Medicinally Important Plants of Kazakhstan

  • Kanat N. Sarsenbayev


The flora of Kazakhstan includes about 6,400 species of higher vascular plants (Aralbai et al. 2017), approximately 5000 fungus, 486 lichens, more than 2000 algae, and about 500 bryophytes. The phytobiota’s wealth in Kazakhstan is estimated at 14500-15500 taxa. Out of 6,400 species of higher vascular plants, about 730 species are endemic (Baitenov, 2001; Aralbai, 2011), representing 11-12% of the total species composition. There are more than 1,000 species with curative values (Aralbai, 2016). In addition, there are more than 500 species of introduced, cultivated, and imported plants. In Kazakhstan and Central Asia nearly 80% of the plant resources, in particular medicinal plants, were harvested during the soviet period. The plant diversity of Kazakhstan is an inexhaustible source of biologically active substances. However, knowledge about the biochemical composition of plants is poor; there is a lack of information on the regulation of biologically active compound synthesis, and an insufficient number of pharmaceutical profile productions. The main sources obtained include licorice, Cistanche, and Ferula. In earlier times during the USSR period, Ephedra was mainly collected from the Almaty region of Kazakhstan and a major part of the raw material was exported under the informal scheme, which means permitted harvesting of plants is significantly exceeds quantities. Currently nearly 10 species of plants are exported, and in the case of Cistanche, under another name through the Customs. This chapter presents information on some of these valuable plants of Kazakhstan, which are being harvested, exported from Kazakhstan, and resold by China to other countries. There is an urgent need for Kazakhstan to establish a business partnership with other countries on a mutual long-term basis and start sharing the supply of plant resources and processing of their products.


Plant resources Ephedra Ferula Cistanche Glycyrrhiza 



My special thanks go to my Ph.D. student M. Sagindikova for providing valuable data.


