Use of medicinal plants for treating different ailments by the indigenous people of Churah subdivision of district Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India

Abstract

Plants play an important role in the medicinal and healthcare regime of the people living in the remote areas of the Himalayan region, which can be attributed to their greater faith in the efficacy of herbal remedies and also the unavailability of modern healthcare facilities. The current study aimed to report the indigenous medicinal knowledge of plants among the indigenous people comprising of local traditional healers, tribal, and non-tribal people of the Churah subdivision of district Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. Despite the gradual sociocultural transformation, these local people still possess substantial knowledge of plants and their uses. Extensive field surveys were conducted to remote villages and interviews were conducted through well-structured questionnaires, interviews, and group meetings. The data generated were examined using various quantitative tools, and an extensive literature review was done to analyze the pharmacological activity and chemical constituents of the targeted plant species. A total of 78 plants were reported to cure 13 ailments with maximum species (42) to cure dermatological problems followed by respiratory problems (20 species) and digestive problems (19 species). New or lesser known therapeutic uses of 21 plant species were reported which emphasizes for its further pharmacological validation.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to the Director, CSIR-IHBT, Palampur, for proving facilities and encouragement. We are grateful to DST, Govt. of India for the financial assistance provided under a sponsored project entitled “Network programme on the convergence of traditional knowledge system for sustainable development in the Indian Himalayan Region” and Prof. S.C. Garkoti, JNU, for his constant support and cooperation. We are highly grateful to the local inhabitants particularly Gaddis, Gujjars, and traditional healers for sharing the information without any hurdle and support of officials of various line departments is also duly acknowledged. The authors thank the editor of the journal and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments that helped in improving the quality of the paper significantly. This is CSIR-IHBT communication no. 4222.

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DR contributed to conceptualizing the idea, survey, data collection, and manuscript writing. AB contributed to survey, data collection, data analyses, and manuscript writing. BL conceptualized the idea, edited the manuscript and helped with overall guidance. OP carried out the survey and plant identification. AK helped with location of villages and map preparation. SKU edited the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Dipika Rana.

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Rana, D., Bhatt, A., Lal, B. et al. Use of medicinal plants for treating different ailments by the indigenous people of Churah subdivision of district Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India. Environ Dev Sustain 23, 1162–1241 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-020-00617-0

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Keywords

  • Himalaya
  • Indigenous
  • Ethnomedicine
  • Vaids
  • Relative frequency of citation (RFC)
  • Factor informant consensus
  • Fidelity level