Since the beginning of civilization, people have used plants as medicine. Perhaps as early as
Neanderthal man, plants were believed to have healing powers. The earliest recorded uses are
found in Babylon circa 1770 BC in the Code of Hammurabi and in ancient Egypt circa 1550
B.C. In fact, ancient Egyptians believed medicinal plants to have utility even in the afterlife of
From ancient times, plants are being used in various diseases. Many of today’s drugs have been
derived from plant sources. Pharmacognosy is the study of medicinal and toxic products from
natural plant sources (Aumeeruddy, 1994). More than six thousand species are used as
medicines. Elisabeth Sky (1990) reported that Annual World Market value for medicine drives
from medicinal plants is $43 billion. More than 75% of Pakistani population depends on
traditional medicines for all or most of its medicinal needs (Hocking, 1958 and Qureshi et al.,
2007). Ethnopharmacological study not only envisage the possibility of identifying new herbal
drug, but also brings on record the hidden knowledge confined to traditional society all over the
world (Bartram, 1995. Anna,1993. Shinwari and Khan, 2000. and Yang 1988).
Since 1992, the People and Plants initiative has coined the phrase `applied Ethnobotany', which
enable work with the knowledge holders in a participatory way, to analyze knowledge and set up
improved management systems, which build on local sets of practices and social dynamics
(Martin, 1995 and Cunningham, 2001). Applied ethnobotany also strives to bridge the gap
between traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge and to understand the relationships
between local practices and knowledge systems and policies, rules and economic trends at the
national and international level (Anthony, 2001).
The inhabitants of Pakistan have the knowledge of several significant medicinal plants of their
area. This jewel is transferring to these people from generations to generations by their
forefathers. Due to advancement in our society, people are not paying attention to save this
knowledge. Modern generation prefer to cure themselves through allopathic medicines (Black
1996). Only elders have indigenous knowledge, which is also being vanished. Elders have got
this knowledge from their forefathers. Now it is dare need to get this knowledge from elder. Due
to the economic importance of indigenous medicinal plants, local people are engaged in the trade
of this treasure (herbs, shrubs and trees) within a country or outside the country. To preserve this
indigenous medicinal knowledge for further pharmacological studies, this research was carried
out. This information will give momentous gift, toward the understanding for our plant
prosperity of the country.
This current report gives a description of the indigenous medicinal plants used by local people
and hakims in district Sialkot, Pakistan.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Area was visited three times to conduct the ethno medicinal survey. The survey was conducted
from March 2008 to February 2010. The methodology was based on interviews using checklist
and questionnaire of information. The interviewees in the villages were chosen at random. Total
number of interviews conducted is 135 consisting of 80 males 43 females and 12 Hakims. The
interviews were mainly Government employees and Government servants, who were enough
educated. Despite of these people elders were focused to get information. Parameters followed
for the study were; use of herbal medicines, parts of the plants used, ailments treated, problem
related to herbal medicines business, types of people treated, number of people treated per day,
trend in use of medicinal plants.
Standard method was followed with regard to collection of plant materials, drying, mounting,
preparation and preservation of plant specimens (Nasir and Ali, 2001). Voucher specimens of
indigenous plant species in triplicates were collected and identified from Herbarium of the
Department of Plant Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad (ISL), Pakistan. Plants with
their correct nomenclature were arranged alphabetically by family name, local name and
medicinal uses. This identification and nomenclature of plants were based on The Flora of
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The scientific detailed; family, botanical origin, nomenclature, parts used, status and habitate of
the crude drugs along with their therapeutical value is as under,
Therapeutical value and medicinal value
Trianthema portulacastrum L.: The whole plant is used as a strong anthelmintic plant medicine.
It has curative action for constipation and asthma. Used in amenorrhea leaves are diuretic,
recommended in edema and dropsy, diarrhea, urinary tract infections and kidney problems. It is
used for treatment of jaundice.
Achyranthes aspera L.: Plant is purgative, diuretic, astringent. A decoction of roots is used for
syphilis and as an emetic against malaria. It is used in vomiting, heart diseases and useful in
ulcers. The infusion of root is given as a mild astringent. Every part of the plant is recommended
in treatment of snakebites.