  1. Abdulina SA (1998) In: Kamelin RV (ed) List of vascular plants of Kazakhstan. Academy of Sciences of Kazakhstan, Almaty, p 187Google Scholar
  2. Altay V, Karahan F, Ozturk M, Hakeem KR, Ilhan E, Erayman M (2016) Molecular and ecological investigations on the wild populations of Glycyrrhiza L. taxa distributed in the East Mediterranean area of Turkey. J Plant Res 129(6):1021–1032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ashena F, Jafari A, Shahrokhabady KN (2014) Comparative anatomical study on Ferula L. species in NE Iran. Greener J Biol Sci 4(4):103–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baytenov MS (2001) Flora of Kazakhstan. T.2. Gylym, Almaty, p 280sGoogle Scholar
  5. Byeon SE, Lee J, Kim JH, Yang WS, Kwak YS, Kim SY, Choung ES, Rhee MH, Cho JY (2012) Molecular mechanism of macrophage activation by red ginseng acidic polysaccharide from Korean red ginseng. Mediators Inflamm 2012:732860PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Choi JG, Moon M, Jeong HU, Kim MC, Kim SY, Oh MS (2011) Cistanches Herba enhances learning and memory by inducing nerve growth factor. Behav Brain Res 216(2):652–658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Collective Authors (1969) Illustrated determinant of plants in Kazakhstan. Alma-Ata. T.1: 40–41Google Scholar
  8. Collective Authors (1980) Atlas of areals and resources of medicinal plants in the USSR. M, C 334–335Google Scholar
  9. Collective Authors (2016) Biomedical industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan. RFCA RatingsGoogle Scholar
  10. Dong Q, Yao J, Fang JN (2007) Structural characterization and immunological activity of two cold-water extractable polysaccharides from Cistanche deserticola Y.C. Ma. Carbohydr Res 342:1343–1349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Egeubaeva R (2002) Essential oil plants in South-East Kazakhstan and path management. AlmatyGoogle Scholar
  12. Egeubaeva RA, Bizhanova GK, Aydarbaeva DK, Kuzmin EV (2006) Distribution and reserves of ephedra horsetail in Almaty region. In: Proceedings of the State National Natural Park “Altyn-Emel”. Вып.1.РИЦ “Asia” Almaty, 2006, pp 62–66Google Scholar
  13. Gubanov A, Sinitsin GS (1966) Biological and ecological features of ephedra horsetail. Tr Inst Botany. AN KazSSR. C., pp 1–20Google Scholar
  14. Imanbayeva AA, Sarsenbayev KN, Sagyndykova MS (2015) Anatomical organization of above and underground organs of Ferula foetida (Bunge) Regel in Mangistau natural populations. Contemp Prob Ecol 8(6):743–753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ivanov A, Buhteeva A (1981) Most important forage plants in Kazakhstan. Works Appl Bot Genet Breed 54(2):3–17Google Scholar
  16. Jiang Y, Li SP, Wang YT, Chen XJ, Tu PF (2009) Differentiation of Herba Cistanches by fingerprint with high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection-mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A 1216(11):2156–2162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Karahan F, Avsar C, Ozyigit I, Berber I (2016) Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of medicinal plant Glycyrrhiza glabra var. glandulifera from different habitats. Biotechnol Biotechnol Equip 30(4):797–804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kareparamban JA, Nikam PH, Jadhav AP, Kadam VJ (2012) Ferula foetida “Hing”: a review. Res J Pharmaceut Biol Chem Sci 3(2):775–786Google Scholar
  19. Kleptsova I, Volkotrub L, Karavayev N (2001) Features of technogenic pollution of medicinal plants. Pharmacy [Farmaciya] 1:28–29 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  20. Kobayashi H, Karasawa H, Miyase T, Fukushima S (1984) Studies on the constituents of Cistanches Herba. II: Isolation and structures of new iridoids, cistanin and cistachlorin. Chem Pharm Bull 32(5):1729–1734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Korovin EP (1939) The main lines in the taxonomy of the genus Ferula (Tourn) L. Bul. MOIP., Dep. Biol. T.48., vol. 5–6, C 5–15Google Scholar
  22. Korovin EP (1940) The differentiating role of conditions of existence in the evolution of plants. The genus Ferula L. Plant Environ T1:237–274Google Scholar
  23. Korovin EP (1947) Illustrated monograph of the genus Ferula (Tourn.) L. Izd-vo AN UzSSR, Tashkent, p 91Google Scholar
  24. Korovin EP, Koroleva KM, Krishtofovich AN, Mandenova IP, Poyarkova AI, Shishkin BK (1951) Flora of the USSR. M.-L.: Izd. AN SSSR. T.17. 390 secGoogle Scholar
  25. Kukenov M (1996) Medicinal plants in Kazakhstan and their uses. AlmatyGoogle Scholar
  26. Kurkin K (1998) The relationship of plants in the meadow plant communities: characteristics, types, mechanisms. Ekologiya 6:419–423Google Scholar
  27. Li Z, Lin H, Gu L, Gao J, Tzeng CM (2016) Herba Cistanche (Rou Cong-Rong): one of the best pharmaceutical gifts of traditional Chinese medicine. Front Pharmacol 7:41PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Markova LP, Medvedeva LI (1965) Materials on the distribution, intraspecies variability and economic value of some species of Ferula from the subgenus Peucedanoides (Boiss.) Korov. Regetative Raw Mater 13:42–99Google Scholar
  29. Mukhtubaev SK (2010) On the current trends in the use of Ferula foetida L. in southern Kazakhstan. Vestn Pavlod Gos Univ. Chem Biol 1:87–91Google Scholar
