Traditional medicinal knowledge about Poophilus costalis Walk. (Hemiptera : Cercopidae) feeding on Asgandh (Withania somnifera) in Chhattisgarh, India. Updated Version.
Entomophagy and Entomotherapy are well known in Asia since generations. Unfortunately not much work has been done to document valuable Traditional Medicinal Knowledge about Insects. Pankaj Oudhia is documenting this knowledge since year 1990. The present note is updated version of his previously published online research document available through pankajoudhia.com.
Keywords: Entomophagy; Entomotherapy; Medicinal Insects; Ayurveda; Chhattisgarh;
Poophilus costalis is a polyphagus insect. In Chhattisgarh, it commonly attacks on Rice and Sorghum. According to the traditional healers of Southern Chhattisgarh, this insect also attacks on Asgandh (Withania somnifera) in wild. In cultivated fields of Asgandh, in Chhattisgarh Plains I have yet not seen its infestation. The traditional healers of Southern Chhattisgarh use the Poophilus costalis feeding on Asgandh as medicinal insect. Through the Ethno-entomological surveys conducted in different parts of Chhattisgarh, particularly in Southern Chhattisgarh, I have collected some important information on traditional medicinal uses of this insect. According to the traditional healers, they are aware of its promising aphrodisiac properties since generations. As aphrodisiac, it is used both internally as well as externally. The full fed bugs are used both in fresh and dry form. Internally, it is used in dry form. The freshly collected bugs are dried in shade and converted into powder. The powder is added in popular herbal combinations used as aphrodisiac, as main ingredient. The healers informed that most of the formulations are incomplete without this insect powder. You will be surprised to know that Asgandh herb is not added in these formulations. Few healers are in favour of its use alone but most of the healers use it in combination with medicinal herbs. They explained that the Tasir (Nature) of this powder is hot and if used alone, in majority of the cases it can cause harms. The presence of medicinal herbs in the formulations helps in nullifying the harmful effects. They further informed that this insect powder nullifies the harmful effects of many herbs also. Externally, the freshly collected full fed bugs are used in form of special oil. The bugs are dipped in Sarson (Mustard seed) oil upto forty days. During this period, the solution is kept under sunlight. After forty days, the solution is filtered and special oil is collected. This special oil is used to massage the genitals. Instead of its use in amusement the traditional healers recommend this special oil as medicine, to the patients having poor sexual desire. According to the healers, both internal as well as external uses at a time cure the trouble effectively in very less time. In general, the traditional healers do not disclose this formulation to any one even to their blood relatives. The long queue of the patients clearly indicated the efficacy of this insect powder based medicine.
[New comments added on April, 2014: In over 1300 Traditional Formulations used for the patients recovering from blood cancer Poophilus is added as important ingredient. I have collected valuable knowledge about this medicinal insect during recent surveys. Poophilus feeding on Withania is considered as Gift of God by the Healers. In areas where it is difficult to find the Healers wait for the Herb vendors and Healers of other regions. It is used as secret ingredient in most the Formulations. In Strychnos based Formulations used for treatment of Gloriosa toxicity Poophilus is added as tertiary ingredient. In Entada based Formulations for managing intense thirst Poophilus is added as nonary ingredient. The Traditional Healers of Odisha and Jharkhand and even of Andhra Pradesh are also aware of its presence in Entada based Formulations. In Ficus based Formulations used for diseases of digestive system Poophilus is added as quinary ingredient. These Formulations are popular among the Healers of young generation. In Cuscuta based Formulations used for treatment of gynecological diseases it is added as senary ingredient, Many times it is added as secondary and quaternary ingredients. The Healers of North Chhattisgarh use this insect in Traditional Formulations used for blood related diseases. For complete Formulations and dosage please visit pankajoudhia.com]
These traditional medicinal uses have not been reported in reference literatures. Also, Poophilus costalis feeding on other hosts has yet not been reported as medicinal insect. As this insect is common in many parts of the world, I am expecting that the information on traditional medicinal uses of Poophilus will be of great use for the researchers around the world.
Thank you very much for reading the article.
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