- Open Access
Ethno-medicinal survey of important plants practiced by indigenous community at Ladha subdivision, South Waziristan agency, Pakistan
© The Author(s). 2016
Received: 12 April 2016
Accepted: 4 November 2016
Published: 15 November 2016
Medicinal flora plays a vital role in treating various types of ailments in living beings. The present study was planned to investigate and document systematically the indigenous knowledge in a scientifically little explored area of Ladha sub-division, South Waziristan agency, Pakistan. Hence, this study would contribute positively to the field of ethnopharmacology.
Prior to ethnomedicinal data collection, regular field visits were conducted during the month of May and June 2015 to locate the sites and respondents from where the traditional knowledge was to be recorded. Ethno-medicinal data was collected during the month July and August 2015 through rapid appraisal approach (RAA) based on direct interaction with the indigenous communities by making group discussions, corner meetings and semi-structured interviews. Data was evaluated statistically by using the index of Use value (UV) and Frequency of citations (FC).
A total of 82 medicinal plants belonging to 42 families were reported in the study. Leaves were the most frequently used plant parts. Highest use values were recorded for Peganum harmala (0.93), Punica granatum (0.91), Thymus mongolicus (0.90), Chenopodium album (0.89), Coriandrum sativum (0.87), Mentha longifolia (0.87), Lactuca serriola (0.87) and Portulaca oleracea (0.87). Medicinal plants used for the gastro intestinal complexities and respiratory diseases were more than 9% followed by skin and diarrhea (7% each), liver disorders (5%) cough and cold fever (5%).
People of the area mostly still rely on traditional herbal therapies. Keeping in mind the dependence of the indigenous community for their primary health care on such herbal remedies, pharmacological and critical toxicological investigation of certain flora is necessary. Moreover, projects should be designed to analyze the existing issues and problems related with medicinal plants conservation.
Documentation of ethno-medicinal information have substantial role in illuminating folk knowledge, which facilitates the discovery of modern allopathic drugs [1, 2]. In modern pharmacopoeia, several synthetic drugs of plants’ origin have been documented. Currently in the developing countries, about 80% of the world’s populations rely on these traditional therapies to cope with several ailments [3–5]. Medicinal plants comprising of several biologically active factors . Varieties of therapeutically active plants are used in herbal medicines, and have proved their efficacy to compete with the modern allopathic drugs . Out of the total 265,000 flowering plants species , only a small proportion (5000 species) has been analyzed for their biological potential .
In Pakistan, traditional uses of of medicinal plants has been documented from many areas [10–16] but still in remote areas (including tribal areas) there is scarcity of reports, in which the folk knowledge about the medicinal plants have been properly mentioned [17–21]. Local people of certain areas utilize plants for their health maintenance because of poorer economic values and lack of modern health facilities . These traditional medicines have been used for long time but unfortunately these valuable knowledge has been not properly recognized and documented in many areas of the country especially in federally administrated tribal areas (FATA) including South Waziristan agency.
Ladha is the sub-division of South Waziristan Agency. The introduction of allopathic medicines has greatly affected the knowledge, faith and skill about the traditional herbal therapies in the study area. Apart from these, the territory is also under critical condition due to armed conflict and other terroristic activities for the last one decade. Consequently middle class sect prefers to migrate partially or wholly to settle areas where the chances of exposure to modernization became more prominent which ultimately has negative effect on the consistency of traditional knowledge, losing its originality and going to the periphery of extinction. That is why the present study was planned to investigate, catalogue and record the folk knowledge and ethno-medicinal values of the local flora at Ladha so as to preserve the Ethno-medicinal knowledge and share it with other communities.
The undertaken study was carried out in Ladha, being a part of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The study area comprised of a mass of rugged and complex hills and ridges. The overall area of the agency is comprised of 6619 km2 and is laying at 321 24′ 50″ N latitude and 691 42′ 06″ E longitude having 4100–7000 ft altitude. Temperature in the area falls to 0 °C during winter at some places with higher altitudes where snow fall also occurs. The winter is extremely severe with coldest months of December to February. The average rainfall per annum is 6 in. while in plain areas the summer season is comparatively much hot. Ethnographically two tribes are the inhabitants of the area ie Mehsud and Barki. The Pashto language is used for the communication in the locality.
