Inventorization and Documentation of Herbal Black Salt Preparation by the Apatanese (Abo-Tani) of Apatani Valley in Lower Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh (India) using ‘Gonde Unio’ Plant (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.---Asteraceae)
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During the course of field studies at different villages of Apatani valley in Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh in November, 2014, first hand new information (Indigenous Traditional Knowledge) of several ethnomedicinal plants were gathered based on oral interviews by the elderly persons, local medicine men, field guides and forest guards belonging to the Apatanese tribe. Total 12 ancient villages (viz., Hong, Bamin-Michi, Mudang Tage, Hija, Hari, Sibey, Tajang, Bulla, Dutta, Bree, Lemba and Pariyami) in and around Hapoli and Ziro (Lower Subansiri district Head Quarter, often called as ‘Apatani valley’) were visited for the purpose of documentation of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge. As these villages dominate friendly Apatani tribes since time immemorial, so Ziro Valley and Hapoli and its surrounding villages are called Apatani valley. These Apatani group of villages are located at altitudes ranging from 2000-2200 m MSL. The Apatani valley has an area of 1058 Km2 of which about 32 Km2 is under agriculture and rest under forests, plantation and settlements (www.unesco.org/tentativelist/5893) indicating their direct dependency to utilize plant resources since time immemorial. During field visit to Kardo hill, authors noticed a piece of black-coloured coal-like material along with an unknown plant (Apatanese called ‘Gonde Unio’) held by an elderly Apatanese woman at Sibe village. She was trying to hide it at first, but after repeated request, she revealed the story of the preparation of herbal black salt from the whole plant of ‘Gonde Unio’. Tapyo (a herbal brownish salt) is very common to the Apatanese, but this black salt including it’s method of preparation and composition is almost different to that of Tapyo. Therefore, this finding is really an interesting ITK, never known to the civilized world except this work and hence this finding is documented here. After a critical study, the ‘Gonde Unio’ plant is identified as Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. (Asteraceae
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