Open Access

Ecological status and traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary of Garhwal Himalaya, India

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine20139:1

DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-9-1

Received: 18 July 2012

Accepted: 28 December 2012

Published: 2 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Himalayan forests are the most important source of medicinal plants and with useful species for the local people. Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS) is situated in the interior part of the Garhwal Himalayan region. The presented study was carried out in Madhmeshwar area of KWLS for the ecological status of medicinal plants and further focused on the ethnomedicinal uses of these plants in the study area.

Methods

Ecological information about ethnomedicinal plants were collected using random quadrats in a random sampling technique along an altitudinal gradient in the KWLS. Information on medicinal properties of plants encountered in the present study was generated by questionnaire survey and was also compared with relevant literature.

Results

A total of 152 medicinally important plant species were reported, in which 103 were found herbs, 32 shrubs and 17 were tree species which represented 123 genera of 61 families. A total of 18 plant species fell into the rare, endangered (critically endangered) and vulnerable status categories.

Conclusion

The present study documented the traditional uses of medicinal plants, their ecological status and importance of these plants in the largest protected area of Garhwal Himalaya. This study can serve as baseline information on medicinal plants and could be helpful to further strengthen the conservation of this important resource.

Keywords

Ethnomedicinal plants use Ecological status Resources Altitudinal zone

Introduction

The forests of India have been the source of traditional medicines for millennia. Of the 17,000 species of higher plants described in India, 7500 are known for their medicinal uses [1]. The Charak Samhita, a document on herbal therapy written about 300 BC, reports on the production of 340 herbal drugs and their indigenous uses [2]. The use of alternative medicine is growing because of its moderate costs and increasing faith in herbal medicine. Allopathic medicine can cure a wide range of diseases, however, its high prices and side-effects are causing many people to return to herbal medicines which tend to have fewer side effects [3]. A great amount of traditional knowledge about the use of medicinal plant species is still carried and orally transmitted by indigenous peoples. Regions with less accessibility and a comparatively slow rate of development, such as and mountainous areas like the Himalayas are excellent examples [4, 5]. Because of the fast acceleration of market demand for herbal medicines, and recent controversies related to access, benefit sharing and bio-piracy, the documentation of indigenous knowledge is of urgent priority [610]. Indigenous knowledge, supplemented by the latest scientific insights, can offer new holistic models of sustainable development that are economically viable, environmentally benign and socially acceptable [11]. Currently, approximately 25% of allopathic drugs are derived from plant based compounds, and many others are synthetic analogues built on prototype compounds isolated from plant species [12]. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as many as 80% of the world’s people depend on traditional medicine to meet their primary health care needs [13].

The Himalayan range in the northern part of India harbours a great diversity of medicinal plants. Of the approximately 8000 species of angiosperms, 44 species of gymnosperms and 600 species of pteridophytes that have been reported in the Indian Himalaya [14], 1748 species are known for their medicinal properties [15]. The state of Uttarakhand is a part of north-western Himalaya, and still maintains a dense vegetation cover (65%). The maximum species of medicinal plants have been reported from Uttarakhand [16, 17], followed by Sikkim and North Bengal [15]. The trans-Himalaya in contrast sustains about 337 species of medicinal plants [4], which are low compared to other areas of the Himalaya due to the distinct geography and ecological marginal conditions [18]. Recent years have seen a sudden rise in the demand of herbal products and plant based drugs across the world resulting in the heavy exploitation of medicinal plants. Habitat degradation, unsustainable harvesting and over-exploitation to meet the demands of the mostly illegal trade in medicinal plants have already led to the extinction of more than 150 plant species in the wild [19]. More than 90% of plant species used in the herbal industries are extracted from the wild, and about 70% of the medicinal plants of Indian Himalaya are subject to destructive harvesting [20, 21], and the majority of these plants stems from sub-alpine and alpine regions of the Himalaya [21]. The importance of ethnobiological knowledge on species-ecology can provide leads for new paths in scientific research and conservation, and has received growing attention in resource management worldwide [22, 23]. International agencies such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Orga-nization (UNESCO) as part of their people and plants initiative, are promoting research on ethnobotanical knowledge and the integration of people’s perceptions and practices in resource management at the local level [24].

The Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS) is rich in biological diversity and is one of the most important regions of Garhwal Himalaya. The area of KWLS selected for this study is a particularly remote area, and the villagers residing in the area are fully dependent on forest resources, especially ethnomedicines for their daily livelihoods. Some ethnomedicinal studies on plants in this part of Himalayan region have been published, but hardly any ecological studies have also been carried out. The aim of the present study was to assess the ecological status of ethnomedicinal plants in a part of the largest protected area of Garhwal Himalaya.

Materials and methods

Study area

The present study was carried out in Madhmeshwar area, which is the interior part of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS) in the Western Himalaya of Chamoli-Rudraprayag districts of Uttarakhand, India. KWLS was established in 1972 and is situated in the north-eastern part of the Garhwal Himalayas between 30°25-30°41 N, 78°55-79°22 E. The Sanctuary falls under the IUCN management Category IV (Managed Nature Reserve) in the Biogeographical Province 2.38.12 of Himalayan highlands. KWLS is one of the largest protected areas with 97517.80 ha (25293.70 ha in Chamoli district and 72224.10 ha in Rudraprayag district) in the Western Himalaya [19]. The sanctuary lies in the upper catchment of the Alaknanda and Mandakini Rivers, which are major tributaries of Ganges. It is bordered by high mountain peaks, e.g. Kedarnath (6940 m), Mandani (6193 m) and Chaukhamba (7068 m) and harbors extensive alpine meadows, in particular Trijuginarayan, Kham, Mandani, Pandavshera, Manpai and Bansinarayan in the north, and several dense broad leaved oak mixed forest stands in the south. The present study represents data from a transect from the base of the mountain to the top in the Madhmaheshwer area between the coordinates 30°3542-30°3812N, 79°1000-79°1300E (Figure 1). The area receives 3000 mm of annual precipitation, of about 60% fall during the monsoon season (June-August). The relative humidity varies from 35 to 85% annually. There is moderate to heavy snowfall during December-February, even in low-altitude areas. The mean maximum temperature varies between 4°C (January) and 33.5°C (June).
https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-9-1/MediaObjects/13002_2012_Article_302_Fig1_HTML.jpg
Figure 1

Map of the study area.

Ecological analysis of plant species

The vegetation analysis of ethnomedicinal plants was carried out following the stratified random sampling technique involving random quadrats. The size of the square plots was 100 m2 for trees, and nested within the main quadrats two plots of 25 m2 for shrubs and four plots of 1 m2 for herbs. The study area was divided into five altitudinal zones along the altitudinal gradient, to assess the ecological status of medicinal plant species. The frequency and density of all species was determined [25, 26].

Ethnomedicinal study of plant species

The plant species reported in the ecological studies of Madhmeshwar area were only taken for the ethnomedicinal study. A well structured questionnaire was prepared covering different questions regarding plants used for ethnomedicinal purposes. For the ethnomedicinal study only two villages were observed i.e., Gundhaar and Ransi in Madhmeshwar area and the respondents were selected randomly from the villages. Gundhaar is situated inside the sanctuary with 42 households while village Ransi is situated at the fringe of sanctuary with a total of 119 households. More than 10 percent of respondents of total population of the villages were selected for questionnaire survey. Both formal and informal discussions were carried out covering different age groups with both genders and mostly elders were involved in the interview process. The plants reported in ecological studies were also further used to collect the informations on ethnomedicinal uses with relevant available literature in Himalayan region and in a part of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary [19, 27, 28]. The plant species having ethnomedicinal values were cross checked with the Red Data Book and other publications who have categorized the plant species under various threat (ecological status) categories [2931].

