Pak J. Weed Sci. Res. 12(1-2):83-88, 2006

 WEEDS AND MEDICINAL PLANTS OF SHAWAR VALLEY, DISTRICT SWAT

Mohammad Islam[1], Habib Ahmad[2], Abdur Rashid[3], Abdur Razzaq1, Naveed Akhtar1 and Ikarmullah Khan[4]

 

ABSTRACT

Shawar valley located on 350 07’ to 350 22’N and 720, 29’ to 720 39’E was analyzed for weeds as will as medicinal plants. There are 49 weed plants, out of 49 weeds 30 plants are used as traditional medicines. Among these, 37 are herbs, 06 are shrubs, 03 are trees and 03 are climbers. In the primary health care these folk medicinal plants have significant role for the inhabitants of Shawar valley. Especially the people who can not afford allopathic drugs are tempted to use of such medicinal plants.

Key Words: Medicinal value, ethnobotany, Northwest Frontier Province.

 

INTRODUCTION

            The valley of Shawar lies in District Swat, Tehsil Matta in the Hindu Raj Mountains. It can be traced at 350 07’to 350 22’ and 720, 29’ to 720, 39’ North latitude and East longitude, respectively (Pers. Comm. Department of Geography, University of Peshawar, Pakistan). The total area of the valley is 4877 ha, while the total population of the valley is 20,163. Literacy rate is 12.6%; male and female education at Matric level is 200 and 13 individuals, respectively. The valley comes under the Sino Japanese Region (Ali and Qaisar, 1986; and Robert et al., 1995). Geography of the valley also shows that in the West it is bounded by Niage Dara (Dir), in the North by Dir Kohistan, in the Northeast by Beha valley. Totano Banday and  Mian Kalay Biakand in the South of Tehsil Kabal and Tehsil Matta, respectively.

            The valley comprises gently rolling topography in its Northern, Southern and Western side. Southern hilly areas are gently sloping while the Northern part moderately goes to high elevation. Precipitation is in the form of rain, monsoon in summer and heavy snowfall in winter. The area establishes west Himalayan moist types of forests (Beg and Khan, 1974). The valley has Oak, Blue Pine, Fir and Spruce forests.  

                 Its highest peak in the North is Landay Sir and Chota Sir having an altitude of 2900 m and 3900 m above sea level, respectively while mean altitude of the plain area is 1400m. Majority of the people residing in the area are Yousafzai Pukhtoon associated with very limited population of Sayed, Molla Khail and the hilly areas are inhabited by Gojer Khail. Ninety-five percent (95%) people are involved in agriculture, horticulture and cultivate their own farms while other five percent (5%) are working aboard in the Middle Eastern countries.

 

            Ethnobotanically, valley is rich in medicinal plants and most of the people are using these plants as a primary source of health care. Among these medicinal plants Acorus calamus used as stimulant, emetic, carminative and as expectorant. Similarly Adatoda vasica, Dioscorea deltoidea and Xantoxylum armatum are used for different diseases (Ur-Rahman, 1999; 2000; 2001). Hedra helix is common liana plant and its leaves contain chromium, zinc and manganese which are hypoglycemic trace elements, is reputed as a folk hypoglycemic medicinal plant. It is also known that aqueous extract of Hedra helix L. has significantly lowered the blood glucose level of alloxan_induced diabetic rabbits and also plays an important role in blood metabolism (Ibrar, 1998; 2000).   Annually a large number of medicinal plants are harvested and bought by the local shopkeepers of the valley.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Geographical information was obtained from the Department of Geography, University of Peshawar. For plant collection, cutter, newspaper, vasculum, and altimeter were taken. Plants were collected, pressed in newspapers with the help of plant presser. On the spot, local name, locality and date of collection were written. Papers were changed from time to time to absorb water from plants. Plants were transferred to herbarium sheets of standard size 14// and 16//. Plants were identified from the flora of Pakistan.

            For knowing the ethnobotanical profile of the people, a questionnaire was developed and filled through interview randomly through different walks of life i.e. farmers, Shop keepers involved in medicinal plants business, Hakims and elders of the area. With the help of questionnaire, plant uses and the indigenous knowledge regarding the traditional uses of plants was collected. The knowledge thus extracted from local people regarding their medicinal value has been tabulated in Table-1.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Present study is based on 49 species among which 30 are medicinal plants, 25 are medicinal as well as weeds and 19 are purely weeds belonging to different families and representing Dicot, Monocot and Pteridophytes. Depending upon plant habit, they were broadly divided into herbs, shrubs and trees.