Socioeconomic status of the indigenous communities
shows gender, age group and literacy level frequency of the respondents
Informant selection and ethno-medicinal data collection
Prior to ethno-medicinal data collection, regular field visits were made to locate the sites and to gather information about the respondents and their expertise in traditional knowledge. Being the local inhabitant, Mr. Muhammad Abdul Aziz was aware of those sites where there is a significant trend for the utilization of traditional herbal recipes in their daily routine for treating ailments. All the meetings and discussions were in local language ie Pashto. Meetings were conducted with the local representative (Malik) of the area to display the main theme and objective of the study. In the study area, Malik is considered to be the head of a tribe and is responsible for dealing the local matters. Without their recommendations, community involvement is not possible in such kind of field surveys and studies. The step was taken in order to acknowledge their co-operation and to develop the confidence about the provided knowledge so as to gain valuable information.
Ethno-medicinal data collection was carried out in midsummer ie from May 2015 to August 2015. During the month of May and June, the local respondents were targeted for interviews, while the Ethno-medicinal data was collected in the months of July and August. As the area is covered by snow fall and the winter season is very cold in the territory, mostly the medicinal flora is blooming in the month of June, July and August. All the selected informants were reported to be highly conversant about the traditional therapies but most of the data was taken from the local healers.
Preservation and taxonomical verifications
Medicinal plants mentioned in the current survey were collected and identified by a taxonomist at the Department of Botany, Kohat University of Science and Technology. The plants were pressed for dryness, poisoned (1% HgCl2 solution) and were mounted on herbarium sheets. Voucher number were assigned, submitting them to the department of Botany at Kohat University, for future references by matching them for verification with the flora of Pakistan [24, 25].
Data organization and analysis
Where Ux is the number of use reports described by each informer for specie x while N is the total number of informers describe the specific specie x.
Results and discussion
Traditional knowledge and informant demographic status
The utilization of medicinal plants to combat with various ailments is as old as human civilization. It has been reported that about 20% of the whole plants found in this world are used for medicinal purposes to treat ailments in living beings . In the study area, several herbal traditional recipes have been used by indigenous communities especially by the local healers, having significant role in the local health care system. They use the medicinal flora as the first aid in curing any ailment except in severe emergencies just like other parts of the country . Present exploration has reported valuable traditional information about the medicinal plants from an area which is very little explored in the tribal belt of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa . Current study observed a significant decrease in the skill, faith and knowledge about traditional herbal medications due the recent introduction of allopathic medicines. Similar results were found by Sher et al.  in a study conducted in district Chitral. Our findings can also be justified by the other similar studies conducted earlier which have clearly shown the erosion of the precious knowledge due to modernization [1, 28, 30, 31]. Furthermore in the study region, the important medicinal flora faces some threats such as heavy grazing, uncontrollable cutting, deforestation and the collection these plants for fodder purposes by the local collectors. Similar findings were also reported by . It has been reported that due to the change in socioeconomic pressure, the traditional knowledge about the folk herbal medications is slowly and gradually going towards extinction [33, 34].
Medicinal plant used at sub-division Ladha of South Waziristan agency. FC = Frequency of citation, UV = Use value
Plant species/Family name/Voucher No
Local names (Pashto language)
Portulaca oleracea L./KUSBT-511
Juice of the plant has diuretic effect and is considered valuable in treating urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery. The seeds of the herb are vormifuge and demulcent.
Allium cepa L./KUSBT-512
Juice of the herb is used for treatment of gastrointestinal problems. It is also used as diuretic and expectorant. For the treatment of cough, bulb is wrap in cloth and worn like a necklace.
Amaranthus viridis L./KUSBT-513
It is used as vegetable and fodder for cattle. The powder of Leaves and seeds are mixed with half weight of sugar and then a spoon of this mixture is given with black tea to the children three times daily for the treatment of constipation. Leaves are given as emollient and are used for scorpion sting, snakebite and as anthelmintic.
