Ethnobotanical Study of Medicinal Plants of Hezar Mountain Allocated in South East of Iran

Document Type: Research article

Authors

1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Basic Science, Kerman Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kerman, Iran.

2 Young Researchers and Elites Club, Kerman Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kerman, Iran.

Abstract

This manuscript is the result of ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology survey on the Hezar Mountain in SE of Iran. Traditional botanical medicine is the primary mode of healthcare for most of the population of this region. The plants were collected in and around Hezar mountain from 2008-2010. The authors have conducted an interview of total 75 informants; The traditional uses of 92 species belonging to 35 vascular plant families and 78 genera have been recorded. The largest number of medicinal species came from Lamiaceae (15.2%). The most common preparations were decoction and infusion. These species are utilized to treat several ailments which the most common of them are digestive disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, (25.4%), renal and genital disorders (13%), respiratory tract system disorders (11.8%), and heart-blood circulatory system disorders (10.2%) respectively.

Keywords


 

Introduction

   There are about 35,000 to 70,000 plant species that have been used for medicinal purposes worldwide (1) from which, the application of 6,500 species is related to the Asia (2). Iran has a long medicinal tradition and traditional learning of plant remedies. One of the earliest ethnobotanical works that we could name here is a work by Hopper and Field (1973) on useful plants and drugs of Iran and Iraq (3). Shokir and Safaian (1993) also presented a list of 210 medicinal plants used in Mazandaran province (4). An ethnobotanical work in Turkmen Sahra area in north of Iran has been done by Ghorbani (2005) (5). In their study, 136 species from 51 families were documented. Miraldi et al. reported a total of 30 medicinal plants from the west Azerbaijan villages (6). Naghibi et al., represented 46 genera and 410 species and subspecies from Labiatae family in Iran that many members of this family were used in traditional and folk medicine (7, 8).

   The nearest main mountains to Hezar are Lalezar with the highest peak of 4351 m in the West and Jupar with the highest peak of 4135 m in the North. No ethnobotanical study has been reported from these mountains. Hezar is a high mountain and there are many villages around it, far from the cities, so that their people have a little access to medical facilities. This fact encourages local people to use herbal plants for the treatment of some daily diseases. Due to the fallowing reasons, this mountain has been chosen as an ethnomedicinal case study in the present survey: (a) Hezar mountain has a rich plant diversity, (b) Owing to the height of this mountain (4465 m), Hezar has not been adequately explored, (c) The rich traditional knowledge of the native habitants regarding different plant species, handed down from their predecessors.

 

   The aim of this paper is to focus on the kinds of medical diversity found in the study area, depending on the frequency of the plants medical applications, and to show the most common preparations mode of botanical drugs used in Hezar ethnomedicine.

  The area under the study, Hezar ( 29°30/ N, 57°20/ E ) with an area of 900 Km2 and height of 4465 m, is the 4th highest mountain allocated in the south east of Iran (Figure 1).

 

 

 

Figure 1. Study area map in SE of Iran.

 

 

Climate and vegetation overview

   The climatic information was obtained from the nearest meteorological station-Rayen, the station located at 15 Km NE of study area at 2235 m altitude. The climate of this area is arid and cold. The lowest and highest absolute temperatures are -1°C and 40°C. In most parts of Hezar, the precipitation is increased by altitude. The main period of precipitation is during the late of autumn, winter and early spring. The data of Rayen station at the NW of Hezar, shows that the winter, spring, autumn and summer rainfall comprises 56%, 22%, 32% and 1% of the annual precipitation, respectively. The average number of frost days is 73 with a maximum during the January. Ecological climate diagram shows that the period of aridity of this area starts from late April to the end of November. The period of humidity is pronounced to November during up to early April (Figure 2).

 

 

Figure 2. Ecological climate diagram of Rayen meteorological station, indicating monthly average of temperature and precipitation and relative humidity (hatched) and relative arid (stippled) seasons.

 

 

The results of this study show the existence of five different habitats in the studied area as follows:

  1. Plain regions: They include all mountain slopes and the flat plains between the mountains reaching areas mildly steeped. Being a region fit for agricultural activity, various species belonging to Poaceae and Apiaceae distributed in this region: Conium maculatum, Levisticum officinale, Dorema aucheri, Dorema ammoniacum, Artemisia aucheri, Cirsium arvense, Cousinia onopordioides, Echinops lalesarensis, Hertia intermedia, Scorzonera mucida, Scorzonera pussila, Tanacetum parthenium, Berberis integerrima and Lonicera nummulariifolia.
  2. II. Rocky areas: These habitats are usually situated on the slopes strew with rocks and boulders.