Collection and identification of plant specimens

From each sampling site, all plant species encountered in the quadrats were collected, and identified with the help of local and regional floras [27, 32], while as some plants were also identified with the field guide [33]. Specimens collected during the surveys were processed in the laboratory according to [34]. These were pressed, dried in blotting sheets and poisoned with formaldehyde or mercuric chloride solution (0.5%) to protect against insect and fungal damage before mounting on the herbarium sheets. Voucher specimens were deposited in the Herbarium of Botanical Survey of India (BSD) and in the Herbarium of HNB Garhwal University Srinagar (GUH) under collector series JAB (Jahangeer Akbar Bhat). The nomenclature of the species follows “Flowering Plants of Uttarakhand - A Checklist” [35].

Results and discussion

A total of one hundred and fifty two species of medicinally important plants (Table 1) were found in the quadrats including 49 species (Table 5) reported from the villages Gundhaar and Ransi of Madhmeshwar area. One hundred and three of these were herbs, thirty two shrubs and seventeen trees (Table 1), belonging to hundred twenty three genera of sixty one families (Figure 2). The most commonly used parts of ethomedicinal plants, compiled with relevant literature were leaves (32%), roots (24%), whole plants or plant (13%), followed by fruits (9%) and seeds and flowers (6% each) (Figure 3 and Table 2). According to different reports [19, 2731] eighteen plant species encountered have to be classified as rare, endangered, critically endangered or vulnerable (Table 2): Aconitium hetrophyllum, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Podophyllum hexandrum, Rosa sericea, Roscoea alpina, Salvia hians, Saussurea auriculata, Sorbus aucuparia, Sorbus cuspidata, Synotis alatus, Bistorta amlexicaulis, Coriaria nepalensis, Hypericum choisianum and Morina longifolia were recorded as rare species, while Jurinea dolomiaea and Swertia chirayita are classified as endangered, and Polygonatum verticillatum and Zanthoxylum armatum are vulnerable (Table 1).
Table 1

Plant species with their status and the part used in different ailments

Scientific name

Accession No.

Status

Habit

Plant part used

Medicinal uses

Abies pindrow Royle.

JAB-GUH-20578

 

T

Bark extract2

Cough & Bronchitis2

Aconitium hetrophyllum Wallich

JAB-BSD-114039

R1, Ce3, Vu6

H

Root5

Fever, cough,stomachache5

Aesculus indica (Wall. ex Cambess.) Hook.f.

JAB-GUH-20435

 

T

Seed paste2

Rheumatic Pain2

Ainsliaea apetra DC.

JAB-GUH-20677

 

H

Root extract2

Fever, painful urination2

Ainsliaea latifolia (D.Don) Sch.-Bip.

JAB-GUH-20680

 

H

Root decoction2

Colic2

Anaphalis contorta (D.Don) Hook.f.

JAB-GUH-20437

 

H

(Leaf & heads past, plant smoke)2

(Cuts, wounds & boils, insect repellent)2

Anaphalis margaritaceae (L.) Benth

JAB-GUH-20458

 

H

(Leaf & head paste)2

(Cuts, wounds & boils)2

Anaphalis triplinervis (Sims.) C.B. Clarke

JAB-GUH-20453

 

H

Leaf juice2, Flower5

Laceration of toes2, Dressing wounds5

Anemone obtusiloba D.Don

JAB-GUH-20619

 

H

Root decoction2

Diarrhoea2

Anemone rivularis Buch.-Ham. ex DC

JAB-GUH-20613

 

H

(Leaf past & juice)2 Leaves5

(Wounds5, sores & ear ache in local therapy)2

 

JAB-BSD-114043

    

Arachne cordifolia (Decne.) Hurusawa

JAB-GUH-20527

 

S

Leaf & Stem paste2

Wounds & Antidote to snake bite2

Arisaema jacquemontii Blume

JAB-GUH-20432

 

H

Fruits2, Tuber5

(Antidote of poisonous mushrooms & snake bite)2, (Cough, kidney &skin diseases)5

Artemisia japonica Thunb.

JAB-GUH-20446

 

H

(Leaves & flower tops)2

Incense & insecticide2

Artemisia roxburghiana Bess.

JAB-GUH-20468

 

H

Plant extract2

(Antipyretic, Tonic & also rubbed on skin allergy)2

Asparagus filicinus Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don

JAB-GUH-20436

 

H

Root tuberous2

(Diabetes, diarrhoea & dysentery)2

 

JAB-BSD-114062

    

Aster peduncularis Wallich

JAB-GUH-20687

 

H

(Plant extract & Root powder)2

(Renal-calculi & stomachic)2

Barleria cristata L.

JAB-GUH-20417

 

H

(Root decoction, Root & Leaves paste)2

(Bronchitis & pneumonia, wound swelling)2

Begonia picta Smith

JAB-GUH-20411

 

H

Plant decoction2

Colic & dyspepsia2

Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb.

JAB-GUH-20650

 

H

(Root5 rhizomatous)2

(Tonic, febrifuge, digestive & cutaneous disorders)2, (Fevers, diarrhoea & pulmonary infections)5

Bidens bipinnata L.

JAB-GUH-20440

 

H

Leaf juice2

(Leprosy initial stages, lactating mothers, cuts)2

Bidens biternata (Lour.) Merr. & Sherff

JAB-GUH-20441

 

H

Leaf juice2

(Leprosy initial stages, lactating mothers, cuts)2

Bidens pilosa L.

JAB-GUH-20444

 

H

(Plant extract & herbs of plants)2

(Cough & Bronchitis, leucoderma)2

Bistorta amplexicaulis (D.Don) Greene

JAB-GUH-20600

 

H

(Plant decoction & Leaf paste)2

(Cause abortion, wounds & relieves dysentery)2

Bistorta vaccinifolia (Wall. ex Meisn.) Greene.

JAB-BSD-114056

R2

H

Root decoction2

Tuberculosis2

Blumea lanceolaria (Roxb.) Druce

JAB-GUH-20679

 

H

Leaf paste2

Wounds & cuts2

Buddleja asiatica Lour.

JAB-GUH-20485

 

S

Leaf extract & Roots2

Skin diseases & Abortifacient2

Bupleurum falcatum L.

JAB-GUH-20427

 

H

Root decoction2

Fever & liver troubles2

Calanthe tricarinata Lindl.

JAB-GUH-20573

 

H

(Leaf paste Leaves & Pseudo-bulbs)2

(Sores & eczema, aphrodisiac)2

Callicarpa arborea Roxb.

JAB-GUH-20672

 

T

Bark2

Skin ailments2

Cannabis sativa L.

JAB-GUH-20488

 

H

Flowers2

Intoxicating agent2

Carpinus viminea Lindl.

JAB-GUH-20503

 

T

Leaves5

Bone fracture5

Clematis buchananiana DC.

JAB-GUH-20611

 

S

Leaf paste2

Skin ailments2

Clematis montana Buch.-Ham. ex DC.

JAB-GUH-20618

 

H

Leaf extract2

Diabetes & urinary troubles2

Clinopodium umbrosum (M.Bieb.) C. Koch

JAB-GUH-20558

 

H

(Plant extract & Leaf infusion)2

(Astringent, carminative, Blood purifier & Gastric troubles)2

Corallodiscus lanuginosus (Wall. ex DC.) B.L. Burtt

JAB-BSD-114064

 

H

Leaves2

Kidney stone2

Coriaria nepalensis Wallich

JAB-GUH-20502

R2

S

Fruits2

Emetic2

Cotoneaster microphyllus Wall. ex Lindl.

JAB-GUH-20640

 

S

Leaf, Fruits & Root Paste2

Diarrhoea, Cuts & Wounds2

Cyathula capitata Moq.

JAB-GUH-20422

 

H

(Leaf extract & Urticle)2

Emetic & abortifacient2

Cyathula tomentosa Moq.

JAB-GUH-20421

 

H

Leaf extract2

(Emetic property & given in snake bite)2

Cynoglossum glochidiatum Wall. ex Benth.

JAB-BSD-114059

 

H

Root extract2

Dyspepsia & digestive disorders2

Cynoglossum lanceolatum Forssk.