Pistacia chinensis Bunge//KUSBT-514
Galls used in native medicine, fruit oily and edible. Leaves powder is applied topically on ulcers and chronic sores. Poultice of slightly roasted Leaves is applied to inflamed swellings and rheumatic joints.
Nannorrhops ritchieana (Griff.) Aitch./KUSBT-515
The decoction of leaves is used as stomachic.
Caralluma tuberculata N.E.Br./KUSBT-516
The plant is effective in the treatment of different kinds of diseases such as dysentery, constipation, hepatitis B and C and stomach pain. It is also effective in diabetes and also used to control blood pressure.
Cichorium intybus L./KUSBT-517
Plant’s decoction is effective in the treatment of liver disorders and urinary tract infections. The herb is used as tonic, laxative and diuretic. Diarrhea is also treated with the plant.
Lactuca serriola L./KUSBT-518
Cough, bronchitis, asthma and pertussis are treated by using the herb. It is also diuretic, sedative, diaphoretic and antispasmodic.
Taraxacum officinale (L.) Weber ex F.H.Wigg./KUSBT-519
This herb is used as tonic having nutritive properties. It is strong stomachic and diuretic. The infusion of the herb is use for liver disorders. It is also efficient in dropsy, arthritis and rheumatism. Roots have laxative properties.
Xanthium spinosum L./KUSBT-520
This herb is used medicinally as diuretic, sedative and diaphoretic.
Xanthium strumarium L./KUSBT-521
Fruit, Roots, seeds
Powder of seeds fruits and roots are demulcent and are used in stomach disorders.
Berberis lycium Royle/KUSBT-522
De wrogha betai
Bark, Leaves, root
The roots of the plant are effective in the treatment of Skin diseases, piles and chronic diarrhea. Bark and Leaves are used as antiseptic and as tonic. To treat jaundice, mostly Leaves are used. Fruit is taken orally for the treatment of kidney problems. Decoction of root is a good remedy which is used as a purgative for the children and also used as blood purifier.
Lepidium draba L./KUSBT-523
Seeds of the plant are carminative. Mostly the plant is used as tonic and stomachic.
Raphanus sativus L./KUSBT-524
To cure jaundice, urinary tract infections and piles, fresh and young roots are eaten. Leaves work as diuretic and laxative.
Cannabis sativa L./KUSBT-525
Flowering stems of female plants leaves,
Marijuana is the famous drug prepared traditionally from the plant. Fresh and young Leaves of the female plant are dried and grinded to make powder and is taken orally with water, milk and sweet to get cooling effect. The plant is also used to treat urinary tract diseases. The plant is also used in various medications in order to treat asthma, depression, insomnia and depression due to its sedative and analgesic effects.
Chenopodium album L./KUSBT-526
Plant is diuretic, aphrodisiac, appetizer and used as tonic. Abdominal pain is also treated with the herb. the plant is also ant helmentic and is effective in the treatment of liver disorders, jaundice. The young shoots of the plant is soaked in a glass of water for 3–5 h and then the filtrate is used orally to treat kidney pain. To remove the kidney stones, half glass of the above filtrate is mixed with equal amount to the extract of corn hair and is taken orally.
Artemisia scoparia Waldst. & Kitam./KUSBT-527
Infusion is used as purgative. To treat burns smoke is a good remedy. Also relieve ear pain.
Aster trinervius Roxb. ex Roxb./KUSBT-528
Root of the plant is useful in the treatment of pulmonary infections and cough. Hemorrhage is also treated. Seed decoction is used for obstructed menstruation.
Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronquist/KUSBT-529
Plant has diuretic and stimulant properties.
Tagetes patula L./KUSBT-530
Fruit is used for cooling agent, and as demulcent.
Convolvulus arvensis L./KUSBT-531
The roots are dried, crushed and taken orally one or two spoon as purgative. The herb is used for skin infections. Leaves are use as poultice and as antiseptic. Leaves decoction is made up which is used two spoon daily for the regulation of abnormal menstrual cycle in woman.
Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad./KUSBT-532
Juice is extracted from the plant and is mixed with sugar and is taken in dropsy. This mixture is also used externally on skin during leukoderma. Oil is extract from the seeds and used topically on skin during snake bite. Honey is mixed with the grinded fruit making Tarkha Halwa which is taken 3 to 4 teaspoon thrice a day for stomach problems and expel worms.
Cupressus sempervirens L./KUSBT-533
Fruit, root, seeds,
Fruit is given to animals to produce cooling effect. Seeds and root/decoction is used for gastrointestinal diseases.
Alhagi maurorum Medik./KUSBT-534
Plant is expectorant, laxative, anti-diarrheal and antiseptic. Exudation obtained from the branches and Leaves is used as blood purifier. Roots of the plant are dried and grinded into powder and then take two grams of the powder with water daily for 2 weeks in order to treat kidneys problems.
Astragalus creticus Lam./KUSBT-535
Arial parts of the plant have sedative effect and are used as tonic.
Astragalus grahamianus Benth./KUSBT-536
The herb is a good analgesic agent and also used in the treatment of abscesses.
Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bunge/KUSBT-537
The roots of the plant are used as and vasodilator.
Sophora mollis (Royle) Baker/KUSBT-538
Leaves, roots, seeds
Medicinally the root of the plant is used as cooling agent and as a diuretic. Leaves and seeds are used for gastrointestinal diseases urinary tract infections, eczema and are used as anthelmintic, to kill the abdominal worms.
Trifolium pratense L./KUSBT-539
Flowers heads of the herb are used to cure skin infection. The herb is a good antispasmodic and expectorant. It also has estrogenic effect helping in the control of menopausal complaints.
Quercus dilatata A.Kern./KUSBT-540
The corns are roasted and eaten and are used as tonic.
Fumaria indica (Hausskn.) Pugsley/KUSBT-541
Extract of the whole plant is used for the production of cooling effect. The plant is diuretic, diaphoretic.
Geranium wallichianum D.Don ex Sweet/KUSBT-542
To lower the blood pressure and to treat the leucorrhea, rhizome of the plant is used. The rhizome is also used as a source of tonic and also helps in treating rheumatism.
Juglans regia L./KUSBT-543
Kernels are eaten raw to gain weight, also used as brain tonic. Root bark and Leaves are used for teeth cleaning.
Marubium vulgare L./KUSBT-544
The plant is used as tonic. It has also expectorant and diuretic properties and is used for pulmonary problem. Used in cold fever.
Mentha aquatica L./KUSBT-545
Decoction of the herb is used to treat digestive problems and cough. The herb is carminative and is used for flatulence.
Mentha longifolia (L.) L./KUSBT-546
Leaves decoction has carminative properties. Leaves are also employed for rheumatic pain, nausea, sickness and vomiting. Leaves of the herb are also a good remedy for the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery. Leaves powder are mixed with water and are used for stomach pain and also for cooling effect.
Nepeta cataria L./KUSBT-547
Leaves and flowering tops are dried and used as carminative agent, diaphoretic, refrigerant. Leaves are boiled and tea is prepared from it which is useful cold and fever. The tea also gives sedative effect.
Perowskia atriplicifolia Benth/KUSBT-548
Flowers are soaked in water and the water is applied to the body of the patient to produce cooling effect in fever.
Stachy parviflora benth./KUSBT-549
The bruised stem and Leaves are anthelmintic and are useful for intestinal worms
Teucrium stocksianum Boiss./KUSBT-550
Whole of the plant water boiled and left for overnight. The water is then decanted and is taken for the treatment of cold. It is also used in cases of heart pain.
Thymus mongolicus (Ronniger) Ronniger/KUSBT-551
The herb has many medicinal properties such as it is used as carminative, as a tonic, antispasmodic. it improve poor vision. It is also used for stomach and liver problems also suppress urine and menstruation. Seeds are used as vermifuge.
Thymus linearis Benth./KUSBT-553
Leaves are used to cure cough, and asthma and expel worms from the abdomen. The Leaves have also antiseptic values.
Allium ascalonicum L./KUSBT-554
For the treatment of ear pain the extract of the bulb is used.
Allium carolinianum DC./KUSBT-555
Both of the plant parts are effective in cough and fever.