    These areas are covered by species such as Corydalis rupestris, Graellsia saxifragifolia, Psychrogeton spp., Arnebia euchroma, Rosularia modesta, Melica persica and Parietaria judaica.

  1. Screes are the major habitats of the alpine zone in Hezar Mountain. Cicer tragacanthoides, Asperula glomerata, Astragalus tenuiscapus, Silene daenensis and Nepeta natanzensis are the important species of Hezar scree habitats. The species richness of these habitats is very low.

   IV. Humid mountainous regions: In this habitat, various grass species and some other families such as the followings are found: Artemisia tournefortiana, Primula capitellata, Carex songorica, Glaux maritima, Orchis coriophora, Juncus inflexus, Taraxacum spp. and Veronica anagallis-aquatica.

   V. Degraded areas: These habitats include manipulated rural areas used for farming and gardening as well as diggings alongside the roads and pathways. They are local to various grasses and weedy species such as: Malcolmia africana, Malva neglecta, Cynodon dactylon, Geranium tuberosum, and Cardaria draba.

 

 Experimental

Data collection

   The different slopes of Hezar were investigated and the specimens were collected by authors during 2008-2010 between March and October in each year. Then, ethnobotanical information have been gathered from the main villages in and around of Hezar Mountain. These villages have been selected based on their population including Babini (2600 m), Ziarat-gah (3000 m), Babzangi (3300 m), Ordikan (3200 m), Rask (3000 m), Deh-morteza (2950 m) and Sahib-Abad (2500 m) (Figure 1). The specimens were prepared according to the established herbarium techniques. The plant samples were recognized according to Flora Iranica (9), Flora of Iran (10), Flora of Iraq (11), and Flora of Turkey (12) and kept in the Avicenna Herbarium of Islamic Azad University, Science and Research branch, Tehran, Iran (IAUH).

 

Interviews with local people

   The data were collected through direct interviews. A questionnaire was administered to the local people (Appendix 1). After collecting the specimens, we showed these fresh specimens to the local people in their houses and farms. We employed random sampling techniques to identify potential participants and interviewed a total of 75 people (30 men and 45 women) whose age ranged from 40 to 75 years. The women were said to have better knowledge about the medicinal application of plants than men. Most of the interviewees mainly belonged to families which still have a strong connection with traditional agricultural and pastoral activities. There were herbalists, healers and plant traders among the interviewees as well. The same plant specimens were shown to different people to confirm the accuracy of the results. The interviews consisted of obtaining the information related to the identification of plants, their vernacular names, their medical uses and the preparation of remedies.

 

Results

Medicinal plants

   A total of 92 species belonging to 35 vascular plant families and 78 genera were reported. From these species, 79 species reported to be used for medicinal applications, 70 species of which were used to treat more than one disease and the remaining 9 species were used to treat only one disease.

   The largest number of medicinal species came from Lamiaceae (15.2%), followed by Asteraceae (12%), Fabaceae (8.7%), Apiaceae (8.7%), Rosaceae (5.4%) and Brassicaceae (5.4%). Recorded plant species with their vernacular names, uses and mode of preparation are listed in Table 1.

  

Table 1. List of medicinal plant species and medical health data.

Herbarium No.(IAUH)

Preparation

Uses

No. of citation

Chorology

Part used

Local name

Scientific name

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apiaceae

496

Decoction, Poultice

Fever, dermal wound, Joint pain and inflammations

5

IT

L, Se

 

Buplereum falcatum L.

 

 

poisonous

25

IT-M

 

kama

Conium maculatum L.

499

Decoction

Gasteralgia

18

IT-SS

L

Gicho

Ducrosia anethifolia (DC.) Boiss

 

Oral

Asthma, Expectorant, Bronchitis, Stomachache

55

IT

La

Anghuzeh

Dorema ammoniacum D. Don.

497

Oral

Asthma, Expectorant, Bronchitis, Making Gum

30

IT

La

Kal

Dorema aucheri Boiss.