            Among herbs are Acorus calmus, Adiantum capillis veneris, Ajuga bracteosa, Ajuga parviflora, Cannabis sativa, Mentha longifolia, Paeonia emodi, Plantago major, Polygonum plebejum, Rumex hastatus , Sorghum halepense, Thymus vulgaris, and Cannabis sativa while Zantoxylum armatum  a shrub.

Tree species consist of Ailanthus altissima, Pistacia integerima, Ficus carica, Juglans regia  and Zizyphus sativa Gaertn while one species of Adiantum capillus venesis belongs to Pteridophytes.

            Ethnobotanically some of the species reported here have multiple uses e.g the delicious nuts of walnuts are edible, also used in culinary preparation, fruits are mental tonic and also used as sexual tonic. Leaves and bark used for teeth cleaning, flowers are used as antiseptic while bark is used in tea factory for tea processing as dying agent. Similarly Berberis lycium is used for jaundice, cooling agent, used for ulcer, colic, aphrodisiac and its fruits are used by children as sour food, hedge plant and used as fuel plants. So plants are natural custodian natural chemical compound and used for multi purposes (Table-1). 

Table-1. Botanical names, local names, parts used and local uses of plants of Shawar valley.

S.#

Botanical Name

Family Name

Local/Eng. Name

Part used

Manner of Local Uses

1

Acorus calamus L.

Araceae

Skhawaja/Radix acori

Rhizome

Rhizome is powdered and very effective for constipation.

2

Adiantum venustum L.

Pteridaceae

Sumbal

Plant

Plants are boiled and its decoction is used for coldness of body temperature.

3

Ailanthus altissima (Mill) Swingle.

Simarubaceae

Tora Shandi

Leaves

i. Leaves are kept in seed boxes to prevent attack of  lice

ii. It is used as anthelmintic and in dysentery.

4

Ajuga bracteosa

Wall. ex Bath.

Lamiaceae

Buti/ Kauri booti

Plant

i. Fresh plant is powdered and its extract is used before dinner for ulcer, colic and jaundice.

ii. Dry powder is also used for above purpose.

5

A. parviflora Bath.

Lamiaceae

Buti / Kauri booti

Plant

As above

6

Amaranthus caudatus L.

Amarantraceae

Chalwaii

Plant

i. It is used as diuretic, blood purifier and antispasmodic.

7

Avena fatua L.

Poaceae

Jamdar/ Oat

Seeds

Seeds are nerve tonic, stimulant and laxative.

8

Berberis lycium Royal

Berberidaceae

Kwary/ Babaery

Roots, Rhizome

Bark of roots are removed, powdered and used for ulcer, colic.

ii. Used for internal and external wounds

iii. Used for body cooldness and also as a sexual tonic.

9

Bromus japonicus Thumb ex Murr

Poaceae

Jokai

Young shoots

i. Young shoots are used for diarrhea.

ii. whole plant, in bundle are used for cleaning houses.

10

Cannabis sativa L.

Cannabinaceae

Bhang/ Hemp- hang

Whole plant

i. Plant dried and burnt to protect the family members from bad intentions of other people.

ii. It is used as narcotic and stimulant.

11

Cedrela serrata Role

Melaceae

Skhawona

Plant

It is used for decreasing gases pressure in cattle.

12

Cuscuta reflexa Roxb

Cuscutaceae

Jamaldarai/ Ghas bel

Plant

Used as insecticide and antilice agent. Fodder.

13

Equisetum arvense L.

Equisetaceae

Bandakae/Horse tail

Plant

Used as a hair tonic.

14

Ficus carica

Moraceae

Enzar/ Engeer

Milky juice of leaves

i. Juice is applied for extracting deep plant spines from feet. It looses spines which easily come out from body.

ii. Over eating of fruits causes diarrhea in human being.

15

Hedra helix L

Araliaceae

ZalyaeIvy

Leaves

Leaves extract used for curing diabetes.

ii. Used for blood pressure and blood purifier.

16

Juglans  regia L.

Juglandaceae

Ghwaz/ Walnut

Fruits, leaves, bark

i. Leaves and bark is used for cleaning teeth.

ii. Flower prevents fungal attack in between toes as an antiseptic.

iii. Fruits are used for increasing mental and sexual capacity.

iv. It exudes chemicals which depress growth and eliminate surrounding plants.

17

Malva nglecta Waller

Malvaceae

Paneraik/ Mallow

Plant

Used as vegetable and anti-spasmodic.

18

Mentha longifolia L.

Lamiaceae

Vanalai/ Mint

Plant

i. Plants are dried, powdered and used for diarrhea.

ii. Powdered Mentha plus Zanthoxylum (Dambara) are poured on fried, boiled eggs and  used for chest disease.