JAB-GUH-20481

 

H

Plant infusion2

Cold & cough2

Debregeasia salicifolia (D.Don) Rendle

JAB-GUH-20666

 

S

Bark2

Plaster for Bone Fracture2

Delphinium vestitum Wall. ex Royle

JAB-GUH-20616

 

H

Plant Stem5

Body swelling5

Desmodium elagans DC.

JAB-GUH-20531

 

S

Root infusion & Roots2

Epilepsy & Carminatives2

Deutzia compacta Craib.

JAB-GUH-20541

 

S

Leaves2

Diuretic2

Dicliptera bupleuroides Nees

JAB-GUH-20418

 

H

(Leaf5 paste & juice)2

(Wounds cough & gastro-enteritis)2 (Fever, skin diseases & stomachache)5

Dipsacus inermis Wallich

JAB-GUH-20483

 

H

Root paste2

Leucoderma & contusions2

Elephantopus scaber L.

JAB-GUH-20448

 

H

(Root extract & leaves)2

(Fever, stops vomiting, tonic for blood diseases)2

Elsholtzia fruticosa (D.Don) Rehder.

JAB-GUH-20551

 

S

Seeds2

Sciatica reliever2

Elsholtzia strobilifera Benth.

JAB-GUH-20549

 

H

(Plant5 paste)2

(Bruises & wounds5)2

Eupatorium odenophorum Spreng.

JAB-GUH-20452

 

S

Leaves2,5

Wounds2, Skin diseases5

Euphorbia chamaesyce L.

JAB-GUH-20410

 

H

Plant juice2

(Constipation & dysentery to infants)2

Euphorbia hypericifolia L.

JAB-GUH-20529

 

H

Leaf infusion2

(Dysentery, diarrhoea, menorrhagia)2

Euphorbia pilosa Linn.

JAB-GUH-20528

 

H

(Root decoction & Fruits)2, Seed & Leaves5

Constipation & emetic2, Food poisoning5

Fagopyrum dibotrys (D.Don) Hara

JAB-GUH-20597

 

H

Leaf paste2

Insect bite2

Fragaria nubicola Lindl. ex Lacaita

JAB-GUH-20628

 

H

Leaf juice2

Ear ache2

Galinsoga parviflora Cav.

JAB-GUH-20697

 

H

Plant extract2

Antidote of nettle sitting2

Galium aparine L.

JAB-GUH-20646

 

H

(Leaf extract & plant5 waste)2,

Astringent5, skin diseases2

Galium asperifolium Wallich.

JAB-GUH-20648

 

H

Plant waste2

Skin ailments2

Geranium wallichianum D. Don ex Sweet

JAB-BSD-114067

 

H

Root5 juice2

(Otorrhoea & opthalmia)2, (Dysentery & cold)5

Gerbera gossypina (Royle) P. Beauv.

JAB-GUH-20449

 

H

(Leaf juice & paste)2

(Cuts, wounds, plaster on bone fracture)2

 

JAB-BSD-114060

    

Girardiana diversifolia (Link) Friis

JAB-GUH-20670

 

H

Leaf juice2, Plant whole5

Gonorrhoea2, Diuretic5

Gonatanthus pumilus (D.Don) Engl. & Krause

JAB-GUH-20431

 

H

Root tuber paste2

Burns & wounds2

Gonostegia hirta (Blume) Miq

JAB-GUH-20669

 

H

Roots2

Plaster on fractured bones2

Hippophae salicifolia D.Don

JAB-GUH-20520

 

T

Fruits2,5

(Dandruff)2 & (Cardiac trouble)5

Holmskioldia sanguinea Retz.

JAB-GUH-20673

 

S

Leaf paste & Roots2

Body Swelling & Febrifuge2

Hypericum choisianum Wall. ex N. Robson

JAB-GUH-20691

R2

S

Leaf powder2

Fever2

Impatiens scabrida DC.

JAB-GUH-20474

 

H

Plant Stem2

Cause abortion2

Indigofera heterantha Wall. ex Brandis

JAB-GUH-20532

 

S

Leaf juice2

Diarrhoea, Dysentery & Cough2

Inula cappa (Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don) DC.

JAB-GUH-20456

 

S

Roots2

Suppressed urination2

Juglans regia L.

JAB- GUH-20520

 

T

Leaves2 , (Bark & Roots)5

Fungicide & Insecticide2 , Tooth ache5

Jurinea dolomiaea Boiss.

JAB-GUH-20443

E3

H

Root5

Incense, fever5

Lamium album L.

JAB-GUH-20559

 

H

Plant decoction2, Flower5

Contraceptive2, Bleeding after childbirth5

Leptodermis Lanceolata Wallich

JAB-GUH-20643

 

S

Bark paste2

Migraines2

Leucas lanata Benth.

JAB-GUH-20553

 

H

Plant infusion2

Whooping cough2

Leycesteria formosa Wallich

JAB-GUH-20494

 

S

Leaf paste2

Dandruff & Lice in hair2

Lindenbergia indica (L.) Vatke

JAB-GUH-20656

 

H

Leaves2

(Bronchitis, Cuts & wounds)2

Lonicera angustifolia Wall. ex DC.

JAB-GUH-20495

 

S

Fruits2

Gastric troubles of cattle2

Lyonia ovalifolia (Wallich) Drude

JAB-GUH-20524

 

T

Seed paste2

Wounds & Boils2

Maianthemum purpureum (Wall.) La Frankie

JAB-GUH-20565

 

H

Leaf extract2

Dysmenorrhoea2

Morina longifolia Wall. ex DC.

JAB-GUH-20571

R2

H

(Root5 paste & dried roots)2

(Wounds & incense)2, (Burns & boils)5

Myrica esculenta Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don

JAB-GUH-20702

 

T

Bark2,4 ,Leaves5 & Fruit4,5

(Intoxicate to fishes)2 (Vit. C, Asthama, Bronchitis, Diarrhoea & tooth ache)4 (Skin diseases & wounds)5

Neolitsea pallens (D.Don) Momiyama & Hara

JAB-GUH-20563

 

T

Fruits2

Scabies & Eczema2

Nepeta ciliaris Benth.

JAB-GUH-20552

 

H

(Leaf & seed decoction)2

Fever2

Nomocharis oxypetala (Royle.) E.H.Wilson.

JAB-GUH-20557

 

H

Bulb5

Vigorous5

Origanum vulgare L.

JAB-GUH-20561

 

H

Plant extract2, Leaves5

(Bronchitis, colic & diarrhoea)2, Toothache, swelling5

Paeonia emodii Wall. ex Royle

JAB-GUH-20575

 

H

(Roots & flower infusion)2, Tuber& leaves5

(Whooping cough, diarrhoea, intestinal spasms)2, Uterine diseases5

Parnassia nubicola Wall. ex Royle

JAB-GUH-20539

 

H

Root5 paste2

Antidote of snake bite2, Boils5

Pedicularis hoffmeisteri Klotz.

JAB-GUH-20657

 

H

Plant whole5

Food poisoning5

Persicaria polystachya (Wall. ex Meissn.) H. Gross

JAB-GUH-20598

 

S

Leaf paste2

Laceration of toes2

Phalaris minor Retz.

JAB-GUH-20591

 

H

Root paste2

Wounds2

Picrorhiza kurrooa Royle ex Benth.

JAB-GUH-20654

R1, CE3,Vu6

H

Root5

Fever, stomachache5

Pimpinella acuminata (Edgew.) C.B. Clarke

JAB-GUH-20428

 

H

Plant extract2

Diarrhoea & dysentery2

Pimpinella diversifolia DC.

JAB-GUH-20426

 

H

Plant extract2

(Digestive disorders, cold & cough)2

Pinus roxburghii Sargent

JAB-GUH-20701

 

T

Saw Dust2 & Aerial parts4

(Asthma & Bronchitis)2 , (Resin for cracked toes)4

Plantago depressa Willd.

JAB-GUH-20580

 

H

(Leaf & seed paste)2

(Cuts, wounds, piles)2

Plantago himalaica Pilger.