500

Hydrodistilation

Stomachache, Carminative

25

IT

St, Rh

Kahoo vahshi

Ferula hezar- lalehzarica y. Ajani

501

Poultice

Dermal wounds

20

IT

La

Garchik

Ferulago carduchorum Boiss. and Hausskn.

93801 (TARY)

Infusion, Flavoring with yogurt, use as vegetable

Blood sugar, Asthma, diuretic,

60

IT

L, R, Se,

Karafse kuhi

Levisticum officinale W. D. Koch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asteraceae

504

Infusion

Carminative, Stomachache

8

IT

L

Bumadarun

Achillea wilhelmsii C.Koch.

 

Decoction, Oral

Dermal wounds, Blood sugar

6

IT-M

R, L

Baba adam

Arctium lappa L.

507

Decoction, Poultice

Foot contusion, Gastric disorder

4

IT

L

Dormane

Artemisia aucheri Boiss.

508

Hydrodistilation

Fever, Gastric disorder

25

IT

Fl, L

Dormane turky

Artemisia persica Boiss.

512

Hydrodistilation, Decoction

Jaundice, Blood sugar

30

PL

Wh.p

Kasni

Cichorium intybus L.

513

Poultice

Dermal inflation, appetizing

3

PL

R

 

Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.

523

Poultice

Dermal inflation, insects sting

2

IT-SS

L

 

Hertia intermedia (Boiss.) O. Kuntze.

526

Poultice in form of ash

snake bites, insect sting, Antiseptic

7

IT

L, St

Goja

Launea acanthodes (Boiss.) O. Auntze.

531

 

Use by bees as food

4

IT

 

 

Scariola orientalis (Boiss.) Sojak.

537

Decoction

Nerve system relaxant

6

IT

L

Chaye ahshi

Tanacetum fisherea Aitch. and Hemsl.

538

Decoction

Fever, Sedative, Gastric disorders, Nerve system relaxant

12

PL

L

Babune gavi

Tanacetum parthenium (L.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berberidaceae

543

Decoction, Edible

Blood Sugar and Depurative

36

IT

Fr, R

zarch

Berberis integerrima Bge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boraginaceae

544

Poultice

Wound, Cutting

48

IT

R, Se

havachue

Arnebia euchroma (Royle.) l. M. Johnst.

545

Decoction

Nerve system relaxant, antispasmodic, Menstruate

2

IT-M

Fl

 

Asperugo procumbens L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brassicaceae

558

Infusion

Coagulation, antiepileptic. Hypertension, Diarrhea

18

Cosm

A.p

Kise keshish

Capsella bursa- pastoris (L.)

559

Decoction, Edible

Diuretic

39

IT-M-ES

Wh.p, Se

Mocoo

Cardaria draba (L.) Desv.

564

syrup

Asthma, Stomachache, Heatstroke, ِLaxative, Appetizing

48

IT-M-ES

Se

Khakshir

Descurainia Sophia (L.) chur.

567

Oral, Poultice

Hair loss, mange, Making oil

25

PL

Se

Mandab

Eruca sativa Lam.

568

Infusion

Respiratory disorder, Digestive spasm

4

IT

Fl

 

Erysimum crassicaule (Boiss.) Boiss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caryophyllaceae

581

Edible

use as a kind of food(Halva), detergent

3

IT

R

Choobe

Acanthophyllum laxiusculum Schiman- Czeika.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chenopodiaceae

600

Decoction

Diuretic

12

PL

L

Khorma

Chenopodium foliosum (Moench) Aschers .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Convulvolaceae

607

Decoction

Laxative, Carminative

3

PL

Wh.p

Pichak

Convolvulus arvensis L.

608

Decoction

Fever, Purgative

2

IT-SS

R

Pichak

Convolvulus spinosus Burm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cucurbitaceae

611

Oral

Digestive problems for domestic animals, Liver problems

15

IT

Wh.p

Angoor vahshi

Bryonia aspera Stev. Ex Ledeb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cupressaceae

 

Infusion

Diuretic, Rheumatism, antiseptic,Dermal inflations, Boils

18

IT-ES

Fr

Ors

Juniperus excelsa M. B.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ephedraceae

616

Decoction

Diuretic, Gastric and intestine  inflation, Diaphoretic

35

IT-ES

L, Sh

Khimook

Ephedra major Host.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Euphorbiaceae

 

 

Poisonous

-

IT

La

Afkoo

Euphorbia spp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabaceae

624

Decoction

Cold

31

IT

Se

Kalilolmolk

Astragalus camptoceras Bunge.