  30. Mukumov IU (1993) Resourceological characteristics of some species of the genus Ferula L. sources of biologically active compounds, Tashkent. PhD ThesisGoogle Scholar
  31. Nyssanbayev EN (2013) Current state of forestry in Kazakhstan and the main priorities of further development. Materials of the International Scientific and Practical Conference, dedicated to the 55 anniversary of the Kazakh Research Institute of Forestry. Kazakh Agro Technical University, Shchuchinsk, October, vol 12–13, pp 4–7Google Scholar
  32. Ozturk M, Secmen O, Gork G (eds) (1996a) Plant life in southwest and Central Asia, vol 1. Ege University Press, Izmir, 499 pGoogle Scholar
  33. Ozturk M, Secmen O, Gork G (eds) (1996b) Plant life in southwest and Central Asia, vol 2. Ege University Press, Izmir, 1093 pGoogle Scholar
  34. Ozturk M, Altay V, Hakeem KR, Akçiçek E (2017a) Liquorice: from botany to phytochemistry. Springer International, ChamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ozturk M, Altay V, Karahan F (2017b) Studies on trace elements distributed in Glycyrrhiza taxa in Hatay-Turkey. Int J Plant Environ 3(02)Google Scholar
  36. Pimenov MG, Klyuykov EV (2002) Umbelliferae of Kyrgyzstan, 288s. ISBN 5-87317-113-0. M. KMC Science PressGoogle Scholar
  37. Rechinger KH (1987) Flora Iranica. Academische Druck und Verlagsanstalt, Austria T. 162. 426 cGoogle Scholar
  38. Republic of Kazakhstan (2009) The fourth National Report on progress in implementation of the convention on biological diversity. Ministry of Environmental Protection, Astana, 91 pGoogle Scholar
  39. Safina LK (2012) Ferul of Central Asia and Kazakhstan (carpenter’s review). T.18 (3). Almaty, p 243eGoogle Scholar
  40. Safina LK, Pimenov MG (1984) Ferula of Kazakhstan. Science, Alma-Ata, 200 pGoogle Scholar
  41. Sarsenbaev KN, Polymbetova FA (1986) The role of enzymes in plant resistance. Nauka, Almaty, p 184Google Scholar
  42. Sarsenbaev KN, Kozhamzharova LS, Bekbayeva LK, Misni S, Tuymebayeva BE (2013) Genetic signs of interspecific polymorphism of Ephedra L. species in Kazakhstan flora. World Appl Sci J 21(3):428–432Google Scholar
  43. Sarsenbayev KN, Sarsenbayeva AB, Balmukhanov K (2013) Chemical composition of low-molecular weight organic compounds (LMWOC) of water extracts from Cistanche deserticola stolones depending on treatment. World Appl Sci J 25(1):28–35Google Scholar
  44. Shaushekov Z (2004) Botanical study of the floristic regions of Central Kazakhstan and introductions of species. KaragandaGoogle Scholar
  45. Shtefan G (2001) Conservation and utilization of genetic diversity of medicinal plants in northern Kazakhstan. Herald Agric Sci Kazakhstan 11:23–25Google Scholar
  46. Shtefan G (2004) Introduction of medicinal plants in the north of Kazakhstan. International Conference: Adaptive strategy of breeding field crops due to global climate change. Saratov 3:81–84Google Scholar
  47. Shtephan G (2012) Wild medical plants in the phytocenoses of the northern Kazakhstan. Med Health Sci J 13:128–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sokolov N, Zamotaev J (1991) Handbook of medicinal plants (phytotherapy). KazakhstanGoogle Scholar
  49. Stefanova NA, Fursova AZ, Sarsenbaev KN, Kolosova NG (2011) Effects of Cistanche deserticola on behavior and signs of cataract and retinopathy in senescence-accelerated OXYS rats. J Ethnopharmacol 138(2):624–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tan DY, Guo QS, Wang CL (2004) Effects of the parasite plant (Cistanche deserticola) on growth and biomass of the host plant (Haloxylon ammodendron). For Res 17:472–478Google Scholar
  51. Tkachenko K (2006) Wild medicinal, fodder and edible plants in the gene pool of useful plants. Conference on the role of botanic gardens in the conservation of biodiversity of flora in Asiatic Russia: present and future. Novosibirsk, pp 284–285Google Scholar
  52. Urazaliev R, Kenenbaev S, Esimbekova M (2004) Plant genetic resources in Kazakhstan: status and prospects, international conference key directions of development of agricultural science in Kazakhstan: breeding, biotechnology, plant genetics. Almaty, pp 45–50Google Scholar
  53. Vavilov N (1926) Centres of origin of cultivated plants. Works Appl Bot Genet Breed 16(2):1–248Google Scholar
  54. Vavilov N (1965) Selected works, vol 5. Selkhozizdat, MoscowGoogle Scholar
  55. Wu TY, Khor TO, Saw CLL, Loh SC, Chen AI, Lim SS, Park JHY, Cai L, Kong ANT (2011) Anti-inflammatory/anti-oxidative stress activities and differential regulation of Nrf2-mediated genes by non-polar fractions of tea Chrysanthemum zawadskii and licorice Glycyrrhiza uralensis. AAPS J 13(1):1–13 Scholar
  56. Xian GD, Liu CQ (2008) Research on the effect of phenylethanoid glycosides (PEG) of the Cystanche deserticola on anti-aging in an old age induced by D-galactose. Zhong Yao Cai 31:1385–1388Google Scholar
  57. Zubaydova TM, Jamshedov JN, Isupov SJ, Zagrebelny IA, Davlatkadamov SM, Sodikov J, Sukhrobov PSh (2014) On the pharmacological study of different species of the genus Ferula L. in medicine of the twentieth century. Bulletin of the Tajik National University (scientific journal). Series of natural sciences no. 1/3 (134). Dushanbe, Sino, p 225Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kanat N. Sarsenbayev
    • 1
  1. 1.Biological SciencesEurasian National University named after N. GumilyovAstanaKazakhstan

Personalised recommendations