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      Botanical ethnoveterinary therapies in three districts of the Lesser Himalayas of Pakistan


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          Ethnoveterinary knowledge is highly significant for persistence of traditional community-based approaches to veterinary care. This is of particular importance in the context of developing and emerging countries, where animal health (that of livestock, especially) is crucial to local economies and food security. The current survey documents the traditional veterinary uses of medicinal plants in the Lesser Himalayas-Pakistan.


          Data were collected through interviews, focus groups, participant observation, and by administering questionnaires. A total of 105 informants aged between 20–75 years old who were familiar with livestock health issues (i.e. farmers, shepherds, housewives and herbalists) participated in the study.


          A total of 89 botanical taxa, belonging to 46 families, were reported to have ethnoveterinary applications. The most quoted families were Poaceae (6 taxa), Fabaceae (6), Asteraceae (5), and Polygonaceae (5). Adhatoda vasica was the most cited species (43%), followed by Trachyspermum ammi (37%), and Zanthoxylum armatum var. armatum (36%). About 126 medications were recorded against more than 50 veterinary conditions grouped into seven categories. The highest cultural index values were recorded for Trachyspermum ammi, Curcuma longa, Melia azedarach, Zanthoxylum armatum var. armatum and Adhatoda vasica. The highest informant consensus factor was found for pathologies related to respiratory and reproductive disorders. Comparison with the local plant-based remedies used in human folk medicine revealed that many of remedies were used in similar ways in local human phytotherapy. Comparison with other field surveys conducted in surrounding areas demonstrated that approximately one-half of the recorded plants uses are novel to the ethnoveterinary literature of the Himalayas.


          The current survey shows a remarkable resilience of ethnoveterinary botanical knowledge in the study area. Most of the species reported for ethnoveterinary applications are wild and under threat. Thus, not only is it imperative to conserve traditional local knowledge of folk veterinary therapies for bio-cultural conservation motives, but also to assist with in-situ and ex-situ environmental conservation initiatives, which are urgently needed. Future studies that focus on the validation of efficacy of these ethnoveterinary remedies can help to substantiate emic concepts regarding the management of animal health care and for rural development programs.

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          Most cited references28

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          Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by people in Zegie Peninsula, Northwestern Ethiopia

          An ethnobotanical study was conducted from October 2005 to June 2006 to investigate the uses of medicinal plants by people in Zegie Peninsula, northwestern Ethiopia. Information was gathered from 200 people: 70 female and 130 males, using semistructured questionnaire. Of which, six were male local healers. The informants, except the healers, were selected randomly and no appointment was made prior to the visits. Informant consensus factor (ICF) for category of aliments and the fidelity level (FL) of the medicinal plants were determined. Sixty-seven medicinal plants used as a cure for 52 aliments were documented. They are distributed across 42 families and 64 genera. The most frequently utilized plant part was the underground part (root/rhizome/bulb) (42%). The largest number of remedies was used to treat gastrointestinal disorder and parasites infections (22.8%) followed by external injuries and parasites infections (22.1%). The administration routes are oral (51.4%), external (38.6%), nasal (7.9%), and ear (2.1%). The medicinal plants that were presumed to be effective in treating a certain category of disease, such as 'mich' and febrile diseases (0.80) had higher ICF values. This probably indicates a high incidence of these types of diseases in the region, possibly due to the poor socio-economic and sanitary conditions of this people. The medicinal plants that are widely used by the local people or used as a remedy for a specific aliment have higher FL values (Carissa spinarum, Clausena anisata, Acokanthera schimperi, Calpurnia aurea, Ficus thonningii, and Cyphostemma junceum) than those that are less popular or used to treat more than one type of aliments (Plumbago zeylanicum, Dorstenia barnimiana).
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            Medicinal plants in Mexico: healers' consensus and cultural importance.

            Medicinal plants are an important element of indigenous medical systems in Mexico. These resources are usually regarded as part of a culture's traditional knowledge. This study examines the use of medicinal plants in four indigenous groups of Mexican Indians, Maya, Nahua, Zapotec and - for comparative purposes - Mixe. With the first three the methodology was similar, making a direct comparison of the results possible. In these studies, the relative importance of a medicinal plant within a culture is documented using a quantitative method. For the analysis the uses were grouped into 9-10 categories of indigenous uses. This report compares these data and uses the concept of informant consensus originally developed by Trotter and Logan for analysis. This indicates how homogenous the ethnobotanical information is. Generally the factor is high for gastrointestinal illnesses and for culture bound syndromes. While the species used by the 3 indigenous groups vary, the data indicate that there exist well-defined criteria specific for each culture which lead to the selection of a plant as a medicine. A large number of species are used for gastrointestinal illnesses by two or more of the indigenous groups. At least in this case, the multiple transfer of species and their uses within Mexico seems to be an important reason for the widespread use of a species. Medicinal plants in other categories (e.g. skin diseases) are usually known only in one culture and seem to be part of its traditional knowledge.
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              Screening of some Indian medicinal plants for their antimicrobial properties.

              A total of 82 Indian medicinal plants traditionally used in medicines were subjected to preliminary antibacterial screening against several pathogenic and opportunistic microorganisms. Aqueous, hexane and alcoholic extracts of each plant were tested for their antibacterial activity using agar well diffusion method at sample concentration of 200 mg/ml. The results indicated that out of 82 plants, 56 exhibited antibacterial activity against one or more test pathogens. Interestingly, extracts of five plants showed strong and broad spectrum activity as compared to rest of 51 plant extracts which demonstrated moderate activity. On the whole the alcoholic extracts showed greater activity than their corresponding aqueous and hexane extracts. Among various extracts, only alcoholic extracts of Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia belerica, Plumbago zeylanica and Holarrhena antidysenterica were found to show potentially interesting activity against test bacteria. These active crude alcoholic extracts were also assayed for cellular toxicity to fresh sheep erythrocytes and found to have no cellular toxicity.

                Author and article information

                J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
                J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
                Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
                BioMed Central
                20 December 2013
                : 9
                : 84
                [1 ]Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad 22060, Pakistan
                [2 ]Department of Botany, Hazara University Mansehra, Mansehra 21300, Pakistan
                [3 ]Department of Plant Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad 45320, Pakistan
                [4 ]Department of Dermatology, Emory University School of Medicine, 1518 Clifton Rd NE, CNR Bldg. 5000, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
                [5 ]Center for the Study of Human Health, Emory College of Arts and Sciences, 550 Asbury Circle, Candler Library 107, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
                [6 ]University of Gastronomic Sciences, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele 9, Pollenzo I-12042 Bra/Pollenzo, Italy
                Copyright © 2013 Abbasi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 21 March 2013
                : 5 December 2013

                Health & Social care
                medicinal plants,lesser himalayas,ethnobotany,ethnoveterinary,pakistan
                Health & Social care
                medicinal plants, lesser himalayas, ethnobotany, ethnoveterinary, pakistan


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