628

Bath, use by bees as food

Body reinforce, Making tragacanth use as detergent, Produce rope

9

IT

La

Gini

Astragalus dschuparensis Freyn. and Bornm.

 

Decoction, Edible

Constipation

3

IT-ES

Ba, L

Arghavan

Cercis siliquastrum L.

 

Decoction

gastric ulcer, Laxative, Bronchitis

39

IT-M-ES

R. Rh

Matki

Glycyrrhiza glabra L.

643

Infusion, as a kind of soup

Diarrhea, Carminative

28

PL

Wh.p, Fr

Karoo

Lathyrus sativus L.

644

Infusion

Blood fat

40

IT

A.p

Yonjeh

Medicago sativa L.

646

Infusion

Headache, diuretic, Nerve system relaxant

13

IT-M-ES

Fl, A.p

Yonjeh zard

Melilotus officinalis (L.) Desr.

649

Decoction

Purgative, Diuretic, Laxative

3

ES

Fl, L

Aghaghia

Robinia pseudoacacia L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fumariaceae

652

Decoction

Carminative, Stomachache, Depurative, Fever,

25

PL

L

Shatareh

Fumaria asepala Boiss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juglandaceae

 

Infusion, Edible

Blood sugar, Bone ache, hair color

36

IT-ES

L, B. Fr

Ghoz

Juglans regia L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gentianaceae

 

Oral

Fever, Gall stone

2

IT-M-ES

La

 

Centurium pulchellum (Swartz.) Druce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geraniaceae

653

Decoction

Carminative, Backache, Sedative, Sexual instinct

35

IT-M-ES

R, Tu

Bahman

Bieberstainia multifida DC.*

654

Decoction

coagulation, Constipation

14

IT-M-ES

Wh.p

 

Erodium cicutarium(L.) ’Her

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juncaceae

658

 

Making rope and basket

4

PL

A.p

 

Juncus inflexus L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamiaceae

659

Decoction, Hydrodistilation

Carminative, Rheumatism, flavor in whey

65

IT

L, Fl

Zaroo

Dracocephalum polychaetum Bornm.

662

Infusion, Oral

Fever, Hypertension, cardiac pains, Menstruate

15

IT-ES

A.p

 

Marrubium anisodon C. Koch.

663

Infusion, Oral

Diuretic, Appetizing

16

IT-M

A.p

 

Marrubium vulgar L.

 

Infusion

Fever, Sedative

48

IT-M

A.p

Poodeneh

Mentha longifolia (L.) Hudson.

665

Decoction

Cold, Cough, Expectorant, Constipation, infertility

42

IT

Fl

Zufa

Nepeta bracteata Benth.

669

Decoction

Dermal inflation, pneumonia

25

IT

Fl

 

Nepeta glomerolosa Boiss.

670

Decoction

Respiratory disorder, Gastric and  intestine disorder

28

IT

Fl

 

Nepeta ispahanica Boiss.

675

Decoction

Cold, Backache

31

IT

L, Fr

Badranj

Nepeta saccharata Bunge.

677

Use by bees as food

Use by bees as food

8

IT-ES

Fl

 

Salvia nemerosa L.

 

Infusion

Kidney stone, its extract use as perfume

12

IT-SS

L,Fl,Se

 

Salvia sclarea L.

 

Hydrodistilation, Oral

Stomachache, Carminative

42

PL

A.p

Kalpoore

Teucrium polium L.

680

Decoction

Cold, Sedative, Asthma, Diarrhea

65

IT-M

L, Fl

Apishan

Thymus carmanicus Jalas.

681

Infusion, Decoction

Nerve system relaxant

70

IT

L, Fr

Aghlale

Ziziphora clinopodioides Lam.

682

Infusion

Nerve system relaxant

54

IT

L

Kakuti

Ziziphora tenuir L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liliaceae

683

Poultice

Backache

5

IT

B

Gole hasrat

Colchichum schimperi Janka.

684

Edible

Use as a kind of food, Diuretic

23

IT

L

Hasan aloo

Eremurus persicus (Jaub. and Spach) Boiss.

