Medicinal Flora from Thal Desert, Punjab, Pakistan

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Inventory of medicinal flora from Thal Desert, Punjab, Pakistan

Shaheen H, Qureshi R, Akram A, Gulfraz M
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2014 Apr 3;11(3):282-90
PubMed Central PMC4202450

Investigators from Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University conducted an ethnobotanical survey in the Thal Desert, Punjab, Pakistan to document the traditional use of medicinal flora.

From the Introduction:

“In Pakistan, ethno-botany is now well established discipline and various researchers reported good work across the country. Although 88% of the total area of Pakistan is classified as arid and semi-arid, however, less attention is being paid to carry out research on desert habitats. Only a few papers have also been published. The Thal Desert is not yet fully known with reference to ethno-botanical research. So this study was carried out to explore this region for extraction of ethno-botanical information pertaining to medicinal plants.”

The team found that the people in the area are extremely knowledgeable about medicinal flora, reporting 120 species used in treating various human diseases, which are listed in a detailed inventory including botanical name, parts used, method of preparation and diseases treated.

Achyranthes aspera
Achyranthes aspera [source: “Achyranthes aspera at Kadavoor” by “Achyranthes aspera at Kadavoor” © 2010 Jeevan Jose, Kerala, India]
Medicinal flora species identified in the study include Achyranthes aspera, Aerva javanica, Agave sislana, Aloe vera, Alternanthera pungens, Amaranthus graecizans, Celosia argentea, Digera muricata, Gisekia pharnaceoides, Limeum indicum, Phoenix sylvestris, Rhazya stricta, Trianthema portulacastrum, and Zaleya pentandra, among others.

In their conclusion, the authors note that the inhabitants’ empirical knowledge of medicinal flora “would be useful in developing health care products and preserving traditional cultures as well as phyto-diversity.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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