JAB-GUH-20579

 

H

Leaves5

Dysentery5

Podophyllum hexandrum Royle.

JAB-GUH-20592

R1,E3, E6

H

Root5

Wounds5

Polygonatum verticillatum (L.) All.

JAB-GUH-20564

Vu3

H

(Root5 paste & powder)2

(Gastric problems5, wounds)2

Primula denticulata Sm.

JAB-GUH-20606

 

H

(Flower & root paste)2

(Diabetes & urinary ailments, lice killing)2

Prinsepia utilis Royle

JAB-GUH-20413

 

S

(Seed5 oil)2 & (Root5-bark)2

(Rheumatic pain, Diarrhoea)2 & (Pile, Stomach disorders)5

Pyrus pashia Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don

JAB- GUH-20699

 

T

Fruits2,4,5 & Bark4

(Digestive disorder)2 ,5(Astringent, Laxative, Anthelmintic, Febrifuge)4

Ranunculus hirtellus Royle.

JAB-GUH-20620

 

H

Plant paste2

Wounds2

Reinwardtia indica Dumort.

JAB-GUH-20566

 

H

Flowers2

Tongue wash2

Rhamnus virgatus Roxb.

JAB-GUH-20624

 

S

Bark paste & Fruits2

Eczema & Ring Worm, Emetic & Purgative2

Rhododendron arboreum Smith

JAB-GUH-20521

 

T

Flower2,4 , Bark2, & (Young Shoots)5

(Digestive and respiratory disorder)2 (tonic for heart, diarrhoea & dysentery)4 (Headache, Blood dysentery)5

Rhus javanica L.

JAB-GUH-20424

 

S

Fruits & Bark Paste2

Colic & Cholera, Swelling & Wounds2

Rosa sericea Lindl.

JAB-GUH-20626

R2

S

Flower juice2 & Fruits5

Bowel complaints2, (Headaches & Liver complaints)5

Roscoea alpina Royle

JAB-BSD-114063

R2

H

(Plant extract, leaf powder)2, Root5

(Tonic, cuts & wounds of cattle)2, (urinary diseases & tuberculosis)5

Roylea cinerea (D.Don) Baill.

JAB-GUH-20556

 

S

Leaves decoction2

Malarial fever2

Rubia manjith Roxb. ex Fleming

JAB-GUH-20647

 

S

(Roots5 & Flowers)2

(Tonic & Astringent, Bacillary Dysentery)2, (Lower blood pressure, Kidney stone)5

Rubus nepalensis (Hook.f.) Kuntze

JAB-GUH-20625

 

H

Root paste2

Burns & scalds2

Rubus niveus Thunb

JAB-GUH-20638

 

S

Fruit extract & Fruit juice2

Dysmenorrhoea & Antidote of snake bite2

Rumex hastatus D.Don

JAB-GUH-20603

 

H

Leaf extract2

(Cuts & wounds, nettle sitting reliever)2

Rumex nepalensis Spreng.

JAB-GUH-20602

 

H

Leaf5 infusion2

(Dysmenorrhoea, stomach ache)2, Etching5

Salvia hians Royle ex Benth.

JAB-GUH-20555

R2

H

Leaf juice2, Root5

(Arthritic, pain & eczema, body swelling)2, (cold, coughs & anxiety)5

Salvia nubicola Wall. ex Sw.

JAB-GUH-20560

 

H

(Leaf paste, Root5 extract)2

(Wounds, cold & cough)2, Fever5

Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn.

JAB-GUH-20649

 

T

Fruit2,4 & Seed4

Hair2, (Expectorant, antiepileptic, Emetic, febrifuge & Dental cares)4

Sarcococca saligna (D.Don) Muell.-Arg.

JAB-GUH-20486

 

S

Leaves2, Roots5

Joint pain2, Bawseer5

Saussurea albescens (DC.) Sch.-Bip.

JAB-GUH-20466

 

H

Flower heads2

Bronchitis reliever2

Saussurea auriculata (Spreng. ex DC.) Sch.-Bip.

JAB-BSD-114072

R2

H

Leaf paste2

Venereal diseases2

Saxifraga diversifolia Wall. ex Ser.

JAB-BSD-14071

 

H

Root extract2

Vermifuge2

Selinum candollii DC.

JAB-GUH-20409

 

H

Root5 powder2

(Asthma, cough, hysteria)2, Toothache5

Senecio graciliflorus DC.

JAB-GUH-20462

 

H

(Leaf paste & Juice of heads)2

(Ringworm diseases & insect bites, pussed ear)2

Silene edgeworthii Bocquet.

JAB-GUH-20499

 

H

(Leaf & young shoots juice)2

Eye infections2

Solanum suratteuse Burm.

JAB-GUH-20660

 

H

(Fruits & flower buds)2

(Fever, cough, asthama, gonorrhoea, eye ailments)2

Solidago virgaurea L.

JAB-BSD-114061

 

H

(Leaves & herb juice, Chewed roots)2

(Kidney troubles, asthma, rheumatism, wounds, throat irritation)2

Sorbaria tomentosa (Lindl.) Rehder

JAB-GUH-20637

 

S

Fruits (smoke)2

Asthama2

Sorbus aucuparia L.

JAB-GUH-20632

R2

T

Fruit extract2

Cough & Cold2

Sorbus cuspidata (Spach) Hedlund

JAB-GUH-20634

R2

T

Bark decoction2

Fever2

Swertia chirayita (Roxb. ex Fleming) Karsten

JAB-GUH-20538

E3, Vu6

H

Leaves5

Blood diseases5

Swertia ciliata (G.Don) Burtt.

JAB-BSD-114044

 

H

Plant extract2, Leaves5

Malaria2, Blood purifier5

Synotis alatus (Wall. ex DC.) C. Jeffrey & Chen.

JAB-GUH-20681

R2

H

Plant decoction2

Fever2

Taraxacum officinale Weber.

JAB-GUH-20465

 

H

Root5 extract2

(Migraines, hepatitis & head ache)2, Blood purifier5

Taxus baccata L.

JAB-GUH-20661

 

T

Bark2,5 & Bark Paste2

(Plaster on fractured bones Headache)2 & (Breast Pile)5

Triumfetta rhomboidea Jacq.

JAB-GUH-20662

 

H

(Root juice, Fruits & Leaves)2

(Cuts, delivery facilitation)2

Urena lobata L.

JAB-GUH-20568

 

H

Root paste2

(Body pain & rheumatism)2

Urtica ardens Link.

JAB-GUH-20668

 

H

(Seed oil & Leaf extract)2

(Sciatica, rheumatism, skin ailments, hair-wash for avoiding baldness)2

Urtica dioica L.

JAB-GUH-20664

 

H

(Seed oil & Leaf extract)2, Root5

(Sciatica, rheumatism, skin ailments, hair-wash for avoiding baldness)2, Boils5

Valeriana hardwickii Wallich

JAB-GUH-20671

 

H

(Root5 decoction & Root paste)2

(Urinary disorder, joint pains)2, Wounds5

Verbascum thapsus L.

JAB-GUH-20652

 

H

(Plant extract & Seeds)2, Leaf & flower5

(Asthma, bronchitis, narcotic)2, (Ulcers, tumors & piles)5

Vernonia anthelmintica (L.) Willd.

JAB-GUH-20455

 

H

Leaf powder2

(Intestinal disorder, fever & skin ailments)2

Vernonia cinerea (L.) Less.

JAB-GUH-20407

 

H

(Leaf extract & seeds)2

(Dysentery, cold & cough)2

Veronica anagallis-aquatica Linn.

JAB-GUH-20658

 

H

Plant juice2

(Cuts, burns & sores)2

Viburnum cotinifolium D.Don

JAB-GUH-20496

 

T

Bark decoction2

Hepatic & digestive disorder2

Viburnum erubescens Wall. ex DC.

JAB-GUH-20490

 

S

Leaves2

Insecticide2

Viburnum grandiflorum Wall ex DC.