19

Paeonia emodi Wall

Ranunculaceae

Mamikh/ Himalayan peony

Rhizome

Rhizome is boiled in milk and the extract is used for backbone ache and good sexual tonic.

20

Pistacia integerrima Stewart ex Brandis.

Anacardaceae

Shnai

Bark

Bark is removed and boiled and the extract is used for jaundice and hepatitis.

21

Plantago major L

Plantaginaceae

Ghata Jabi

Leaves

Leaves are warmed and added with warm wet flour of maize and placed on the ulcer for rupture.

22

Polygonium glabrum L.

Polygonaceae

Palpolak

Whole plant

Fresh plants are powdered and then stirred in the standing water for hunting fishes.

23

Portulaca oleracea L.

Portulacaceae

Warkharae

Plant, Seeds

i. Refrigerants, used in cure liver, kidney.

ii. Seeds are demulcent, diuretic and wormifuge.

24

Rumex dentatus L.

 

Polygonaceae

Shalkhay/ Dock

Leaves

i. Leaves are used in vegetable to prevent from deterioration and kept them in good condition for one to two days.

ii. Over eating of plants cause diarrhea in cattle’s.

25

R. hastatus.

Polygonaceae

Tarokay/ Dock

Leaves and shoots

Diuretic, refrigerant and used as cooling agent.

26

Solanum nigrum L.

Solanaceae

Karmacho

Plant

Used for curing hepatitis, soar throat and used as pot herb.

27

Stellaria media L.

Staphylaceae

Chechra/ Stitchwort

Plant

Used as vegetable and laxative.

28

Thymus serpyllum

Lamiaceae

Ghra sparkay/ Thyme

Whole plant

i. Plants are ribbed in the bee’s boxes to attract bees because of its pleasant smell.

ii. Used for making green tea.

iii. Visited by honey bees.

29

Zanthoxylum armatum. DC.

Rutaceae

Dambara/ Prickly ash

Fruits

i. Fruits are powdered and eaten with boiled egg for chest infection.

ii. It is mixed with Mentha spp and salt used as good digestive.

30

Zizyphus arvensis Gaertn

Rhamnaceae

Markhanre

Fruits and leaves

i. Used for anti- diabetes and fruits are edible.

ii. Visited by honeybees.

 

PURE WEEDS

31.Gallium aparine (Fumeraceae) 32 Calendula arvensis (Asteraceae) 33.Capsella bursa- pastoris (L.)Medic (Arassicaceae) 34. Chenopodium album (Chenopodiaceae) 35. Convolvulus arvensis L. (Convolvulaceae) 36. Cynodon dactylon L. (Poaceae) 37. Digera arvesies Forsk (Amaranthaceae) 38. Euphorbia helioscopia L. (Euphorbiaceae) 39. Fumaria indica (Haussk) Pugsley (Fumeraceae) 40.Lathyus sativus L. (Leguminosae) 41. Impatien bicolor Royle (Balsaminaceae) 42. Lathyrus cicera L. (Leguminosae)  43. Medicago denticulata (Leguminosae) 44. Populus alba (Salicaceae)45. Ranunculus muricatus L. (Ranunculaceae) 46. Salvia morrerftina (Lamiaceae) 47. Sonchus aspar (Asteraceae) 48.Verbascum thaspus L. (Scrophulariaceae) and 49. Xanthium strumarium (Asteraceae) are pure weeds.

WEEDS WITH MEDICINAL VALUE

Acorus calamus L., Ailanthus altissima (Mill) Swingle, Amaranthus caudatus L. Avena fatua L , Berberis lycium Royal , Bromus japonicus Thumb ex Murr , Cannabis sativa L., Cedrela serrata Role, Cuscuta reflexa Roxb , Equisetum arvense L., Hedra helix L , Malva nglecta Waller, Mentha longifolia (L.) Huds, Plantago major L., Polygonum plebejum L., Portulaca oleracea L., Rumex hastatus L., Rumex acetosa L., Salvia moocroftiana, Sorghum helepense (L.) Pers., Solanum nigrum L., Stellaria media, Zanthoxylum armatum. DC. and Zizyphus sativa Gaertn, are weeds with medicinal value.

 
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[1]Department of Botany, University of Peshawar, Pakistan.

[2]Department of Botany, Hazara University, Dhodial, Mansehra, Pakistan.

[3]Centre of Plant Biodiversity, University of Peshawar, Pakistan

[4]Department of Weed Science, NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Pakistan

 

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