Traditional knowledge and diversity of medicinal plants in Hindukush range, Tehsil Mastuj, Chitral, Pakistan: An ethnobotany survey
Background: The aim of the current study was to elaborate the indigenous knowledge about the use of medicinal plants in the Hindukush range, Tehsil Mastuj, Chitral, Pakistan. The study's goal was to use quantitative ethnobotanical indices to chronicle indigenous knowledge about the treatment of various disorders, as well as to locate and describe traditional applications of medicinal plants in the area to highlight key medicinal plant species by comparing the results to previously published ethnobotanical and pharmacological data. The medicinal flora is on the verge of extinction due to overgrazing and injudicious use.
Methods: We conducted interviews with residents of Mastuj. Semi-structured protocols with a free list of plants were used to collect information, as well as botanical collection and identification of mentioned plants. Use Value (UV) and Informant Agreement Ratio (IAR) were used to analyze ethnobotanical data.
Results: 44 plants belonging to 25 families were identified. Of them 1 family was gymnosperm, and 24 families were angiosperms. There were 36 wild plants, 4 wild and cultivated, 3 cultivated plants. The information collected from the study area revealed that 38 plants were used for the treatment of various ailments and diseases i.e., for cough, backache, skin diseases, dysentery, eczema, diarrhea, purgative, typhoid, rheumatism, narcosis, dyspepsia, malaria, tuberculosis, bronchitis, leprosy, jaundice, vomiting, wheals, lumbago, oedema, and as vermifuge and anthelmintic.
Conclusion: Local communities have kept their traditional ways of life, relying on wild and cultivated plants for food, fuel, fodder, building materials, and crude drugs. Elders and health practitioners in the study area are knowledgeable about indigenous et al. medicinal plants, whereas young people are less interested in herbal treatments. As a result, traditional knowledge ethnomedicine is on the verge of extinction. In situ and ex situ conservation measures should be implemented to ensure the preservation and long-term use of such medicinal plant species, particularly those with economic and pharmaceutical importance. Residents should be properly trained and guided in the collection, drying, storage, and preservation of medicinal plants.
Keywords: Ethnobotanical indices, Extinction, Hindukush range, Indigenous knowledge, Medicinal plants.
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