JAB-GUH-20492

 

S

Bark Decoction2

Hepatic troubles2

Viburnum nervosum D.Don

JAB-GUH-20493

 

S

Bark Decoction2

Menorrhagia2

Viola canescens Wallich

JAB-GUH-20690

 

H

(Plant4 decoction, Root & Leaf5 juice)2

(Malarial fever, bronchitis, asthma, emetic, cuts & wounds)2, (Headache,cold, cough & malaria)5, (Expectorant, antipyretic, diaphoretic)4

Woodfordia fruticosa (L.) Kurz

JAB-GUH-20567

 

S

Leaves & bark, Dry flowers2

Febrifuge, Haemorrhoids2

Zanthoxylum armatum DC

JAB-GUH-20460

Vu3

S

Leaves & Fruits2 (Seed & Bark)5

Mouth wash2 & tooth ache2,5 (Infection in stored grain)5

Abbreviation Habit: T Tree, S = Shrub, H = Herb Status: R = Rare, Vu = Vulnerable, Ce = Critically Endangered, E = Endangered. Superscript: (1) = Red Data Book (IUCN, 1993), (2) = Gaur 1999, (3) = National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB, 2003), (4) = Joshi et al. 2010, (5) = Singh & Rawat 2011, (6) = Semwal et al. 2007.) J.A.B = Jahangeer Akbar Bhat, GUH = Garhwal University Herbarium, BSD = Botanical Survey Dehradun.

https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-9-1/MediaObjects/13002_2012_Article_302_Fig2_HTML.jpg
Figure 2

Total numbers of species, genera and families of plants having medicinal values.

https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-9-1/MediaObjects/13002_2012_Article_302_Fig3_HTML.jpg
Figure 3

Percentage of plant parts used in preparing medicines for various ailments.

Table 2

Medicinal tree species in the study area (F- Frequency %, D- Density trees/100 m 2 )

Species

Family

Zone-I

Zone-II

Zone-III

Zone-IV

Zone-V

  

(1550-1750 m)

(2000-2200 m)

(2450-2650 m)

(2900-3100 m)

(3350-3550 m)

  

F

D

F

D

F

D

F

D

F

D

Abies pindrow

Pinaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

20

0.25

10

0.10

Aesculus indica

Hippocastanaceae

15

0.15

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Callicarpa arborea

Verbenaceae

5

0.05

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Carpinus viminea

Corylaceae

-

-

5

0.10

-

-

-

-

-

-

Hippophae salicifolia

Elaegnaceae

-

-

-

-

10

0.15

-

-

-

-

Juglans regia

Juglandaceae

5

0.15

5

0.05

-

-

-

-

-

-

Lyonia ovalifolia

Ericaceae

25

0.30

25

0.50

15

0.30

-

-

-

-

Myrica esculenta

Myricaceae

20

0.30

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Neolitsea pallens

Lauraceae

30

0.45

5

0.05

-

-

-

-

-

-

Pinus roxburghii

Pinaceae

35

0.55

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Pyrus pashia

Rosaceae

10

0.10

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Rhododendron arboreum

Ericaceae

25

0.25

50

0.90

50

1.10

-

-

-

-

Sapindus mukorossi

Sapindaceae

10

0.15

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sorbus aucuparia

Rosaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

25

0.25

Sorbus cuspidata

Rosaceae

-

-

-

-

15

0.15

-

-

-

-

Taxus baccata

Taxaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

10

0.10

-

-

Viburnum cotinifolium

Caprifoliaceae

-

-

-

-

15

0.25

25

0.35

-

-

Ecological study of plant species

Altitudinal zone-I (1550–1750 m)

In this altitudinal zone ten trees were reported having medicinal values. The highest density (0.55 trees/100 m2) and frequency (35%) was found for Pinus roxburghii followed by Neolitsea pallens (0.45 trees/100 m2 density with 30% frequency). The lowest density (0.05 trees/100 m2) and frequency (5%) was observed for Callicarpa arborea (Table 2). Sixteen medicinal shrub species were found in this altitudinal zone. The highest density and frequency (1.85 plants/25 m2 and 52.50% respectively) was recorded for Debregeasia salicifolia followed by Woodfordia fruticosa (0.58 plants/25 m2, frequency 17.50%). Arachne cordifolia and Sarcococca saligna were found with the lowest density and frequency (0.18 plants/25 m2, 7.50%) (Table 3). A total of twenty nine herb species with medicinal values were found. Among the herb species, the highest density (0.93 plants/m2) was observed for Gonatanthus pumilus followed by Rumex hastatus (0.69 plants/m2). The highest frequency was again reported for Gonatanthus pumilus (16.25%) followed by Aster peduncularis and Cyathula tomentosa (15%). The lowest density and frequency (0.05 plants/m2 and 1.25% respectively) was recorded for Valeriana hardwickii (Table 4).
Table 3

Medicinal shrub species in the study area (F- Frequency %, D- Density plants/25 m 2 )

Species

Family

Zone-I

Zone-II

Zone-III

Zone-IV

Zone-V

  

(1550-1750 m)

(2000-2200 m)

(2450-2650 m)

(2900-3100 m)

(3350-3550 m)

  

F

D

F

D

F

D

F

D

F

D

Arachne cordifolia

Euphorbiaceae

10.00

0.18

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Buddleja asiatica.

Buddlejaceae

12.50

0.43

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Clematis buchananiana

Ranunculaceae

-

-

-

-

5.00

0.20

-

-

-

-

Coriaria nepalensis

Coriariaceae

-

-

12.50

0.25

10.00

0.58

70.00

2.73

-

-

Cotoneaster microphyllus

Rosaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

17.50

0.68

33.33

0.23

Debregeasia salicifolia

Urticaceae

52.50

1.85

7.50

0.35

-

-

-

-

-

-

Desmodium elagans

Fabaceae

-

-

7.50

0.20

5.00

0.18

-

-

-

-

Deutzia compacta

Hydrangeaceae

-

-

-

-

7.50

0.30

-

-

-

-

Elsholtzia fruticosa

Lamiaceae

-

-

10.00

0.25

12.50

0.25

-

-

-

-

Eupatorium odenophorum

Asteraceae

12.50

0.48

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Holmskioldia sanguinea

Verbenaceae

10.00

0.38

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Hypericum choisianum

Hyperiaceae

10.00

0.20

5.00

0.18

-

-

-

-

-

-

Indigofera heterantha

Fabaceae

12.50

0.35

15.00

0.68

40.00

1.53

-

-

-

-

Inula cappa

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.40

-

-

-

-

Leptodermis lanceolata

Rubiaceae

15.00

0.43

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Leycesteria formosa

Caprifoliaceae

-

-

-

-

5.00

0.15

7.50

0.38

-

-

Lonicera angustifolia

Caprifoliaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

20.00

0.48

33.33

0.38

Persicaria polystachya

Polygonaceae

-

-

-

-

2.50

0.05

7.50

0.35

-

-

Prinsepia utilis

Rosaceae

10.00

0.25

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Rhamnus virgatus

Rhamnaceae

15.00

0.33

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Rhus javanica

Anacardiaceae

10.00

0.33

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Rosa sericea

Rosaceae

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.65

40.00

1.63

26.53

1.23

Roylea cinerea

Lamiaceae

15.00

0.33

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Rubia manjith

Rubiaceae

-

-

-

-

10.00

0.28

-

-

-

-

Rubus niveus

Rosaceae

10.00

0.28

17.50

0.85

35.00

1.45

-

-

-

-

Sarcococca saligna

Buxaceae

7.50

0.23

2.50

0.15

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sorbaria tomentosa

Rosaceae

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.28

-

-

-

-

Viburnum erubescens

Caprifoliacae

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.40

10.00

0.75

-

-

Viburnum grandiflorum

Caprifoliacae

-

-

-

-

15.00

0.43

32.50

1.05

-

-

Viburnum nervosum

Caprifoliacae

-

-

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.38

-

-

Woodfordia fruticosa

Lythraceae

17.50

0.58

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Zanthoxylum armatum

Rutaceae

10.00

0.33

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Table 4

Medicinal herb species in the study area (F- Frequency %, D- Density plants/m 2 )

