Plant Resources of Banda Daud Shah, District Karak, Pakistan

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Ethnobotanical assessment of plant resources of Banda Daud Shah, District Karak, Pakistan

Murad W, Azizullah A, Adnan M, Tariq A, Khan KU, Waheed S, Ahmad A
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2013 Nov 22;9(1):77
PubMed PMID: 24267174
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan [Source: TUBS, Wikimedia Commons]

Waheed Murad and coauthors from Kohat University of Science and Technology and Islamia College Peshawar surveyed about 100 elderly respondents regarding ethnomedicinal uses of plants in Banda Daud Shah, Karak, a district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

In their introduction, the authors note Pakistan’s uniquely rich and threatened ethnobotanical knowledge:

“Pakistan is bestowed with a unique biodiversity that is stretched along nine major ecological zones. A major part of country is quite rich in medicinal herbs due to its salubrious climate. Numerous ethnomedicinal plants extracted from the wild are being used by local communities of different geographical regions having century’s old traditional knowledge on such plants. A number of medicinal plants are well known about their properties and proper use at the community level, however many are yet to be explored for their medicinal values. In early 1950 more than 80% of Pakistani population was totally dependent on ethnomedicines for traditional health practices, but now it is experienced only in the rural areas, because the indigenous knowledge develops and changes with the passage of time, with change of natural resources and culture. Indigenous knowledge on ethnomedicines is under threat due to the current modernizing trends among the rural societies, which is reducing the locals’ wisdom on the precious flora. In Pakistan, about 6000 plant species have been reported so far, however ethnomedicinal knowledge on 600 plant species only have been documented. There is a dire need to preserve this valuable traditional knowledge.”

The team collected 58 plant species, including 40 species used for the preparation of various ethnomedicines, used against gastrointestinal disorders, dermatological disorders, inflammations, cardiovascular disorders, fever and dental problems.

Dalbergia sissoo
Dalbergia sissoo [Source: Khalid Mahmood, Wikimedia Commons]
Of multipurpose medicinal plants, several were identified as under pressure, due to exploitation for construction, firewood and fodder purposes: Dalbergia sisso ranked first (most threatened); Acacia modesta and Acacia nilotica ranked second; Morus nigra ranked third; Ziziphus nummularia ranked fourth, while Monotheca buxifolia and Capparis desidua ranked fifth.

The authors also note the threat of extinction of ethnobotanical knowledge among the indigenous people:

“It was noted that ethnomedicinal knowledge is becoming restricted only to the elders, Hakeem’s (traditional practitioners) and Pensaries (local herb sellers); while young people are totally ignorant of this wealth. Advancement in science and technology has changed the social values and therefore, younger generation are transforming at a much faster rate into the new tradition. Medicinal plants knowledge is going to be obsolete because of the interference of modern cultural changes. It is therefore very important to document the native flora along with their ethnomedicinal recipes before extinction of the indigenous knowledge.”

Read the complete article at PubMed.

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.