Ethnomedicinal uses and conservation status of medicinal orchids from Western Himalayas of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan



Background: The medicinal orchid species of the Himalaya are of great importance due to their various medicinal properties. These orchids have been used for centuries by the local communities in the region for their medicinal benefits. The Himalayan orchids are particularly unique because they have adapted to the extreme environmental conditions of the high altitude and harsh weather. Unfortunately, due to habitat loss and overharvesting for commercial purposes, many orchid species are now threatened with extinction. The main objective of this research was to identify, document ethnomedicinal uses and find conservation status of medicinal orchids used by local inhabitants of western Himalayas, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan.

Methods: Interviews were conducted with 80 residents (30 women and 50 men) using a semi-structured questionnaire. Relative frequency of citation (RFC), use value (UV), fidelity level (FL), informant agreement ratio (IAR), plant parts value (PPV) and conservation status were used to express the results.

Results: The research area is home of 18 orchids  that are significant from an ethnobotanical perspective. The tuber (40%) and root (30%), followed by the rhizome (15%), were the most favored plant parts amongst the species that were recorded. The highest RFC was recorded for Habenaria intermedia (0.69) while Gymnadenia orchidis had the lowest 0.05. The UV was between 0.04 to 0.56. Habenaria intermedia was found to possess the highest UV (UV 0.56) whereas Cypripedium cordigerum had the loweest UV (0.04). The highest FL was found in Dactylorhiza hatagirea (68.75%) and Goodyera repens had the lowest FL (6.25%). The highest IAR value is 1.00, which contributes to digestive disorders, liver diseases, gout, urinary tract infection, antibacterial, analgesic, skin diseases, tuberculosis, and diabetes. The main plant parts used by the locals for ethnomedicine are tuber, root, rhizome, and leaves. The conservation status showed that 61 % species are vulnerable, 31% are endangered and 6% are near to threatened.

Conclusion: According to ethnobotanical study, the native people of the researched area are knowledgeable about the practices of orchids, and both the plants and the native knowledge need to be protected.

Keywords: Medicinal Plants, Western Himalayas, Conservation Status, Endangered Species




How to Cite

Hussain, K., Dar, M. E. U. I., Mehmood, A., Sabir, S., Awan, M. S., Ahmad, K. S., & Bussmann, R. W. . (2023). Ethnomedicinal uses and conservation status of medicinal orchids from Western Himalayas of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 26, 1–13. Retrieved from