Ethnomedicinal Plants of Jakholi

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Ethnomedicinal plants used by local inhabitants of Jakholi block, Rudraprayag district, western Himalaya, India

Singh A, Nautiyal MC, Kunwar RM, Bussmann RW
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2017 Aug 24;13(1):49
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5571566

Uttarakhand State in Northwestern India
Uttarakhand State in Northwestern India [Source: Filpro, Wikimedia Commons]
Investigators at H.N.B. Garhwal University, Practical Solution Consultancy Nepal, and the Missouri Botanical Garden conducted the first ethnomedicinal study in the Jakholi area of Rudraprayag district in the Uttarakhand state of northwestern India, to identify traditional medicinal plants used by the inhabitants to treat different ailments and document the associated knowledge of those medicinal plants.

Writing in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, the authors describe the Jakholi Block as an especially valuable home of a wide range of medicinal plants and repository of traditional knowledge about their therapeutic uses:

“The study area is interesting due to wide geographic and climatic condition and medicinal plants diversity of Jakholi Block makes this region an especially valuable treasure home of a wide range of wild medicinal and aromatic plants. Ethnic people, shepherd and traditional medicinal practitioner (Vaidyas and Daai) inhabit within a range of 700–3800 m asl and have high knowledge of medicinal plants uses. Local wooden and stone tools are commonly used to prepare medicinal remedies. Most diseases cured by local herbalist are common problems such as respiratory diseases, aches and pains, wounds and musculoskeletal ailments. Inhabitants often use local medicinal plants without prior advice of local traditional healers because they are using these plants since generations. In these connections, the present study was carried out to provide an overview of the knowledge of medicinal plants of the local and traditional healers of Jakholi area and to evaluate the status of these useful medicinal flora for identification of new drugs for health needs and suitable source of income for livelihood of inhabitants. We hypothesize that plant use at Jakholi would show similar response to other Himalayan regions, and that the local medicinal flora would have been overharvested.”

Working with 25 key participants including traditional healers, shepherds, and other local inhabitants, the team identified 78 medicinal species used to treat 14 different ailments including diseases of the skin and hair, gastrointestinal disorders, ophthalmologic complaints, and mental afflictions, among others.

Two species, Aconitum heterophyllum and Picrorhiza kurroa, were identified as particularly important ethnomedicinally as they have been used for generations and contain rich bioactive constituents. They are are also among 29 of the documented medicinal plant species that are listed as locally threatened due to premature harvesting and over-exploitation. ​In their conclusion, the authors also note that while older people still possess large traditional knowledge of plants and their therapeutic uses, outmigration among the young threatens the future of this traditional ethnomedicinal knowledge.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

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