Tulipa lehmanniana Merckl./KUSBT-556
The flower of the herbs are given to goat for increase lactation
Hibiscus trionum L./KUSBT-557
Flowers are sunken in water and the infusion is helpful in treating skin ailments, itching. The infusion has also used as diuretic. Leaves are dried and are eaten to avoid the stomach pain.
Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench/KUSBT-558.
Fruit, leaves, seeds
Poultice is prepared from its Leaves and is used externally to stop irritation and treat swellings and pains. Mucilage of the fruit and seeds is a useful remedy for the treatment of irritations occurs inside the genitor urinary system.
Malva neglecta Wallr./KUSBT-559
Seeds are crushed and are used to cure cough and ulcer inside the bladder.
Malva parviflora L./KUSBT-560
Leaves, root, seeds
Seeds are used in cough and in the treatment of ulcer inside the bladder. Leaf decoction is a good remedy for the expulsion of tap worm and profuse menstruation. Underground part is bruised and washed which is grinded to make fine powder then 2 g of the powder is taken and is wrapped inside the butter, eaten after dinner for sex tonic. Plant is also used as laxative.
Malva pusilla Sm./KUSBT-561
Leaves are applied externally to treat to scurvy and reckoned useful in piles. Seeds of the herb are used to treat skin diseases and also used in the treatment of cough, bronchitis inflammation of bladder.
Withania coagulans (Stocks) Dunal/KUSBT-562
Fruit, leaves, seed
Dried fruit are very efficient for dyspepsia and flatulence. Fruit is crushed and the powder is taken orally daily with a glass of water to avoid the stomach ache. To treat gass trouble, 2 or 3 seeds of the herbs are taken after meal. Seeds and fruits of the plant are used to treat digestive problems, diabetes and gastritis.
Ficus carica L./KUSBT-563
Fruits of the plant are eaten in constipation because of demulcent and laxative properties. Ripened fruit of the plant are crushed mixing with a glass of curd and is taken to relieve constipation. Fruit is also useful for the treatment of diabetes, urinary tract diseases and piles.
Morus alba L./KUSBT-564
Fruit of the plant have laxative properties used to relieve constipation. Leaves are expectorant and are also used to treat the fever, throat infection.
Morus nigra L./KUSBT-565
Fruit has a unique test and is eaten by the local people. the fruit is useful in expelling the worm from the abdomen and useful in treating the disease of bad thorax.
Eucalyptus globulus Labill./KUSBT-566
the Leaves of the plant are given to diabetic patient.
Peganum harmala L. KUSBT-567
Seeds are crushed and then they are used to treat colic, asthma, jaundice. They are also anthelmentic. Seeds are antispasmodic, narcotic. Decoction is made from the seeds so as to treat laryngitis. Fruit of the plant is useful for heart pain.
Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata (Wall. & G.Don) Cif./KUSBT-568
Leaves are antiseptic. The fruit is also used as tonic.
Olea ferruginea Wall. ex Aitch./KUSBT-569
Fruit of the plant is an effective appetizer and useful treating caries of teeth and toothache. Oil of the plant is purgative. The oil is also useful in treating liver disorders and rheumatism. Powder of fruit is taken orally on empty stomach in a dose range manner of one teaspoon for forty five days. This remedy is effective in diabetes.
Oxalis debilis var. corymbosa (DC.) Lourteig/KUSBT-570
Jaundice and dyspepsia are treating by using whole plant.
Oxalis corniculata L./KUSBT-571
Children eat the fresh Leaves of the herb and the local people are used the juice to treat diarrhea and stomach problems. Root decoction is used to expel worms. The extracts of the plant powder is used for scorpion sting.
Medicago polymorpha L./KUSBT-572
Leaves have carminative properties. For the patient of blood pressure, Leaves and young and fresh shoots are very useful.
Papaver nudicaule L./KUSBT-573
Leaves and fruit of the plant have many properties like narcotic, sedative. Treating the lungs infection and bronchitis.
