Flora And Fauna

Traditional uses of medicinal plants among the rural communities of Churu district in the Thar Desert, India
Parveen ? , B. Upadhyay, Shikha Roy, Ashwani Kumar 1
Department of Botany, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur 302004, India

Abstract The traditional uses of medicinal plants in healthcare practices are providing clues to new areas of research; hence its importance is now well recognized. However, information on the uses of indigenous plants for medicine is not well documented from many rural areas of Rajasthan including Churu district. The study aimed to look into the diversity of plant resources that are used by local people for curing various ailments. Questionnaire surveys, participatory observations and ?eld visits were planned to elicit information on the uses of various plants. It was found that 68 plant species are commonly used by the local people for curing various diseases. In most of the cases (31%) leaves were used. The interviewees mentioned 188 plant usages. Those most frequently reported had therapeutic value for treating fever, rheumatism, diarrhea, asthma and piles. The knowledge about the total number of medicinal plants available in that area and used by the interviewees was positively correlated with people’s age, indicating that this ancient knowledge tends to disappear in the younger generation.
Keywords: Tradational uses; Ethanobotanical survey; Churu; Thar Desert

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1. Introduction Out of the total 4,20,000 ?owering plants reported from the world (Govaerts, 2001) more than 50,000 are used for medicinal purposes (Schippmann et al., 2002). In India, more than 43% of the total ?owering plants are reported to be of medicinal importance (Pushpangadan, 1995). Utilization of plants for medicinal purposes in India has been documented long back in ancient literature (Tulsidas, 1631: Samvat; Charak, Drdhbala, 1996). However, organized studies in this direction were initiated in 1956 (Rao, 1996) and off late such studies are gaining.