The indigenous communities like Banjara, Bhil, Andh, Pardhi, Thakar etc. resides in mountain areas of Gautala Sanctuary, are still dependent upon wild plants for their primary healthcare, and treatment of diseases. They collect the useful plant from the forests and cultivated fields and utilizes these plant materials as raw drugs. These communities have acquired good knowledge on the useful and harmful properties of the beneficial plant resources in course of their constant association with forest and agro ecosystems.
Gauatala forest located in taluka Kannad Dist. AurangabadMS-India) is well known and considered as an important “hot spot” of plants and also of animal diversity. It covers a total area of 26,061.19 hectares (64,399 acres) with Reserved Forest Areas of 19706 ha. Forest dependent communities particularly Banjara, Bhil, Andh, Pardhi, Thakar etc. lives in this areas. Very little work on the Ethnobotany of this region is carried out except for sporadic mention in floristic studies by Naik and his students (1998). But no one has given partial wattage for the study of Ethnobotany and Pharmacognosy of Gautala Sanctuary. Due to this reason present problem is taken for investigation.
The generated knowledge is expected to useful for planning of conservation of rare and endangered species in this area. Pharmacognostical investigation is useful for Ayurveda, Unani, Siddaha and all traditional medicinal practices.
Information gathered from local informants among indigenous people like traditional medicinal practitioners such as Shaman , Bhagats Vaidus and Punjaros, and experienced village elders, Knowledgeable women, Farmers etc. and by direct observations on the way of different plant material were being collected and used plants were identified. Some of the plants like Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Achyranthes aspera (L.), Amaranthus spinosus (L), Bacopa monnieri (L.), Ficus religiosa (L.), Nyctanthes arbertistis (L.), Operculina turpethum (L.), Ventilago denticulata (Roxb) etc. are utilize by these indigenous people for various purpose.
Present investigation is humble attempt for documentation & conservation of these plants for preservation of the traditional knowledge of the plant resources which is endemic to this area.
Key Words:- Bhil, Andh, Thakar, Banjara, Pardhi, Shaman, Bhagats, Vaidus and Punjaros.