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Indigenous knowledge of folk medicines among tribal minorities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwestern Pakistan
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, ISSN 0378-8741, E-ISSN 1872-7573, Vol. 166, 157-167 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ethnopharmacological relevance: Mapping ethnomedicinal plants and associated indigenous knowledge of folk medicines can provide a comprehensive overview of individual herbs employed in health care. Reliance on medicinal plants in remote parts of northern Pakistan is high, especially among women, but no research has investigated specifically which plants are used. This study investigated indigenous knowledge of folk medicines among tribal minorities in selected sites in upper Swat, Buner and Chitral Districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Materials and methods: Interviews were conducted with gender-specific focus groups using questionnaires and standardized data sheets, followed by forest walks in each of the visited areas. General medicinal herb use, preparations, storage, marketing and collection habits for each gender group were ascertained from the questionnaires. Results: In total 168 women and 390 men were interviewed and provided information on 127 different shared medicinal species. Species use consensus among the informants ranged from 2.3% to 83.3%, with Cynodon dactylon, Avena sativa, Celtis australis, Datura stramonium, Solanum nigrum, Skimmia laureola, Spiraea nervosa, Ziziphus jujuba, Rumex hastatus, Plantago lanceolata, Lathyrus aphaca and Ficus palmata having the highest reported consensus. The survey also revealed that a number of medicinal species were exploited by the community for both marketing and personal use, and many of these species were reported as being rare, vulnerable or even endangered. Conclusions: The results revealed that women in all the three districts were important custodians of medicinal plant knowledge, but elder women in general and the women from Buner district in particular had a superior understanding of folk medicine. The forest walks revealed that women's traditional medicinal knowledge was based on a more limited diversity of plant species. People in tribal communities have an expressed interest in learning efficient techniques for medicinal plant collection, preparation, storage and cultivation advice, and to learn more about the potential of marketing medicinal herbs and ways to reach local market centers. Education and awareness were considered to be essential for improved health care and successful marketing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 166, 157-167 p.
Keyword [en]
Medicinal plants, Local trade, Women's traditional knowledge, Subsistence livelihoods, Biological conservation, Socio-economic development
National Category
Pharmacology and Toxicology Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-255065DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.03.022ISI: 000354009500019PubMedID: 25792019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-255065DiVA: diva2:824764
Available from: 2015-06-22 Created: 2015-06-12 Last updated: 2015-06-22Bibliographically approved

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