Plantago lanceolata L./KUSBT-574
The leaves of the plant have emollient (softening or soothing the skin) and expectorant properties. Leaves are also used as demulcent and astringent. cough and bronchitis are treated by the infusion of the Leaves. a thicken syrup is made up from the Leaves of the plant in order to alleviate the coughing in childern. seed of the plant has laxative properties. the Leaves of the plant are taken in mouth and remain there in order to avoid the toothach.
Cymbopogon jwarancusa (Jones) Schult./KUSBT-575
Differnt parts of the plant are used as tonic. Decoction of the plant is useful for the patient suffering from typhoid fever.
Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers./KUSBT-576
The grass has laxative properties and also used in asthma.
Adiantum capillus-veneris L./KUSBT-577
Local inhabitants of the area use the fern to cure sore throat, bronchitis and cough.
Punica granatum L./KUSBT-578
Fruit is a rich source of iron. To overcome the iron deficiency, the fruit of the plant is eaten. For nasal congestion the bark of the plant is used. Epicarp of the fruit is dried and is given to cattle for treating diarrhea.
Ranunculus muricatus L./KUSBT-579
Herb is diuretic. It is also used to treat urinary tract infections dysentery and jaundice. It is also useful in treating eczema, ringworm and leprosy.
Duchesnea indica (Jacks.) Focke/KUSBT-580
Local healers use the plant for the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery. Leaves are astringent and used as diuretic.
Rosa webbiana Wall. ex Royle/KUSBT-581
Flower are stomachic while for the treatment of asthma the decoction of its is used.
Salix babylonica L./KUSBT-582
Leaves are crushed, and water is released from it then this water is used in 2 to 3 drops three time a day to treat ear pain.
Sideroxylon mascatense (A.DC.) T.D.Penn./KUSBT-583
Fruit of the plant is used to compensate the Fe deficit. The plant is attractive to honey bees. Fruit is a strong laxative having digestive properties and are also used to treat the urinary tract infections.
Verbascum thapsus L./KUSBT-584
The formation and stimulation of coughing up of phlegm can be minimized by using the leaves and flowers of the plant. It is also emollient and astringent.
Datura metel L./KUSBT-585
Flowers, leaves, roots, seeds
The plant parts are effective in fever caused due to catarrh. They are also used to remove the cerebral complications. Diarrhea and skin diseases are also treated with plant parts.
Datura stramonium L./KUSBT-586
Fruit and leaves are effective in Parkinson disease, bronchitis and asthma.
Solanum nigrum L./KUSBT-587
Leaves are effective against sore throat, hepatitis, abdominal pain and ear pain. Berries of the plant are diuretic and are useful for piles pain. Bark of the root has laxative properties
Coriandrum sativum L./KUSBT-588
Decoction of the fruit is used to relieve colic pain, bleeding piles. Fruit of the herb is stimulant, aphrodisiac, carminative and refrigerant. It also increases gastric juice secretion. Seeds of the herb are famous for increasing appetite. To treat throat infection, the decoction of the plant is used through gargling.
Daucus carota L./KUSBT-589
Fruit, leaves, seeds
Seeds are useful in the treatment of kidney problems and uterine pain. Leave are used as vegetables Fruit and seeds are carminative, stimulant, aphrodisiac and refrigerant.
Urtica dioica L./KUSBT-590
Plant is used as tonic, diuretic, anti rheumatic, astringent.
Fagonia cretica L./KUSBT-591
Plant extract is used for the patient suffering from diabetes mellitus, inflammation and scabies. The hakims of the area use the plant extract for gastrointestinal problems and pains. Fresh leaves and twigs of the plant are grinded and juice is made of them. One glass of the juice is taken daily for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases, expulsion of abdomen worms and blood purification.
Tribulus terrestris L./KUSBT-592
Seeds of the plant are grinded and then 10 g powder is taken which is mixed with 4 g of maize flour. Then this mixture is taken 3 g after every 3 h to expel the kidney stones.