689

Edible

Use as a kind of food

23

IT

B

Lale

Tulipa biflora Pall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onagraceae

693

Decoction, Oral

Constipation

6

IT

Rh, Fl

Pudene sagi

Epilobium minutiflorum Hausskn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orchidaceae

695

Decoction

Cold, Cough, Diarrhea

2

IT-ES

Tu

 

Orchis coriophora L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malvaceae

691

Decoction, Infusion

Diuretic, Laxative, Cold, Sore throat

19

ES

L, Fl

Khatmi

Althaea officinalis L.

692

Decoction

Inflation, Sedative

25

IT-M-ES

A.p

Panirak

Malva neglecta Willr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Papaveraceae

700

 

Poisonous

27

IT-SS

 

Shaghayegh

Papaver dubium L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plantaginaceae

703

Decoction, Poultice

Jaundice, Sedative

12

IT-M-ES

L, R, Se

Kochak

Plantago lanceolata L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polygonaceae

729

Edible, infusion

Use as a kind of food, Laxative, , Making jam, Hair dyeing, Anti parasitic worn in domestic animals

34

IT

L, Fr, Fl, Se

Rivas

Rheum ribes L.

730

Decoction

Fever, Diarrhea, Laxative

14

IT

R, Rh

torshak

Rumex crispus L.

731

Edible

Vegetable for a kind of food

12

IT

L

torshak

Rumex dentatus L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranunculaceae

734

Decoction

Kidney stone, Laxative, Nerve system relaxant, Diuretic

25

IT-M-ES

Fl

Teryakoo

Adonis aestivalis L.

737

Poultice, Decoction

Kidney stone, Hair loss

5

IT-M

Fl, L

 

Consolida orientalis )Gay)Schrod.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosaceae

742

Edible

Making oil

18

IT

Se

Ghoos

Amygdalus eburnea Spach.

743

Edible

Making oil, Dye

16

IT

Se

Archan

Amygdalus elaeagnifolia Spach.

744

Decoction

Fever, Laxative, Jaundice

6

IT

Wh. p

Shir khesht

Cotoneaster nummularia Fisch. and C. A. Mey.

747

Hydrodistilation

Cardiac disorders

25

IT

Fl

Korik

Rosa beggeriana Schrenk

748

Decoction

Toothache

36

IT-M-ES

L, St

Gheitaran

Sanguisorba minor Scop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rubiaceae

751

Infusion

Kidney stone, Diuretic

3

PL

A. p

 

Galium aparine L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salicaceae

753

Decoction, Oral

Fever, Jaundice

32

IT-M-ES

Ba

Bid

Salix alba L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrophulariaceae

757

Oral

Bronchitis, apoplexy

41

IT

L, Se

Mokhalaseh

Scrophularia leucoclada Bunge

759

Infusion

Sedative, Diuretic, respiratory disorder

6

IT

L, Fl

Gole mahoor

Verbascum carmanicum (Bornm.) Hub.- Mor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solanaceae

 

 

Poisonous

-

IT

 

 

Hyoscyamus spp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thymelaeceae

772

Oral

Purgative, Laxative, Making jam

13

IT

Fr, R

Terbid

Daphne oleoides Schrev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Urticaceae

774

Decoction, Poultice

Coagulation, Blood sugar, foot pain

35

PL

R, A.p

Gazane

Urtica dioica L. ssp. dioica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zygophyllaceae

776

Poultice, smoke

Noise blooding, Antiseptic, insomnia

28

IT-M-ES

L, Se

Espand

Peganum harmala L.

777

Infusion

Kidney stone, Diuretic

34

PL

Fr

Kharkhasak

Tribulus trrestris L.

   As a result, we observed that these plants are used especially for intestinal digestive disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, (25.4%), renal and genital disorders (13%), respiratory tract system disorders (11.8%), heart-blood circulatory system disorders (10.2%), fever (6.2%), skin disorders (6.2%), sedative (5.6%), bone fractures and arthritis (5%), nerve disorders (5%), antiseptic (4.5%), liver-spleen disorders (3.4%) and others (nose bleeding, body reinforcement, appetizing, etc.) (3.4%) (Figure 3).

 

Figure 3. Remedies reported by informants.

 

   Our results showed that several parts of individual plant species are used as medicine. The most widely used medicinal plant part was the leaves (33 species) followed by flowers (18 species), root (14 species), Seed (14 species), aerial parts (10 species), fruit (8 species), whole plant (7 species), latex and seed (6 species), rhizome (4 species), stem (4 species), bulb (3 species), tuber (2 species) and bark (2 species) (Figure 4). The most common mode of preparation was decoction (44%) and followed by infusion (21%), poultice (15%), oral (13%) and Hydrodistillation (7%) (Figure 5).

