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Author Notes:

Correspondence: amabbasi@ciit.net.pk

Authors declare that they have no competing interest

Authors’ contributions AMA conducted the ethnobotanical survey and drafted the manuscript; SMK helped in the data compilation; MA supported the field data collection; MAK supervised the project and helped in plant identification; CLQ analyzed the data and reviewed the manuscript; AP critically reviewed the manuscript and wrote the discussion and the conclusions. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Acknowledgement We are grateful to all the study participants and the local communities for having shared their valuable traditional knowledge.



  • Medicinal plants
  • Ethnobotany
  • Ethnoveterinary
  • Lesser Himalayas
  • Pakistan

Botanical ethnoveterinary therapies in three districts of the Lesser Himalayas of Pakistan


Journal Title:

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine


Volume 9, Number 84


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Background Ethnoveterinary knowledge is highly significant for persistence of traditional community-based approaches to veterinary care. This is of particular importance in the context of developing and emerging countries, where animal health (that of livestock, especially) is crucial to local economies and food security. The current survey documents the traditional veterinary uses of medicinal plants in the Lesser Himalayas-Pakistan. Methods Data were collected through interviews, focus groups, participant observation, and by administering questionnaires. A total of 105 informants aged between 20–75 years old who were familiar with livestock health issues (i.e. farmers, shepherds, housewives and herbalists) participated in the study. Results A total of 89 botanical taxa, belonging to 46 families, were reported to have ethnoveterinary applications. The most quoted families were Poaceae (6 taxa), Fabaceae (6), Asteraceae (5), and Polygonaceae (5). Adhatoda vasica was the most cited species (43%), followed by Trachyspermum ammi (37%), and Zanthoxylum armatum var. armatum (36%). About 126 medications were recorded against more than 50 veterinary conditions grouped into seven categories. The highest cultural index values were recorded for Trachyspermum ammi, Curcuma longa, Melia azedarach, Zanthoxylum armatum var. armatum and Adhatoda vasica. The highest informant consensus factor was found for pathologies related to respiratory and reproductive disorders. Comparison with the local plant-based remedies used in human folk medicine revealed that many of remedies were used in similar ways in local human phytotherapy. Comparison with other field surveys conducted in surrounding areas demonstrated that approximately one-half of the recorded plants uses are novel to the ethnoveterinary literature of the Himalayas. Conclusion The current survey shows a remarkable resilience of ethnoveterinary botanical knowledge in the study area. Most of the species reported for ethnoveterinary applications are wild and under threat. Thus, not only is it imperative to conserve traditional local knowledge of folk veterinary therapies for bio-cultural conservation motives, but also to assist with in-situ and ex-situ environmental conservation initiatives, which are urgently needed. Future studies that focus on the validation of efficacy of these ethnoveterinary remedies can help to substantiate emic concepts regarding the management of animal health care and for rural development programs. Keywords: Medicinal plants; Ethnobotany; Ethnoveterinary; Lesser Himalayas; Pakistan

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© 2013 Abbasi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/), which permits distribution of derivative works, making multiple copies, distribution, public display, and publicly performance, provided the original work is properly cited. This license requires credit be given to copyright holder and/or author, copyright and license notices be kept intact.

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