Ethnobotanical Aspects of Some Traditional Medicinal Plants

  • Iftikhar Ahmad
  • Muhammad Sajid Aqeel Ahmad
  • Mumtaz Hussain
  • Mansoor Hameed
Part of the Microorganisms for Sustainability book series (MICRO, volume 15)


Ethnobotany (study of usage of plant parts for human health) is considered to be a part of Economic Botany, which emphasizes on the economic utilization of plants for human welfare. Biological diversity is universally recognized as an important part of the world’s natural heritage and an essential component for the sustainability of global ecosystems. In the current era, modern allopathic medicines are very fast effective and have over-ridden the traditional herbal remedies. Additionally, the diversity of traditional medicinal plants is facing a continuous decline due to a number of natural and anthropogenic activities including the clear-cutting of forests, conversion of grasslands into cultivated lands, industrialization, overgrazing, soil erosion, desertification, etc. Similarly, overexploitation also poses a severe threat to diversity of medicinal plants and has led to decline severely a number of species. It should be recognized that plant diversity has a commendable importance as a source of pharmaceutically active substances. In this chapter, the medicinal value and usage of various medicinal plants typically used in traditional medicine have been discussed.


Medicinal plants Diversity Active ingredients Soon Valley Salt Range 



This book chapter has been extracted form “Review of Literature” section presented in the Ph.D. thesis of Iftikhar Ahmad (89-ag-1513) submitted to University of Agriculture, Faisalabad in 2008. A partial material has also been drawn from the article “WORLD IS TURNING BACK TO NATURAL MEDICINES: Past, present and future of medicinal plants” published as a new article by the same author(s).


  1. Ahmad H, Ahmad A, Jan MM (2002) The medicinal plants of salt range. Online J Biol Sci 2:175–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anke M (1986) Role of trace elements in the dynamics of arteriosclerosis. Z Gesamte Inn Med 41(4):105–111PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Arora RB, Vohora SB, Khan MSY (1984) Proceedings of the first international conference on elements in health and disease. World Health Organization and Institute of History of Medicine and Medical Research, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  4. Arubi PA (2003) Proximate composition and selected functional properties of defatted papaya (Carica papaya L.) kernel flour. Biomed Life Sci 58(3):1–7Google Scholar
  5. Atawodi SE, Bulus T, Ibrahim S, Ameh DA, Nok AJ, Mamman M, Galadima M (2003) In vitro trypanocidal effect of methanolic extract of some Nigerian savannah plants. Afr J Biotechnol 2(9):317–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bianco VV, Santamaria P, Elia A (1998) Nutritional value and nitrate contents in edible wild species used in Southern Italy. In: Proceedings 3rd international summit on diversification of vegetable crops. Acta Horticult 467:71–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bray TM, Betteger WJ (1990) The physiological role of zinc as an antioxidant. Free Radic Biol Med 8:281–291PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Bukhari AQ, Ahmad S, Mirza M (1987) The role of trace elements in health and disease. In: Elements in health and diseases. In: 2nd international conference held in Karachi, PakistanGoogle Scholar
  9. Cakmak I, Marschner H (1988) Increase in membrane permeability and exudation in roots of zinc deficient plants. J Plant Physiol 132:356–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chiej R (1984) Encyclopedia of medicinal plants. MacDonald 1984. ISBN:0-356-10541-5. Covers plants growing in Europe. Good photographsGoogle Scholar
  11. Chunhieng T, Hay L, Montet D (2005) Detailed study of the juice composition of noni (Morinda citrifolia) fruits from Cambodia. Fruits 60:13–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clark AM (1996) Natural products as a resource for new drugs. Pharma Res 13:1133–1141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cook NS, Samman S (1996) Flavonoids – chemistry, metabolism, cardioprotective effect and dietary sources. J Nutr Biochem 7:66–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dar ME (2003) Ethnobotanical uses of plants of Lawat District Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Asian J Plant Sci 2(9):680–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dey AC, Singh B, Singh MP (1980) Indian medicinal plants used is ayurvedic preparation. Bishen Singh Mahendrapal Singh publishers, Dehra DunGoogle Scholar