 

Figure 4. Plant parts use and their percentages.

 

 

 

Figure 5. Mode of preparations and their percentages.

 

 

   The study of the growth form of the medicinal plants revealed that herbs made up the highest proportion of medicinal plants (80 species), followed by shrubs (7 species) and trees (5 species).

   Chorology: Irano-Turanian elements compose 48% of the medicinal plants growing on the study area (Zohary, 1973). They are the dominant chorology in the region (Figure 6).

 

Figure 6. Chorology of plants and their percentages (IT: Irano-Turanian; Cosm: Cosmopolitan; ES: Euro-Siberian; PL: Pluriregional; M: Mediterranean; SI: Sahara-Indian).

 

Plants used in veterinary

   Some species are used in veterinary. The species include root of Bryonia aspera Stev. Ex Ledeb is used for digestive problems in sheep and horses. The oil obtained from the seeds of Eruca sativa L. was used for the remedy of mange and dermal problems in domestic animals. Fruit of Rheum ribes L. was used as antiparasitic worm in domestic animals. Ash of leaves and stem of Launea acanthodes (Boiss.) O. Auntze  which are used for snake bites and insect sting.

 

Plants with non-medicinal uses

   Seventy species have been recorded for non-medicinal uses including, edible, natural dyes, making gum, rope, basket, ink and detergent. Root of Acanthophyllum laxiusculum Schiman-Czeika is used for a kind of food (Halva) and detergent. Dracocephalum polychaetum Bornm and Levisticum officinale W. D. Koch are used as flavor in yoghurt. Juncus inflexus L. is used for making rope and basket. Juglans regia L. and Berberis integerrima Bge are used in dyeing. Daphne oleoides Schrev is used for making ink. Ephedra major Host is used for making Mashk (a bag made from animal leather and used for maintaining water and yoghurt). The bulbs of Tulipa biflora Pall leaves of Rheum ribes L. and Rumex dentatus L. are used for local foods. The latex of Dorema aucheri Boiss, which is called Eshterk, is used for Making Gum. The latex of Astragalus dschuparensis Freyn and Bornm., which is a kind of detergent.

 

Discussion

   As a result of the rich flora of this region, medicinal plants are the most important means of health care. Due to the lack of modern medicine, difficult geography of the district as well as traditional culture cured by plants, serves as a usual way in this region particularly in elders.

   Some species are used so frequently that are mentioned by every interviewee. Our results indicated that medicinal species such as Levisticum officinale, Artemisia persica, Thymus carmanicus and Ziziphora clinopodioides are mentioned by many informants.

   Arnebia euchroma (Royle) Jonst (Boraginaceae) is a perennial plant of the alpine region, distributed in the Persia, Pamir, Tien-Shan, Himalaya and the western Tibet, with an altitudinal range between 3700 and 4200 m above the sea level. Local people of Hezar Mt., use the roots of A. euchroma as poultice for wound healing. Shikonin and its derivatives extracted from the roots of A. euchroma have been known since ancient times and used as dyes for silk and food products. Shikonin possesses antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, A. euchroma exhibits potent anti-HIV activity (13). Arnebin-1 and arnebin-3 derived from it possess anticancerous properties (13). Due to its medicinal uses, the species is being harvested indiscriminately from the wild both for domestic and Pharmaceutical purposes. This has resulted in A. euchroma critically endangered the status and its listing in the species prioritized for conservation in this region.

   Levisticum officinale W. D. Koch (Umbellifera) is a perennial plant of the alpine region distributed only in the SE of Iran (Hezar Mt.) and E of Afghanistan. The essential oil of L. officinale was characterized by large amount of monoterpenes, approximately 93.8%.

   L. officinale exhibits various pharmacological and biological activities, including estrogenic (14), apoptotic (15) and antimycobacterial (16) activities.

   The main components in the oil were β-phellandrene and α-terpineol (17). It is a warming and tonic herb for the digestive and respiratory systems. It is used primarily in the treatment of indigestion, poor appetite, wind, colic and bronchitis. The roots, leaves and fruits are antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, mildly expectorant and stimulant. Raw or cooked leaves and stems are used as savory flavoring in salads, soups, stews, etc. In addition, some species have other uses which food is the most important one such as Dracocephalum polychaetum as a flavor in whey. The flavones like Levoteolin and Apigenin are the most components in Dracocephalum polychaetum.