Calatropis procera (Willd) R. Br.: The plant is laxative, purgative, anthelmintic, cures leprosy,
leucoderma, ulcers, tumors and piles, diseases of spleen, the liver and abdomen. Leaves fruits
and roots are used in headache severe body pain, malarial fever and convulsion. Roasted leaves
in the mustard oil are applied on chronic scabies and other skin ailments.
Periploca aphylla Dcne. : Roots are stimulant. It is used for constipation, urticaria and tumor.
Caralluma tuberculata N.E. Brown: Whole plant extensively used for paralysis and joint pain
and fever. It is very effective in blood diseases. It has cooling effects.
Echinops echinatus Roxb: Root and root bark is used in sexual debility, delivery, stomach
diseases and jaundice. Decoction of whole plant is diuretic aphrodisiac, antipyretic, and
analgesic. It is used as fodder for the camels. Leaves are harvested and after losing turgidity, it is
used as fodder. It is also used as firewood.
Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronquist: The herb is haemostatic stimulant, astringent, diuretic, used
in dysentery diarrhea and uterine hemorrhage oil is given in dysentery, bronchial catarrh and
cystitis. It is also used as fodder.
Carthamus tinctorius L.: Flower is used for fever, cough, throat problems and typhoid fever.
Locally the petals are used as dye for making color bread particularly in Eid festival days. Herbal
Tea made from seeds cures cough. The powdered flowers mixed with milk, cure itching of body
rashers. The dried plant is used as fire wood.
Saussurea hetromalla L.: It is an aphrodisiac tonic and is useful in liver diseases, kidney and
chest complaints. It is used as fodder for buffaloes. It is troublesome weed of wheat crop.
Bombax ceiba L.: The root is restorative, alternative and astringent. Gum is astringent given in
diarrhea, dysentery and menorrhagia flowers are used to cure leucorrhoea.
Opuntia dillenii Haw: Poultice of phylloclades is used to remove guinea worm. Fruit Juice is
used to check diabetes. The plant is bitter, laxative, stomachic, carminative and antipyretic. It is
used in urinary complaint tumors, piles, inflammation anemia ulcers and enlargement of spleen.
The flowers are bronchitis and. The juice of plant is healing alexiteric and lecuoderma. It is used
in ophthalmic liver complaints. The juice is used as cure for earache. The fruit used in gonorrhea.
Fruits are laxative, carminative and digestive. Also used in cough and jaundice.
Chenopodium album L.: Cooked leaves are used in urinary troubles and colic pain. Leaf extract
is used in piles, cough and worms. Root powder is useful in spermatoria. Whole plant is used as
laxative. Stem is useful in removing kidney stone and used as laxative in lever disorder, hepatic
disorder, jaundice used as tonic after delivery and stimulating memory glands for milk
production. The plant improves the epitite, oleaginous anthelmintic, diuretic, aphrodisiac, Tonic,
Useful in biliousness abdominal pain; eye diseases throat troubles, diseases of blood heart and
Figure1. Carthamus tinctorius; Flowering branch
Convolvulus arvensis L.: It is anthelmentic. Also applied in skin disorders the leaves are crushed
in bottle and juice is used to remove from stomach.
Cucumus melo var. agrestis Naudin: Fruit decoction is used to treat dysuria, difficult and painful
urination and leucorrhoea. Preserved fruits are fried and given to treat digestive problems. Leaf
paste is applied to treat eczema and other skin infections. The fruit of plant is used as laxative.
Euphorbia thymifolia L.: Whole plant is used as astringent, anthelmintic and laxative. Plant
decoction is given to treat diarrhea. Plant paste is applied to treat ringworm diseases of the skin.
Root paste is given to treat stomach ulcer. Root decoction is given to treat amenorrhagia.
Euphorbia tircucali L.: Milky juice is rubifacient, purgative, vesicant, used in rheumatism
neuralgia toothache, earache, cough and asthma.
Azadirachta indica A. Juss: Whole plant is medicinal. The flowers are used as stimulant and also
used an excellent tonic for rejuvenation. Flower decoction is given to treat bile disorders.
Roasted flowers are given to treat jaundice. Oil extracted from seeds is used as tonic,
anthelmintic and stomachic. Seed oil is applied to treat scabies, leprosy and also applied on head
to promote hair growth. Bark infusion (about 1 cup) is given in morning and evening to treat
temple pain and malaria. Bark decoction is used to rinse the mouth to control tooth ache. Stem
bark extract is given as contraceptive. Bark decoction is given to control irregular menstruation.