Medicinal flora and its relative importance
Phillips and Gentry  introduced an index to calculate the relative importance of a species in term of its traditional use. This quantitative technique helps in authenticating and projecting the relative importance of species or the whole family. Different plants species showing various values in term of their use value index (Table 1). In this investigation, high use value was recorded for Peganum harmala (0.93) greatly contributed in treating various kinds of ailments. Other plants with high use values are Punica granatum (0.91) which is growing in home gardens, Thymus mongolicus L. (0.90), Chenopodium album (0.89), Coriandrum sativum, Mentha longifolia (0.87), Lactuca serriola, Portulaca oleracea (0.87) and Berberis lycium (0.85), Withania coagulans (0.84), Fagonia cretica (0.80), and Cannabis sativa (0.80). To analyze the therapeutic potential of any medicinal plant, use value play an important contribution in determining the potent specie. Greater is the use value of any specie, greater will be its traditional importance for the indigenous community. Medicinal plant with the lowest use value was Conyza Canadensis (0.10), and the reason for its lower use value can be its scarcity in the area or unawareness of indigenous people about the medicinal potential of the plants specie.
Medicinal plants uses
The present study reports 82 medicinal plants species utilized by the indigenous people in the investigated area. The reported medicinal plants obtained during the current survey were belonging to 42 families and 66 genera. Most frequently used plant’s parts were leaves followed by fruit (18%), whole plant (18%), seed (12%) and so on (Fig. 2). Many studies conducted in different ethnic communities, have reported frequently the use of leaves in traditional therapies [43–50] and the widely accepted role of leaves in traditional herbal medicines may be due to large quantity of biologically active components present inside them . The consumption and harvesting of leaves and other aerial parts from medicinal plants is much better than the root for the maintenance of the specie . Apart from leaves, almost all the other parts of medicinal plants such as flower, bark, stem, seed fruit are also used but the collection of that specific part depends on the requirement of the user and type of the plant species. The utilization of leaves in traditional medication may also be due to their easy availability, processing methods and minimum conservational issues . Medicinal plant with multiple medicinal uses work as a strong indicator to highlight the presence of biologically active therapeutic components and other phyto-constituents and these observations and findings and such findings may prompt further research into their medicinal application . Those parts of the plants which are frequently used may suggest and highlight the fact that these part may have strong medicinal values and need to further evaluate and analyze them biochemical screening and pharmaceutical evaluation so as to cross check the local and indigenous information.
Indigenous communities use to cultivate important medicinal plants in their home gardens including Cannabis sativa, Raphanus sativus, Mentha aquatica, Allium ascalonicum and Peganum harmala etc. Mostly the people collect the medicinal plants from open area because the area is so much diversified with several medicinal plants. Medicinal plants frequently used include Peganum harmala, Punica granatum, Thymus mongolicus, Chenopodium album, Coriandrum sativum, Mentha longifolia, Lactuca serriola, Portulaca oleracea, Berberis lycium, Withania coagulans and Fagonia cretica etc. current exploration has also found the over collection of two most important economical valuable species ie Caralluma tuberculata and Nannorrhops ritchiana  which have the capacity to cultivate  so as to restore their ecological role and because these two taxa are under great threat due to their over consumption. In a study conducted by Adnan et al.  The same species were recorded with facing the same threats.