   Another well-known identified medicinal substance in this mountainous region is Mumenaei. This traditional drug is widely distributed in Russia (termed there Mumie or Mumiyo, India (Saljit), Birma [Kao-tun (blood of the mountain)], Altai Mountains [Barachgschin (oil of the mountain)] Mongolia [Brogschaun (mountain juice)] and Iran. It is found at high altitudes as deposits in walls and caves where they are embedded into rocks. Mumenaei has been used as a medicine by the local people for a long time for bone fracture relief, muscular pain, and arthritis. It is used as a poultice in fracture limb or is eaten orally for the relief of pain. The main organic components, the wax esters and the glycerol ethers, are known to display neuroprotective potential. Future studies will prove whether the monoalkyl ethers also display anti-stomach ache capacity. Finally, the triglycerides have to be studied for their putative antimicrobial activity. The inorganic component(s), the minerals existing in Mumenaei, may have their ameliorating function in bone diseases) 18).

   New research on some plants of this area such as Nepeta assurgens and Thymus carmanicus (Labiateae) showed that methanolic extracts of these plantshad antibacterial activity and can be used in different cases of bacterial infections especially nosocomial infections (18). Leaves and flowers extracts of Salvia rhytidae showed antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. S. aureus was more sensitive to other bacteria. It can be exploited and applied to food system protection, and treatment of bacterial infections (19). In spite of these findings, no ethnobotanical applications were mentioned for Salvia rhytidea and Nepeta assurgens by informants. Considering the lack of information about the uses and effects of medications of some species like Dorema ammoniacum, Levisticum officinale, Artemisia persica, Tanacetum fisherea, Arnebia euchroma, Tribulus terrestris and Dracocephalum polychaetum will be proposed for further examination.

   These plants are used in the treatment of some very common ailments like diarrhea, stomach problems, blood sugar, bronchitis and asthma. All diseases might be related to poor hygienic conditions with regard to food and water.

  The data of Table 2 shows ethnobotanical comparison between Turkmen Sahra (NE Iran) (5) and Hezar Mt., (SE Iran).

 

 Table 2. The comparison with NE Iran (Turkmen Sahra).

 

In SE Iran (Our study)

In NE Iran (5)

Number of taxa

Family

35

41

Genera

87

72

Species

92

136

Predominant families

Lamiaceae (15.2%)

Asteraceae (10.9%)

Asteraceae (12%)

Lamiaceae (9.8%)

Apiaceae (8.7%)

Apiaceae (8.7%)

Fabaceae (8.7%)

Common mode of preparation

Decoction-Infusion

Decoction-Demulcent

Part Predominant families used

Leaf (32%)

Leaf (22%)

Root (13%)

Fruit (12%)

Seed (13%)

Seed (12%)

Aerial parts (11%)

Aerial parts (12%)

Most reported medicinal uses

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal

Renal and genital

Skin

Respiratory

Cardio-Vascular

Cardio-Vascular

Renal and genital

Dominant chorology

Irano-Turanian (48%)

Irano-Turanian (35%)

 

Medicinal plants threats

   In recent years, aridity and low precipitation have damaged the vegetation of plants in Hezar. In addition, overgrazing impact is increasingly threatening the fragile medicinal plants in this mountain.

   Some rare species such as Levisticum officinale, Thymus carmanicus, Arnebia euchroma, Dracocephalum polychaetum and Dorema ammoniacum have been threatenedas herbalists and traders hire the local people for gathering these species due to the economic purposes. Many of these plants are potentially endangered and vulnerable taxa. Since the alpine plants grow very slowly, they cannot quickly re-grow leaves or flowers that are lost. Harvesting of roots, bulbs, seeds and flowers, which are essential to the survival of the plants, often lead to vanish this species. In addition, local people sometimes sell these medicinal plants in the local market for their livelihood. So, the domestication of these plants is a need for conservation.

   Lately, a Manganese purification factory has been established in 30 Km of NW of Hezar Mountain, so that the air pollution and soil toxicity are inevitable in this region. It is a direct threat to flora and fauna in the study area.

 

 

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