  16. Donatus EO, Morah FNI (2004) Mineral and nutritive value of Dennettia tripetala fruits. Fruits 59:437–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Duke J (1992) Handbook of biological active phytochemicals and their activities. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 99–131Google Scholar
  18. Edeoga HO, Okwu DE, Mbaebie BO (2005) Phytochemical constituents of some Nigerian medicinal plants. Afr J Biotechnol 4(7):685–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Edeoga HO, Omosun G, Uche LC (2006) Chemical composition of Hyptis suaveolens and Ocimum gratissimum hybrids from Nigeria. Afr J Biotech 5(10):892–895Google Scholar
  20. Elegbede JA (1998) Legumes. In: Osagie AU, Eka OU (eds) Nutritional quality of plant foods. Post Harvest Research Unit, University of Benin, pp 53–83Google Scholar
  21. Fabris N, Mocchegiani E (1995) Zinc, human diseases and aging. Aging (Milano) 7(2):77–93Google Scholar
  22. FAO (2001) FAO in partnership with support unit for International Fisheries and Aquatic Research, SIFAR. AberdeenGoogle Scholar
  23. Gauch HG (1972) Inorganic plant nutrition. Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, StroudsburgGoogle Scholar
  24. Golden MH (1988) Trace elements in human nutrition. Hum Clin Nutr 6:448–455Google Scholar
  25. Green C (1992) An overview of production and supply trends in the U.S. specialty vegetable market. Acta Horticult 318:41–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Grieve (1984) A modern herbal. Penguin, London. 919 pGoogle Scholar
  27. Harborne JB (1973) Phytochemical methods. Chapman and Hall, Ltd, London, pp 49–188Google Scholar
  28. Hassan LG, Umar KJ (2006) Nutritional value of balsam apple (Momordica balsamina L.) leaves. Pak J Nutr 5(6):522–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Heiser CB (1993) Ethnobotany and economic botany. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed) Flora of North America. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 199–206Google Scholar
  30. Iwu M (1989) Food for medicine. In: Iwu M (ed) Dietary plants and masticetories as sources of biologically active substances. University of IFE Press, pp 303–310Google Scholar
  31. Jimoh FO, Oladiji AT (2005) Preliminary studies on Piliostigma thonningii seeds: proximate analysis, mineral composition and phytochemical screening. Afr J Biotechnol 4(12):1439–1442Google Scholar
  32. Kandaswami C, Perkins E, Soloniuk DS, Arzewiecki G, Middle E (1991) Anti-preventative effects of citrus flavonoids on a human squamous cell carcinoma in vitro. Cancer Lett 56:147–152PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. Khan AH (1951) The medicinal plants, their past and present (with special reference to the work being done in Pakistan). Pak J For 1:353–367Google Scholar
  34. Kim SY, Kim JH, Kim SK, Oh MJ, Jung MY (1994) Antioxidant activities of selected oriental herb extracts. J Am Oil Chem Soc 71:633–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kirtikar KR, Basu BD (1982) Indian medicinal plants, 2nd edn. Vol I and II International Book distributor, Dera Dune, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  36. Kochhar A, Nagi M, Sachdeva R (2006) Proximate composition, available carbohydrates, dietary fibre and anti nutritional factors of selected traditional medicinal plants. J Hum Ecol 19(3):195–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lai XZ, Yang YB, Shan XL (2005) The investigation of euphorbiaceous medicinal plants in Southern China. Econ Bot 58(1):307–320Google Scholar
  38. Launert E (1981) Edible and medicinal plants. The Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd., LondonGoogle Scholar
  39. Leporatti ML, Lattanzi E (1994) Traditional physiotherapy periodic grazing on coastal areas of Makran (Southern Pakistan). Fitotherapia 65:158–161Google Scholar