Current investigation recorded the recipes in the form drying and macerating into powder, boiling as tea, juicing and pulsation into paste are the common administration methods observed in the study area. (Table 2) . Deeba  reported that grinding or crushing and boiling as tea are the most common and efficient methods for the extraction of active ingredients. During the survey it was mentioned by the traditional healers that the use of complex medicines which is formed by the combination of two or more plant parts is more potent medicinally as compared to the medicines which is prepared from single plant species which is an agreement with the findings of . The use and better efficacy of those recipes which are formed from more than one medicinal plant can be attributed to the synergistic or additive effects . The way which is adopted for the preparation of drug differ from individual to individual in which the same plant material is prepared in different way for the same ailment. For example, the aerial parts of Peganum harmala are used against colic pain, jaundice, asthma, spasm and as narcotic. The decoction is made from its seeds is used for the treatment of laryngitis (Table 2). These findings are running parallel with the findings of the study conducted by Ullah et al.  in which the same ailments were treated by the plant but instead of aerial parts, fruit was used. Fruit of Punica granatum is used to overcome the iron deficiency. For nasal congestion, the bark of the plant is used. Epicarp of the fruit is dried and is given to cattle for treating diarrhea (Table 1). Kayani et al.  reported the uses of Punica granatum powdered form, prepared from fruit, bark and leaves for the treatment of whooping cough from Gallies, Abbotabbad, Pakistan. Similarly in the study the Thymus mongolicus, is used as carminative, tonic and antispasmodic. It improves poor vision. It is also used for stomach and liver problems also suppress urine and mansturation. Seeds of the plant are used as vermifuge. Farooq et al.  reported the uses of Thymus mongolicus as antispasmodic, carminative, tonic and is given in weak vision, complaints of the stomach and liver, suppression of urine and menstruation. Chenopodium album is as diuretic, aphrodisiac, appetizer and used as tonic. Abdominal pain is also treated with the herb. the plant is also anthelmintic and is effective in the treatment of liver disorders, jaundice. Decoction of young shoots is used orally to treat kidney pain. In the current study Lactuca serriola is used as sedative, diuretic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic and expectorant. Findings about the medicinal uses of Lactuca serriola reported in our study are going parallel to the finding of Ullah et al. . In the same way, study conducted by Kayani et al.  it was found that Lactuca serriola whole plant is used as expectorant and also utilized for the treatment of cough, phthisis, bronchitis and asthma. The similarities observed in the cross cultural uses of the traditional herbal remedies indicate the biological potential of the documented flora. To minimize the effect of the remedy’s astringent taste, different liquids such as water, sugar, juices, oil are also mixed with the processed plants parts so as to avoid the bitter taste of the remedies. To minimize the relative potency of the recipe, different the above mentioned vehicles are used which further dilutes the drug .
Despite the fact that folk use the plants for several infections but except few medicinal plants species, most of the plants documented in the current investigation are not still analyzed for their detailed pharmacological potential. For instance Chenopoduim album has been screened out comprehensively for its phytochemical anthelminthic potential and further work is also in progress . Khan et al.  investigated Peganum harmala for antimicrobial potential obtained from Margalla Hills, Islamabad. Antimicrobial activity of different plants’ extracts of Datura stramonium have been evaluated for their respective potential, from the region of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Pakistan . Similarly Withania coagulans has been investigated pharmacognostically in detail by researchers . Esra et al.  analyzed Cannabis sativa for its pharmacological potential against fungal and bacterial diseases and was found the best against the targeted diseases. But still there are varieties of medicinal plants such as Sophora mollis, Thymus mongolicus and Tulipa lehmanniana and so many others which need detailed pharmacological and critical toxicological studies in order to make safe and effective utilization of the herbal products. The discovery of new biological active constituents should be focused during such phytopharmacological investigations.
Ladha is a remote area where the local people still rely on traditional herbal therapies for their primary health care services. In the study area the traditional knowledge is in custody of elder community members and local herbalists. The study reports several important medicinal plants having significant contribution in the treatment of different diseases. Our study has a contribution in the documentation of traditional knowledge because the knowledge is losing its originality day by day due to exposure to modernization. The study highlights the need exploration of pharmacological, toxicological, phytochemical and microbiological studies of the reported medicinal plants to make the better and effective use of the plants. Present investigation highlights several threats including heavy grazing pressure, cutting activities, deforestation which affecting the sustainability and declining the population of the local flora. Apart from this the study area is suffering from terroristic activities and “War on Terror” is going on, which is also a great issue to be addressed. Research projects should be designed to analyze comprehensively the conservation status and threats to the flora in the study area. While designing research management plans and strategies, the existing ecological and other cultural matters should be documented and addressed.
The authors are thankful to the indigenous community of Ladha for sharing their precious traditional knowledge. Authors express their best gratitude toward the Maliks at the study area acting as heads of the community.
This research project was funded by WWF, Peshawar, Pakistan.
Availability of data and materials
The authors have decided that they would not share the data. Authors are not agreed to expose the data prior publication because any one can manipulate the data and may cause unconvenience.
MAA and AHK carried out the field work. MAA and RJ prepared the draft manuscript. AUR and JK helped in data compilation and analysis. MA supervised all the stages of this study and provided comments on the draft manuscript. All the authors have read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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