Author(s): Gairola S, Sharma J, Bedi YS
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Abstract ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is a predominantly Himalayan state in the north-western part of India. It has three geographically distinct divisions viz., Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, which are immensely rich in their biological and cultural diversity. Medicinal plants are an important element of indigenous medical system of the region. The main goal of the present article is to examine the use of ethnomedicinal plants in three divisions of J&K and to discuss cross-cultural consensus on the use of medicinal plants in these divisions. The article also discusses the gaps in the current state of knowledge on ethnomedicinal plants of the region and gives recommendations for the future studies. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Scientific literature on ethnomedicinal field studies conducted in J&K state of India available in the journals, edited books and other scientific databases viz., CAB international, DOAJ, Google Scholar, PubMed, Science direct, SciFinder, Scopus and Web of Science were searched. Only field based ethnomedicinal surveys from last four decades up to December 2013 reporting first hand information on the medicinal plants used to treat human health related ailments by indigenous communities of J&K were included in this study. Venn diagram was used to analyze the cross-cultural consensus on the use of ethnomedicinal plants in the three divisions of J&K. RESULTS: A total of 948 plant taxa (923 angiosperms, 12 gymnosperms and 13 pteridophytes) belonging to 129 families, 509 genera, 937 species and 11 varieties have so far been reported to have a traditional medicinal use by indigenous communities of J&K. Asteraceae (60 genera, 132 spp.) was the most frequently used family followed by Fabaceae (32 genera, 50 spp.) and Lamiaceae (27 genera, 55 spp.). 514, 415 and 397 medicinal plants were used in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh divisions, respectively. Sixty eight plant taxa were used in all the three divisions, whereas 95 plants were common between Ladakh and Jammu, 127 plants between Ladakh and Kashmir, and 216 plants between Jammu and Kashmir. Maximum numbers of plant taxa were used for treating dermatological problems (321), followed by cold, cough and throat related ailments (250), fever (224), joint and muscle related ailments (215), gastrointestinal disorders (210), urogenital ailments (199), respiratory ailments (151), body pain (135) and gynecological disorders (127). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study from the J&K state, which has examined the medicinal plant use in three divisions of J&K and discussed the promising medicinal plant species with cross-cultural consensus. The analysis of the data suggested that while large numbers of plants are used medicinally in each division, there is a low interregional consensus and high variation between medicinal plants used in these divisions, which is due to both cultural divergence as well as biological distinctness. The issues related to current status of knowledge on medicinal plants used by indigenous communities of J&K have been discussed and some recommendations have been made for future studies on medicinal plants in J&K region. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Ethnopharmacol
and referenced in Natural Products Chemistry & Research