The wide-trunked baobab, an endangered medicinal plant with much significance in Ayurveda, is found in small numbers in Nellore city and Tada area in the district.
Highly valued for its rich nutritive and medicinal properties, the long-living trees require attention of the civic society and the administration as their protection is important for future generations, say researchers.
S.K.M Basha, associate professor at the NBKR Medicinal Plant Research Centre, Vidyanagar, says that the Baobab trees are under threat and they should be protected for their immense potential in the protection and promotion of rural health and prosperity. From bark to fruit, all parts of the tree can be used for curing various common ailments, he says.
Referring to the tree located on the premises of the DKW College in the city, Mr. Basha says that these trees have wide trunks for storing a large quantity of water which could be used in times of drought and adverse weather conditions. The tree has a long life which runs up to hundreds and thousands of years.
Mr. Basha says the parts of baobab trees are widely used for curing ailments in the rural parts of Gujarat, but it has not picked up much in other parts of the country. The bark decoction is used for curing fevers. Only a few baobab trees are found in Nellore district which underlines the need for taking immediate protection measures.
The tree is seen in parts of plain lands of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The leaves, fibre, fruits, seeds, bark, gum and roots of baobab are used for medicinal purposes. Dry and fresh leaves are crushed and used for removing body odour when suffering from fevers.
Mr. Basha, who is doing a UGC-funded research project on “Assessment of phyto diversity and conservation of Pulicat Lake,” says that the international agencies such as the Food and Agricultural Organisation have accorded priority to research and development of Baobab.Staff Reporter