spilanthes clava D.C. (Z0 16637) Asteraceae Ankasate H Aerial parts Raw plants chewed as anthelminthic, decoction of plants is also drunk as anthelminthic. Cu, A
98 Tamarindus indica L. (ZO 5255) Papilionaceae Tengtere T Seeds Seeds attached on the affected area of insect bites and snake bites. C, Cu
99 Thunbergia grandiflora Roxb. (ZO 16601) Acanthaceae Vako C Leaves Juice of the crushed leaves dropped directly on eye infections. R, W
100 Tinospora cordifolia (DC.) Miers. ex. Hook. (ZO 16649) Menispermaceae Theisawntlung S Stem, root Decoction of the stem taken for stomachache, used as diuretic, drunk for diabetes and paste of the roots applied on skin diseases. R, W
101 Tinospora sinensis (Lour.) Merrs. (ZO 16657) Menispermaceae Vankai hrui C Stem, leaves Decoction of stem and leaves drunk for malaria. C, W
102 Trichosanthes anguina L. (ZO 5212) Cucrbitaceae Berul C Latex Latex consumed for diarrhea. Cu, A
103 Uncaria sessilifructus Roxb. (ZO 5227) Rubiaceae Ralsamkuai C Leaves Tender leaves chewed for tonsillitis. F, W
104 Vitex peduncularis Wall. ex. Schauer. (ZO 16667) Verbenaceae Thingkhawilu T Leaves Decoction of leaves taken internally for typhoid. F, W
105 Zanonia indica L.(ZO 16698) Cucurbitaceae Lalruanga dawibur C Fruit Water is poured in to the cavity of the fruits and drunk for stomachache. R, W
106 Zingiber officinale Rosc. (ZO 5201) Zingiberaceae Sawhthing H Root stock Consumed directly for inducing lactation, roasted root stock taken for sore throat, cough, asthma and food poisoning. Cu, A

Table 1: Plants used by the Ralte tribes for treating different diseases

Of the 57 families reported Euphorbiaceae and Asteraceae have been found to be the most dominant with 8 species in used, followed by Zingiberaceae and Cucurbitaceae with four and five species respectively. Some of the common ailments those are cured by using herbs are fever, cough, dysentery, toothache, cuts and wounds etc. Usually one plant was used for treatment of a single ailment, like Adina cordifolia for typhoid. Used of the same species for more than one ailments were also common, like use of Callicarpa arborea for both hypertension and stomach ulcer. Depending on the type and severity of the disease they usually prefer external or internal applications, usually by decoction of the plant part, infusion, ash of the plant, paste which are directly taken alone or with sugar and honey. Leaves are highly utilized by the local people (29%), followed by bark (16%), aerial part of the plant (13%), fruits (8%), roots and juice (7%) whereas the rest like flowers, stem, latex or lac, seeds are less represented.

Discussion and Conclusion

The Ralte traditional herbal healers and knowledgeable persons are co-operative, their hospitality and their response were noteworthy. They are among one of the trusted members of the community. In each village it is found that women have better knowledge about plants and their medicinal uses than men. Due to the road conditions and the distance of the villages from the hospital, the people mainly depend on plants and its resources for their first aid as medical facilities were not easily available. Shifting cultivation, smuggling of medicinal plants and overexploitation are also the major threats to the medicinal plants. However there is a concern that these knowledge are disappearing from the community. Therefore, the need for documentation of such indigenous knowledge is very important before they are being lost forever from the community.


The authors are extremely grateful to the Ralte community people for their co-operation, guidance and their hospitality during the course of the study. The financial support given to Miss Zorinpuii Khiangte through UGC Maulana Azad National Fellowship for Minority Students is also deeply acknowledged.