  40. Liu S, Babajide O, Charles DH, Alvie M (1990) 3-methoxysampangine, a Noval antifungal copyrine alkaloids fungi deistopholis pattern. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 34(4):529–533PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lockett CT, Calvert CC, Grivetti LE (2000) Energy and micronutrient composition of dietary and medicinal wild plants consumed during drought. Study of rural Fulani, Northeastern Nigeria. Int J Food Sci Nutr 51(3):195–208PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. Mahmood T, Khan MA, Ahmad J, Ahmad M (2004) Ethnomedicinal studies of Kala Chitta Hills of District Attock, Pakistan. Asian J Plant Sci 3(3):335–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mahmud K, Naseer R, Shahid M, Rashid S (2002) Biochemical studies and trace elements profiles of Cymbopogon Jwarancusa. Asian J Plant Sci 1(1):57–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mutaftchiev KL (2003) Catalytic spectrophotometric determination of manganese in some medicinal plants and their infusions. Turk J Chem 27:619–626Google Scholar
  45. Nakayama NG, Lindsey ML, Michael LH (1993) Inhibition of the infectivity of influenza virus by tea polyphenols. Antivir Res 21:289–299PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. Narendhirakannan RT, Subramanian S, Kandaswamy M (2005) Mineral content of some medicinal plants used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Biol Trace Elem Res 103(2):109–115PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  47. Nielsen FH (1987) In: Mertz W (ed) Trace elements in human and animal nutrition, 5th edn. Academic, New York, p 2Google Scholar
  48. Obiajunwa EI, Adebajo AC, Omobuwajo OR (2002) Essential and trace element contents of some Nigerian medicinal plants. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 252(3):473–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ofokansi KC, Esimone CO, Anele CK (2005) Evaluation of the in vitro combined antibacterial effects of the leaf extracts of Bryophyllum pinnatum.(Fam: crassulaceae) and Ocimum gratissimum (Fam: Labiate). Plant Prod Res J 9:23–27Google Scholar
  50. Okogun JI (1985) Drug production efforts in Nigeria. Chemistry Research and missing link. Being the text of a lecture given to the Nigeria. Acad Sci 29–52Google Scholar
  51. Okwu DE (2001) Evaluation of the chemical composition of indigenous spices and flavouring agents. Glob J Pure Appl Sci 7:455–459Google Scholar
  52. Okwu DE (2003) The potentials of Ocimum gratissimum, Pengluria extensa and Tetrapleura tetraptera as spice and flavouring agents. Nig Agric J 34:143–148Google Scholar
  53. Okwu DE (2004) Phytochemicals and vitamin content of indigenous spices of South Eastern Nigeria. J Sustain Agric Environ 6:30–34Google Scholar
  54. Okwu DE (2005) Phytochemicals, vitamins and mineral contents of two Nigerian medicinal plants. Int J Mol Med Adv Sci 1(4):375–381Google Scholar
  55. Okwu DE, Okwu ME (2004) Chemical composition of Spondias mombin Linn plant parts. J Sustain Agric Environ 6:140–147Google Scholar
  56. Okwu DE, Omodamiro OD (2005) Effects of hexane extract and phytochemical content of Xylopia acthiopica and Ocimum gratissimum on the uterus of Guinea pig. Bio-Research 3(2):40–44Google Scholar
  57. Okwu DE, Ekeke O (2003) Phytochemical screening and mineral composition of chewing sticks in south eastern Nigeria. Global J Pure Appl Sci 9(2):235–238Google Scholar
  58. Okwu DE, Morah FN (2004) Mineral and nutritive value of Dennettia tripetala fruits. Fruits 59(6):437–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Olabanji SO, Makanji OV, Ceccato D, Buoso MC, Haque AM, Cherubini R, Moschini G (1997) Biol Trace Elem Res 58:223–236PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  60. Oloyede OI (2005) Chemical profile of unripe pulp of Carica papaya. Pak J Nutr 4(6):379–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Osborne R, Grove A, Oh P, Mabry TJ, Ng JC, Seawright AA (1994) The magical and medicinal usage of Stangeria eriopus in South Africa. J Ethnopharmacol 43(2):67–72PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  62. Oyagade JO, Awotoye OO, Adewumi TJ, Thorpe HT (1999) Antibacterial activity of some Nigerian medicinal plants. I. Screening for antibacterial activity. Biosci Res Comm 11(3):193–197Google Scholar
  63. Pandey BP (1980) Economic botany for degree honours and post-graduate students. S. Chand and Company Ltd., Ram NagarGoogle Scholar
