, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 286-296
Date: 21 Mar 2012

Ethnobotanical study towards conservation of medicinal and aromatic plants in upper catchments of Dhauli Ganga in the central Himalaya

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Abstract

The present study broadly focused on medicinal plant species collected from wild by the villagers for different purposes in the upper catchment of Dhauli Ganga in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (NDBR), in the central Himalaya. A schedule based survey was conducted during the years 2003–2005 in 15 villages of Chamoli district part of the NDBR. Information was collected from collectors, vaidya (medicine man) and those dealing with domestication and marketing of the medicinal plants. The aim of the study was to understand the prioritiesed medicinal plants, their mode of collection and document their ethnobotanical uses by the Bhotiya tribal communities, in this world heritage site. During the survey, 50 medicinal plants belonging to 31 families and 44 genera were documented. Out of these, 70% were harvested from the wild, 22% were cultivated and 8% were cultivated as well as wild harvested. Of the cultivated species, 8% were found growing in the kitchen gardens and 14% in the agricultural fields. However, 42% of the plants had their roots and rhizomes used followed by leaves (26%), seeds (10%), seed and leaf (8%), bark and whole plant (6%) and flower (1%). Most plants were reported to be used for rheumatism (16), followed by stomach disorder (14), cold and cough (11), and jaundice (9). Thirty three plants species were reported to have more than one therapeutic uses, while 17 species were reported to be used against single ailment. The distance of villages from road head was one of the factors contributing to the decline in the medicinal plant population in their natural habitats. The availability of medicinal plants increased with increase in distance from road head and also the peoples’ dependence on them. Documentation of the traditional knowledge will help in conservation of knowledge and also opportunity for using it for future training and use. The result of this study will help in promoting sustainable cultivation and implementation in conservation protocol of those species, which are in the verge of extinction in this region.