Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2004): Supplement 2:
2nd International Congress on Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica
Documentation of traditional knowledge about wild medicinal plants of moist temperate Himalayas in Pakistan
Shinwari Muhammad I., Shinwari Maryum I
Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Pakistan Science Foundation, Islamabad, Pakistan
The moist temperate Himalayas, as one of the major ecological zone of Pakistan, deserve specific attention to the conservation of environment and the sustainable development of natural resources. During the last hundred years, the area has been subjected to major structural changes leading to a decrease of about fifty per cent of the potential forest area. The decrease in forest cover, combined with major changes in community structure has been responsible for the decline of indigenous medicinal plants resources and their traditional knowledge also. Ayubia National Park has been identified as one of the priority area to be focused for medicinal plant conservation.
The study was aimed to analyze traditional knowledge including local names, general distribution, flowering period, part used, medicinal and other uses, market values and taxonomic diversity of the medicinal plant of the area
The field surveys were conducted by adopting predefined questionnaires through guided and transect walks. The market oriented indigenous species have been subjected through IUCN criterion for evaluation of their conservation status.
Traditional knowledge about 117 indigenous medicinal plants (including 8 cultivated ones) have been collected from 140 informants. Women followed by children have been identified as the principle gatherers of medicinal plants. About 44 species were found to be market oriented. According to this criterion, eleven species including two trees (Juglans regia, Taxus wallichiana), one shrub (Berberis lycium) and eight herbaceous species (Asparagus adscendens, Atropa acuminata, Colchicum luteum, Dioscorea deltoidea, Podophyllum hexandrum, Rheum australe, Saussurea costus and Valeriana jatamansi) have been found as endangered.
It has been concluded that Traditional knowledge in Moist Temperate Himalayas of Pakistan is under threat of being lost. Availability of cultivated land is quite less, the establishment of botanical gardens, home gardens or kitchen gardens may be the best ex situ conservation strategy, which can be adopted for sustainable utilization of medicinal plants. While clearly defined land tenure system and community participation in park management will be the best in situ conservation measure for adoptation.