  64. Pereira CE, Felcman J (1998) Correlation between five minerals and the healing effect of Brazilian medicinal plants. Biol Trace Elem Res 65(3):251–259PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  65. Plotkin MJ (1991) Traditional knowledge of medicinal plants – the search for new jungle medicines. In: Akerele O, Heywood V, Synge H (eds) The conservation of medicinal plants. In: Proceedings of an International Consultation, 21–27 March 1988, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 53–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Qureshi SJ, Khan MA (2001) Ethnobotanical study of Kahuta from Rawalpindi District Pakistan. Online J Biol Sci 1(1):27–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rajput MT, Hassney SS, Khan KM (1996) Plant taxonomy. Oxford Publisher Ltd., PakistanGoogle Scholar
  68. Rajurkar NS, Damame MM (1998) Mineral contents of medicinal plants used in the treatment of diseases resulting from urinary tract disorders. Appl Radiat Isot 49(7):773–776PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  69. Randal J (1984) Am Health 3:37. cited in cur. Sci 54:364Google Scholar
  70. Remington JP (1995) Solutions, emulsions, suspensions, and extracts. In: The science and practice of pharmacy, vol 2. Mack Publishing Company, Easton. 19th 1495–1523Google Scholar
  71. Rizvi MA, Ahmad L, Sarwar GR (1996) Wild medicinal plants of Madinatul Hikmah and its adjacent areas. Hamdard Medicus 39:8–10Google Scholar
  72. Sahito SR, Kazi TG, Kazi GH, Jakhrani MA, Shaikh MS (2001) Trace elements in two varieties of indigenous medicinal plant Catharanthus roseus (Vinca rosea). Sciences 1(2):74–77Google Scholar
  73. Salisbury FB, Ross CW (1992) Plant physiology. Wadsworth. Benjamin/Cummings Publishing company, Redwood CityGoogle Scholar
  74. Shad AA, Shah H, Khattak FK, Dar NG, Bakht J (2002) Proximate and mineral constituents of medicinal herb Fagonia Arabica. Asian J Plant Sci 1(6):710–711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Singh V, Garg AN (1997) Availability of essential trace elements in Ayurvedic Indian medicinal herbs using instrumental neutron activation analysis. Appl Radiat Isot 48(1):97–101PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  76. Singh R, Sawhney SK (1988) Advances in frontier areas of plant biochemistry. Prentice Hall in India Private Ltd., New Delhi, p 487Google Scholar
  77. Sofowara A (1993) Medicinal plants and traditional medicine in Africa. Spectrum Books Ltd., Ibadan, p 289Google Scholar
  78. Stary F (1998) The natural guide to medicinal herbs and plants. Tiger Books International, London, pp 12–16Google Scholar
  79. Sundriyal M, Sundriyal RC (2004) Wild edible plants of the Sikkim Himalaya: nutritive values of selected species. Econ Bot 58(2):286–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Svendsen R, Lund W (2000) Speciation of Cu, Fe and Mn in beer using ion exchange separation and size-exclusion chromatography in combination with electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry. Analyst 125(11):1933–1937CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Talwar GP, Srivastava LM, Mudgil KD (1989) Textbook of biochemistry and human biology, 2nd edn. Prentice Hall of India, Private Ltd., New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  82. Tolonen M (1990) Vitamins and minerals in health and nutrition. Ellis Horwood Limited, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  83. Torel JB, Scontia S, Blevo ZO, Lapis MV (1986) Inhibition of lipid peroxidation by flavonoids. Superoxide anions, hydroxyl ions. BBA 759:38–41Google Scholar
  84. Uruquiaga I, Leighton F (2000) Plant polyphenol antioxidants and oxidative stress. Biol Res 33:159–165Google Scholar
  85. Valles J, Angels Bonet M, Agelet A (2004) Ethnobotany of in Catalonia (Iberian Peninsula): the integral exploitation of a natural resource in mountain regions. Econ Bot 58(3):456–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Wada O, Yanagisawa H (1996) Trace elements and their physiological roles. Nippon Rinsho 54(1):5–11PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  87. Whitney EN, Hamilton EMN (1984) The trace minerals. In: Understanding nutrition, 3rd edn. West Publishing Company, St. PaulGoogle Scholar
  88. Yildirim E, Dursun A, Turan M (2001) Determination of the nutrition contents of the wild plants used as vegetables in Upper Çoruh Valley. Turk J Bot 25:367–371Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iftikhar Ahmad
    • 1
  • Muhammad Sajid Aqeel Ahmad
    • 2
  • Mumtaz Hussain
    • 2
  • Mansoor Hameed
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Botany SciencesUniversity of SargodhaSargodhaPakistan
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan

Personalised recommendations