Species

Family

Zone-I

Zone-II

Zone-III

Zone-IV

Zone-V

  

(1550-1750 m)

(2000-2200 m)

(2450-2650 m)

(2900-3100 m)

(3350-3550 m)

  

F

D

F

D

F

D

F

D

F

D

Aconitium hetrophyllum

Ranunculaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

18.75

0.33

Ainsliaea apetra

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

31.25

0.95

-

-

Ainsliaea latifolia

Asteraceae

-

-

32.50

1.30

11.25

0.16

-

-

-

-

Anaphalis contorta

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

10.00

0.20

23.75

0.69

-

-

Anaphalis margaritaceae

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

6.25

0.16

10.00

0.16

-

-

Anaphalis triplinervis

Asteraceae

6.25

0.21

8.75

0.20

-

-

-

-

-

-

Anemone obtusiloba

Ranunculaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

15.00

0.26

Anemone rivularis

Ranunculaceae

-

-

3.75

0.10

11.25

0.26

-

-

-

-

Arisaema jacquemontii

Araceae

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.23

11.25

0.29

-

-

Artemisia japonica

Asteraceae

-

-

13.75

0.34

-

-

-

-

-

-

Artemisia roxburghiana

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

7.50

0.26

2.50

0.05

-

-

Asparagus filicinus

Asparagaceae

-

-

3.75

0.05

10.00

0.33

-

-

-

-

Aster peduncularis

Asteraceae

15.00

0.30

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Barleria cristata

Acanthaceae

10.00

0.25

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Begonia picta

Begoniaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.21

-

-

Bergenia ciliate

Saxifragaceae

-

-

3.75

0.08

10.00

0.18

3.75

0.09

-

-

Bidens bipinnata

Asteraceae

-

-

6.25

0.15

-

-

-

-

-

-

Bidens biternata

Asteraceae

5.00

0.20

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Bidens pilosa

Asteraceae

-

-

12.50

0.24

-

-

-

-

-

-

Bistorta amplexicaulis

Polygonaceae

-

-

-

-

10.00

0.36

21.25

0.61

2.50

0.21

Bistorta vaccinifolia

Polygonaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

7.50

0.13

Blumea lanceolaria

Asteraceae

7.50

0.20

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Bupleurum falcatum

Apiaceae

-

-

8.75

0.18

-

-

-

-

-

-

Calanthe tricarinata

Orchidaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

11.25

0.20

Cannabis sativa

Cannabinaceae

-

-

6.25

0.25

-

-

-

-

-

-

Clematis montana

Ranunculaceae

11.25

0.33

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Clinopodium umbrosum

Lamiaceae

3.75

0.09

8.75

0.16

-

-

-

-

-

-

Corallodiscus lanuginosus

Gesneriaceae

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.16

-

-

-

-

Cyathula capitata

Amaranthaceae

2.50

0.06

7.50

0.24

-

-

-

-

-

-

Cyathula tomentosa

Amaranthaceae

15.00

0.59

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Cynoglossum glochidiatum

Boraginaceae

-

-

8.75

0.21

-

-

-

-

-

-

Cynoglossum lanceolatum

Boraginaceae

8.75

0.26

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Delphinium vestitum

Ranunculaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.16

Dicliptera bupleuroides

Acanthaceae

-

-

12.50

0.20

-

-

-

-

-

-

Dipsacus inermis

Dipsacaceae

-

-

-

-

5.00

0.09

-

-

-

-

Elephantopus scaber

Asteraceae

7.50

0.13

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Elsholtzia strobilifera

Lamiaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

10.00

0.25

3.75

0.10

Euphorbia chamaesyce

Euphorbiaceae

8.75

0.14

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Euphorbia hypericifolia

Euphorbiaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

6.25

0.16

Euphorbia pilosa

Euphorbiaceae

3.75

0.09

-

-

8.75

0.25

12.50

0.38

-

-

Fagopyrum dibotrys

Polygonaceae

-

-

7.50

0.23

7.50

0.14

-

-

-

-

Fragaria nubicola

Rosaceae

12.50

0.13

7.50

0.18

10.00

0.20

-

-

-

-

Galinsoga parviflora

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.18

-

-

-

-

Galium aparine

Rubiaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.20

6.25

0.13

Galium asperifolium

Rubiaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3.75

0.10

Geranium wallichianum

Gerianiaceae

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.26

5.00

0.15

-

-

Gerbera gossypina

Asteraceae

11.25

0.21

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Girardiana diversifolia

Urticaceae

12.50

0.61

6.25

0.25

-

-

-

-

-

-

Gonatanthus pumilus

Araceae

16.25

0.93

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Gonostegia hirta

Urticaceae

2.50

0.08

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

Impatiens scabrida

Balsamaniceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

3.75

0.09

-

-

Jurinea dolomiaea

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

5.00

0.08

Lamium album

Lamiaceae

-

-

6.25

0.11

-

-

-

-

-

-

Leucas lanata

Lamiaceae

-

-

-

-

7.50

0.18

-

-

-

-

Lindenbergia indica

Scrophulariaceae

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.24

-

-

-

-

Maianthemum purpureum

Liliaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3.75

0.05

Morina longifolia

Morinaceae

-

-

3.75

0.13

3.75

0.15

6.25

0.11

-

-

Nepeta ciliaris

Lamiaceae

-

-

11.25

0.16

-

-

-

-

-

-

Nomocharis oxypetala

Liliaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

11.25

0.13

Origanum vulgare

Lamiaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3.75

0.09

Paeonia emodii

Paenoniaceae

5.00

0.18

1.25

0.05

-

-

-

-

-

-

Parnassia nubicola

Saxifragaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

15.00

0.21

-

-

Pedicularis hoffmeisteri

Scrophulariaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.21

Phalaris minor

Poaceae

6.25

0.33

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Picrorrhiza kurrooa

Scrophulariaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.23

Pimpinella acuminata

Apiaceae

-

-

12.50

0.15

5.00

0.06

-

-

-

-

Pimpinella diversifolia

Apiaceae

-

-

7.50

0.13

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.19

Plantago depressa

Plantaginaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

10.00

0.16

Plantago himalaica

Plantaginaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

10.00

0.20

Podophyllum hexandrum

Podophyllaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

11.25

0.19

Polygonatum verticillatum

Liliaceae

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.11

-

-

-

-

Primula denticulate

Primulaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

18.75

0.31

Ranunculus hirtellus

Ranunculaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

20.00

0.38

Reinwardtia indica

Linaceae

-

-

5.00

0.08

7.50

0.10

-

-

-

-

Roscoea alpine

Zingiberaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

13.75

0.19

-

-

Rubus nepalensis

Rosaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

38.75

1.15

5.00

0.11

Rumex hastatus

Polygonaceae

12.50

0.69

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Rumex nepalensis

Polygonaceae

-

-

26.25

1.13

23.75

0.66

-

-

27.50

0.71

Salvia hians

Lamiaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.21

Salvia nubicola

Lamiaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3.75

0.06

Saussurea albescens

Asteraceae

-

-

6.25

0.09

16.25

0.71

-

-

-

-

Saussurea auriculata

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

13.75

0.19

Saxifraga diversifolia

Saxifragaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

10.00

0.15

-

-

Selinum candollii

Apiaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.20

Senecio graciliflorus

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.15

Silene edgeworthii

Caryophyllaceae

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.23

7.50

0.14

-

-

Solanum suratteuse

Solanaceae

8.75

0.16

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Solidago virgaurea

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

8.75

0.13

-

-

-

-

Swertia chirayita

Gentianaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

12.50

0.21

-

-

Swertia ciliate

Gentianaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

18.75

0.30

Synotis alatus

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

7.50

0.13

-

-

-

-

Taraxacum officinale

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

7.50

0.13

Triumfetta rhomboidea

Tiliaceae

8.75

0.21

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Urena lobata

Malvaceae

6.25

0.15

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Urtica ardens

Urticaceae

2.50

0.20

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Urtica dioica

Urticaceae

7.50

0.49

6.25

0.25

-

-

-

-

-

-

Valeriana hardwickii

Valerianaceae

1.25

0.05

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Verbascum thapsus

Scrophulariaceae

2.50

0.10

3.75

0.05

5.00

0.08

11.25

0.30

-

-

Vernonia anthelmintica

Asteraceae

-

-

-

-

7.50

0.16

-

-

-

-

Vernonia cinerea

Asteraceae

-

-

7.50

0.15

-

-

-

-

-

-

Veronica anagallis-aquatica

Scrophulariaceae

2.50

0.10

-

-

18.75

0.61

-

-

-

-

Viola canescens

Violaceae

-

-

-

-

-

-

10.00

0.19

-

-

Altitudinal zone-II (2000–2200 m)