Tender leaves are chewed to control allergies.
Prosopis cineraria (L.) Druce: Leaves are useful in leucorrhoea and menorrhea. It is ground with
Coccinia grandis, mixed with palm jiggery and given orally (or) ground with sugar and butter
milk given orally.
Cistanche tubulosa (Schenk) R. Wight: Whole plant is used as blood purifier, episatasis, cough,
fever and bleeding nose. It is also laxative and digestive. It is used to remove the pain of
stomach. It is also used as flavoring agent in pot herbs.
Pongamia pinnata (L.) Merill: The decoction of leaves and bark is used as bath for fever. The oil
is used for the cure of skin diseases and rheumatism.
Dalbergia sissoo Roxb: Decoction of leaves is used in gonorrhea. Wood is used in leprosy and to
stop vomiting. Fuel wood i.e. ash is extensively used in making snuff. The bark and wood are
bitter, easy to digest and a good epitezer, estringent cures dysentery and diarrhea, also cures skin
diseases and fevers. An infusion of the small leaves is given as cooling medicines in fevers.
Alhagi maraurum Medic: Its crushed flowers along with sugar are taken orally to cure bleeding
piles. Decoction is used as diuretic and laxative.
Portulaca oleracea L: Plant powder is given on empty stomach to treat jaundice. Plant paste is
given to treat diseases of liver, spleen, kidney and bladder. The plant is used in medicines.
Grewia asiatica L.: The ripe fruit is useful for cooling digestible, toxic; aphrodisiac allays thirst
and burning sensation, cures inflammation heart and blood disorders fever and consumption. It is
good for troubles of throat helps removal of dead fetus. The bark cures biliousness, removes
troubles and burning in vagina.
Typha angustata Borry & Chaub: Leaf paste is given to treat dropsy. It is generally used for
thatching purposes. The leaves are used as fodder especially in dry condition. Leaves are used
for mating young shoot and roots are sometimes eaten. Root is diuretic and astringent.
Human healthcare in this world is incomplete without a glance at the role of medicinal plants. In
the recent years, pharmacists are paying remarkable attention on indigenous medicinal plants for
the formation of new drugs. Preservation and record of indigenous medicinal knowledge is
necessary to establish the modern pharmacognocy. Pharmacognocy that relies on indigenous
medicinal knowledge of plants and utilization of this knowledge in modern healthcare system is
totally dependent upon ethno medicinal information.
People who reside in city area have almost no knowledge about indigenous plants (Alcorn, 1984;
Altieri et al., 1987). However people of villages are well known to this treasure. Elders and
females are the main source of this indigenous treasure. Villagers are rich in having indigenous
knowledge; its main reason is the poor life style of villager. They prefer to cure themselves with
plants. Allopathic medicines are out of their range, so, they utilize herbal remedies (Qureshi et.
Our country is diverse with medicinal plants, which grow throughout the year and in every
season. District Sialkot is a plain area. People of this are mostly relying on agriculture and sports
plus leather industries for their economy. Locals of this area are not well literate. Total area is
plain and rich with plants community. Promotion, collection and proper storage of these plants in
planned way is required as there is no proper way to screen these plants (Pei and Sajise, 1995).
Mostly they use Achyranthes aspera L., Calatropis procera (Willd.) R. Br., Chenopodium album
L., Azadirachta indica A. Juss. and Prosopis cineraria (L.) Druce in their daily life. From this
are few plants were found that are very effective against jaundice and hepatitis i.e. Trianthema
portulacastrum L., Echinops echinatus Roxb. and Opuntia dillenii Haw. Achyranthes aspera L.,
Chenopodium album L. and Grewia asiatica L.were reported effective against cardiac diseases.
Local Hakims used these plants to treat cardiac problems. Two plant species were recorded that
are valuable against tumor; these species are Calatropis procera (Willd.) R. Br. and Periploca
aphylla Dcne. and are found commonly. A number of plants which can break kidney and bladder
stone were came to know through this research investigation. In district Sialkot local Hakim
prefer to treat their patient through their local indigenous plants. Various other valuable
medicinal plants were reported in this work. This data can provide a good source for the
production of new drugs.
Through this research work, various new drugs can be synthesized by screening the biological
activities of highly medicinal plants of study area. This survey was conducted in this scenario to
find out the highly medicinal plants, which can be good source of new valuable drugs.
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