In this altitudinal zone-II, five trees, eight shrubs and twenty nine herbs with medicinal values were observed (Table 2, Table 3 and Table 4 respectively). The highest density (0.90 trees/100 m2) and frequency (50%) was found for Rhododendron arboreum followed by Lyonia ovalifolia (0.50 trees/100 m2, 25%). The lowest density (0.05 trees/100 m2) and frequency (5%) was observed for both Juglans regia and Neolitsea pallens (Table 2). The highest density and frequency for shrubs (0.85 plants/25 m2, 17.50%) was recorded for Rubus niveus, followed by Indigofera heterantha (0.68 plants/25 m2, 15%) values. The lowest density (0.15 plants/25 m2, 2.50%) was reported for Sarcococca saligna (Table 3). A total of twenty nine herbs were found with medicinal values and the highest density (1.30 plants/m2) and frequency (32.50%) was observed for Ainsliaea latifolia, followed by Rumex nepalensis (1.13 plants/m2, 26.25%). The lowest density (0.05 plants/m2) was reported for Asparagus filicinus, Paeonia emodii, Verbascum thapsus, Bergenia ciliata, and Reinwardtia indica (0.08 plants/m2). The lowest frequency (1.25%) was recorded for Paeonia emodii (Table 4).

Altitudinal zone-III (2450–2650 m)

In this altitudinal zone-III, five trees with medicinal values were reported. Among these medicinal tree species, the highest density (1.10 trees/100 m2) and frequency (50%) was observed for Rhododendron arboreum. The lowest density (0.15 trees/100 m2) was recorded for Hippophae salicifolia and Sorbus cuspidata while as lowest frequency (10%) was observed for Hippophae salicifolia (Table 2). Fifteen shrub species with medicinal values were found in this altitudinal zone. The highest density and frequency (1.53 plants/25 m2 and 40%) was recorded for Indigofera heterantha followed by Rubus niveus (1.45 plants/25 m2, 35%), while the lowest density and frequency (0.05 plants/25 m2, 2.50%) was registered for Persicaria polystachya (Table 3). In the herb layer thirty (30) species were found. Among these Rumex nepalensis had the highest density and frequency (0.66 plants/m2, 23.75%), followed by Veronica anagallis-aquatica (0.61 plants/m2, 18.75%). The lowest density (0.06 plants/m2) was recorded for Pimpinella acuminata (Table 4).

Altitudinal zone-IV (2900–3100 m)

In this altitudinal zone-IV, three tree species, nine shrub species and twenty two herb species with medicinal values were encountered (Table 2, Table 3 and Table 4). In the tree layer, the highest density (0.35 trees/100 m2) and frequency (25%) was found for Viburnum cotnifolium followed by Abies pindrow. The lowest density and frequency (0.10 trees/100 m2, 10%) was observed for Taxus baccata (Table 2). For shrub species, the highest density and frequency (2.73 plants/25 m2, 70%) was recorded for Coriaria nepalensis while the lowest density (0.35 plants/25 m2) was recorded for Persicaria polystachya. Leycesteria formosa and Persicaria polystachya had the lowest frequency (7.50%) (Table 3). Among the herb species, the highest density (1.15 plants/m2) and frequency (38.75%) was observed for Rubus nepalensis followed by Ainsliaea apetra (0.95 plants/m2, 31.25%). The lowest density and frequency (0.05 plants/m2, 2.50% respectively) was found for Artemisia roxburghiana, followed by Bergenia ciliata and Impatiens scabrida (Table 4).

Altitudinal zone-V (3350–3550 m)

Only two trees species with medicinal value were reported in the altitudinal zone-V. Sorbus aucuparia had the highest density and frequency (0.25 trees/100 m2, 25%), while Abies pindrow followed (0.10 trees/100 m2, 10%) (Table 2). Of the three shrub species encountered Rosa sericea was most common (1.23 plants/25 m2), followed by Lonicera angustifolia (0.38 plants/25 m2), and Cotoneaster microphyllus (0.23 plants/25 m2). The highest frequency (33.33%) was observed for both Cotoneaster microphyllus and Lonicera angustifolia, while Rosa sericea was much less frequent (26.53%) (Table 3). Among the thirty one herbs Rumex nepalensis (0.71 plants/m2, 27.50%), and Ranunculus hirtellus (0.38 plants/m2, 20%) had the highest density and frequency. The lowest density value (0.05 plants/m2) was found for Maianthemum purpureum, while Bistorta amplexicaulis was observed with lowest frequency (2.50%) (Table 4).

Ethnomedicinal study of plant species

Of the total one hundred and fifty two species of ethnomedicinal plants complied for ethnomedicinal uses in the Himalayan region and Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary areas including 49 plant species of these were too reported from both the villages (Gundhaar and Ransi) of study area of Madhmeshwar, in KWLS. The scientific names, part used and ethnonomedicinal uses of these plants reported from the villages Gundhaar and Ransi is shown in Table 5. The reported 49 ethnomedicinal plants used to cure several ailments such as fever, cough, pain, wounds, cuts, insecticides, diarrhoea, dysentery, kidney problems, eye diseases, stop bleeding, abdomen pain, indigestion, antiseptic, healing foot cracks, mouth wash, blood diseases etc. The contribution of plant parts used by the inhabitants of Gundhaar and Ransi villages, was reported highest for roots (32%), followed by leaves (27%). Flowers, seeds and fruits contributed 8% for each and lowest contribution was reported for barks and resin of 3% and 1% respectively.
Table 5

Medicinal uses of plant species reported from the present study area

Scientific name

Present study

 
 

Plant part used

Medicinal uses

Aconitium hetrophyllum Wallich

Root

Fever and cough

Aesculus indica (Wall. ex Cambess.) Hook.f.

Seed

Rheumatic pain

Anaphalis margaritaceae (L.) Benth

Leaves

Wounds and cuts

Anemone rivularis Buch.-Ham. ex DC

Leaves

Wounds

Artemisia japonica Thunb.

Leaves

Insecticide

Asparagus filicinus Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don

Root

Diarrhoea and dysentery

Barleria cristata L.

Root

Wounds

Bergenia ciliata (Haw.) Sternb.

Root

Fever, kidney calculi, diarrhoea

Blumea lanceolaria (Roxb.) Druce

Leaves

Cuts

Dicliptera bupleuroides Nees

Leaves

Skin diseases, cough, wounds

Elsholtzia strobilifera Benth.

Whole plant

Wounds

Eupatorium odenophorum Spreng.

Leaves

Skin diseases

Galium aparine L.

Roots

Eye diseases and stop bleeding

Geranium wallichianum D. Don ex Sweet

Root

Dysentery and cold

Girardiana diversifolia (Link) Friis

Whole plant

Abdomen pain and indigestion

Hippophae salicifolia D.Don

Fruits

Dandruff

Indigofera heterantha Wall. ex Brandis

Leaves

Dysentery and cough

Juglans regia L.

Leaves

Insecticides

Jurinea dolomiaea Boiss.

Root

Incense

Leycesteria formosa Wallich

Leaves

Lice killing

Morina longifolia Wall. ex DC.

Root

Antiseptic, Burns, wounds

Myrica esculenta Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don

Leaves and fruits

Skin diseases and wounds

Origanum vulgare L.

Leaves

Tooth ache

Pedicularis hoffmeisteri Klotz.

Whole plant

Indigestion

Phalaris minor Retz.

Root

Wounds

Picrorhiza kurrooa Royle ex Benth.

Root

Stomach ache

Pinus roxburghii Sargent

Resin

Healing foot cracks

Podophyllum hexandrum Royle.

Root

Antiseptic, wounds

Polygonatum verticillatum (L.) All.

Root

Gastric problems

Primula denticulata Sm.

Root and flower

Lice killing

Prinsepia utilis Royle

Seed and roots

Stomach problems

Pyrus pashia Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don

Fruits

Digestive disorders

Ranunculus hirtellus Royle.

Whole plant

Wounds and cuts

Reinwardtia indica Dumort.

Flower juice

Mouth wash

Rhododendron arboreum Smith

Flower juice

Health tonic

Roscoea alpina Royle

Root

Urinary infections

Rubia manjith Roxb. ex Fleming

Flowers

Health tonic

Rubus nepalensis (Hook.f.) Kuntze

Root

Burns

Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn.

Fruit and seeds

Hair and antiseptic

Sarcococca saligna (D.Don) Muell.-Arg.

Leaves

Bone and muscle pains

Silene edgeworthii Bocquet.

Tender plant parts

Eye infections

Swertia chirayita (Roxb. ex Fleming) Karsten

Leaves

Fever and blood diseases

Synotis alatus (Wall. ex DC.) C. Jeffrey & Chen.

Whole plant

Fever

Taxus baccata L.

Bark

Breast infection

Urena lobata L.

Root

Muscle pains

Urtica ardens Link.

Leaf and seeds

Skin and hair diseases

Urtica dioica L.

leaves

Hair wash

Veronica anagallis-aquatica Linn.

Whole plant

Wounds and burns

Zanthoxylum armatum DC

Bark

Tooth ache

Ethnobotany explains the holistic relationships between plants and people [36]. Rapid global biodiversity loss is an issue of critical concern, with approximately 5000 species of animals and 25,00 species of plants currently listed as endangered, threatened, or at risk of overexploitation [37]. The Himalayan range is rich in endemic and medicinal plant diversity [38]. Uncontrolled developmental activities are causing a great loss to the biodiversity in the Indian Himalayan region, where medicinal plants in particular are declining at a very fast rate due to their over exploitation for trade [39], and it is believed that excessive anthropogenic activities are the main cause of decline in the population and availability of medicinal plants in the region [38, 40]. There are many protected areas (PAs) across the Himalayan region but not a single PA has been specifically established to ensure the conservation of medicinal plants.

The plant species reported from the Madhmeshwar area of KWLS were one hundred and fifty two species having medicinally important value with one hundred twenty three genera belonging to sixty one families. In comparison [41] explored the Pindari area of Nanda Biosphere Reserve and reported 224 plant species with medicinal values. [42] recorded 701 species of medicinal plants of which 138 species were trees, 135 shrubs and 421 were herbs in various forest types of Uttarakhand. [43] presented a list of 41 medicinal plants with their medicinal uses and mode of application of Pauri Garhwal Himalaya. [44] reported 135 species having medicinal values from the Panwalikantha at an elevation of 3800 m. [45] reported a total of 335 medicinal plant species from the high altitude cold desert areas of Lahul-Spiti in Ladkh of which 45 were rare and endangered. [46] reported 228 species with medicinal and aromatic properties from Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary of Himalaya. Many of these medicinal plants are under of threat due to their heavy extraction [47]. A total of 1748 species having medicinal value have been reported from Indian Himalayan Region [15] contributing 90% of raw material for herbal industries in India and for export [48]. World trade figures suggest that India ranks next to China exporting raw material of medicinal plants [49].

The most commonly used parts of ethnomedicinal plants as collected through different literature survey were leaves (32%), roots (24%), whole plants or plant (13%), followed by fruits (9%) and seeds and flowers (6% each). This corroborates with [50] who also found that leaves were the most frequently used plant parts (48%) followed by stem bark (16%), roots and root bark (10%), while the fruits, whole plant, and aerial parts accounted for less than 10% for each. [19] reported that a single plant may be used for curing more than one ailment and observed that roots and root based preparations are the most used plant parts. [51] reported from Nepal that bark, flower, fruit, leaf, root, rhizome, tuber, seed, shoot, resin, and wood were used in this sequence.

In the study eighteen endangered plant species were found. [52] reported 37 species from Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable and low risk near threatened using IUCN criteria. [15] reported that, as a result of over extraction 3.5% of the medicinal plants of the Indian Himalayan Regions (IHR) fall in different categories of threats.

In the study, the density and frequency for Aconitium heterophyllum was 0.33 plants/m2 and 18.75% while for Jurinea dolomiaea it was 0.08 plants/m2 and 3.75% respectively. Picrorhiza kurrooa was found with density of 0.23 ind/m2 having frequency of 12.50% while Podophyllum hexandrum with 0.19 plants/m2 density and 11.25% frequency. [53] reported 0.33 ind/m2 density of Aconitium heterophyllum in a part of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary and [54] in Gori valley reported a total 0.465 ind/m2, and [55] found a density of 1.0 ind/m2 at Hari Ki Dun area to 2.57 ind/ m2 in Tungnath area of Garhwal Himalaya. [56] reported 2.721 ind/m2 and 86% values of density and frequency for Jurinea dolomiaea in alpine meadows of Kumaun Himalaya. [57] reported a density of 7 ind/m2 and frequency of 100% for Jurinea dolomiaea in rocky areas in alpine area of Chhota Bhangal in Himachal Pradesh. Working on the population density of Picrorhiza kurrooa, [54] reported a density of 3.89 ind/m2 from upper Gori valley and 4.5 ind/m2 in the valley of Flowers National Park, while [53] reported density values of 3.36 ind/m2 in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary. [47] reported 2 ind/m2 density of Podophyllum hexandrum in Pin Valley National Park, while [58] reported 21.8 to 94.73 ind/m2 density and [54] reported 0.193 ind/m2 in Gori valley, with a density of 0.98 ind/m2 in the Valley of Flowers National Park and 0.72 ind/m2 in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary. In contrast [59] found only density values of 0.012 ind/m2 and a frequency value of 18.70% in its natural habitats in Kashmir Himalaya.

The study indicates that in-depth phytochemical and pharmacological investigations would be of interest for some plants with unique or lesser known medicinal applications. The conservation of plant biodiversity in the Indian Himalayan region has become a major concern and more detailed studies on population structure and regeneration rates are needed to plan conservation measures. The traditional knowledge of plant species as medicine is vanishing rapidly, and traditional health care systems are disappearing, and the oral transmittion of knowledge is clearly decreasing. Therefore, the knowledge of indigenous uses of native plants needs to be studied before it gets extinct [60].

Conclusions

Considering the ecological importance and population status of important ethnomedicinal species, we recommend the preparation of micro-plans for each important medicinal species, including data on best harvesting practice and quantity to be harvested. Most of this data is unknown for most medicinal plants. Propagation of plants using tissue culture techniques and conventional methods to allow for their transplantation into natural habitats and niche areas of the species will be an important step towards their conservation. Additional ecological studies, including population assessments using standard ecological methods are needed to effectively plan the conservation and management for threatened, rare and endangered species. The development of agro-production techniques for certain species of Garhwal Himalaya can help to meet the requirement of raw material for commercial use and reduce the pressure on the existing populations in natural habitats.

Declarations

Acknowledgments

The authors are thankful to the villagers of the study area to provide valuable knowledge about ethnomedicinal plants. Authors are also thankful to Dr Prashant Pusalkar (BSI) and Dr R. M. Panuli (GUH) for their help in identification of the plants specimen.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, H.N.B, Garhwal University, Srinagar-Garhwal
(2)
William L. Brown Center, Missouri Botanical Garden

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