Plants Used for Family Planning and Sex DiseaseTreatment in Samahni Valley, Pakistan

 

Muhammad Ishtiaq Ch,* M. A. Khan, Amin ullah Shah

 

Laboratory of Ethnobotany and Plant Taxonomy, Department of Biological Sciences, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

Abstract

An ethnomedicinal systematic exploration of medicinal plants of tribal area of Samahni valley with an inventory and mode of use is presented in this paper This study was carried out during the years 2001-2003, in Samahni valley district Bhimber A.K. (Pakistan), using methods consisting of semi-structured interviews employing a check list of questions, questionnaires, direct observations and biological inventories. An exhaustive survey was conducted by frequent planned visits to collect ethnomedicinal and ethnobotanical data, which were being used by tribal people for population control and sexual diseases. The geographical isolation and hilly terrain has permitted the survival of folk herbal medicines. The inhabitants of valley use medicinal plants for ailments of sex diseases; among these uncommon use of Daucus carota, Solanum nigrum, Solanum surrattense, Withania somnifera, Bombax ceiba, Amaranthus viridis and of particular interest is the persistent use of Ficus racemosa, Coriandrum sativum, Setaria italica, Tribulus terrestris, Ceropegia bulbosa and Ficus bengalensis to check or produce off springs as in case of family planning respectively. As for traditional medicines, we report for the first time the use of 36 plant species, distributed in 26 families, to treat sexual diseases and control birth rate, in Samahni valley. The most of these plants grow wild (55.55%), are indigenous (61.11%) and are herbs (52.77%). The plant parts frequently used are seed (22.72 %), root (20.45%), fruit, leaf and whole plant (9.09%) each. Medications are mostly prepared as decoctions and infusions. Most of curative species reported here are directed to control family size and treat sexual diseases; Syphilis, leucohrroea, menorrhagia, amenorrhoea, blennorhoea, haemorrhoids, hydrocoele and regularise menses. The paper discusses ethnomedicinal uses in qualitative and quantitative methodology and enlightens how data for ethnomedicinal inventory of medicinal plants can be used effectively at local and regional level.

Key words: Ethnobotany; Ethnomedicines; Family planning; Samahni valley; Systematic exploration; Azad Kashmir.

 

Corresponding author. Tel.:+923205264211

E-mail: Muhammad_ishtiaq2001@yahoo.com (M. Ishtiaq Ch).

 

1. Introduction

 

1.1 Study area and the people:

 

����� Systematic explorations of traditional herbal medicines are urgently required in Samahni valley of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan; especially in this area for its geographical, historical reasons and hilly terrain (relatively isolated) and where industrial development has not completely lead a complete decline of traditional knowledge. In early 1950s up to 84% Pakistani population was dependent on traditional medicines for all or most of their medicinal uses (Hocking, 1958). In Himalayan ranges at least 70% of medicinal plants and animal species in the region consists of wild species, 70-80% population depend on these traditional medicines for health care (Pie and Manandhar, 1987).

��������� Samahni Valley is one the Tehsil of district Bhimber, State of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. Geographically it is located near 33.05� latitude and 74.82 � longitude. It covers ca.1270 km2and has 12 towns viz. Jandichontara, Dab, Bandala, Samahni, Chowki, Bindi, Jandala, Poona, Chaai, Baroh, Haripoor and Jajooha. It has north facing and south facing high mountains, with 1080-18975 ft altitude and variable topography. The valley is inhabited by major tribes; viz. Jat, Rajpoot, Gujar, Bokarwals, Malik, Mirza, Arrain, Syed and Butt (Kashmiries). The people are mainly dependent on agriculture and forest products (timber and herbs). There are only two towns which have well-trained doctors, while it is too insufficient number for such big population viz.45 thousands. The surrounding plants for these people form an integral part of their culture and the information about the plants get pass on from generation to generation only through oral folk lore, major way of learning and teaching ethnomedicinal (EM) knowledge.

 

The local tribes harbour the vast diversified flora which is mainly coniferous and tropical forest. These herbal medicines are used for population (birth) control and to treat sexual diseases. Traditional sterilization method based on ethnomedicines is used to control population growth rate; including abortion at initial weeks, preventing conception or making the either member of the couple sterile. The tribal people also use the local herbal remedies to cure sterility and enhance the chances of conception and to cure sexual diseases leucorrhoea, gonorrhoea, menorrhagia, galactorrhoea, and regularise menses on daily basis.

 

1.2 Why EM knowledge of the area is documented:

 

In many developing countries people mostly rely on EM to treat diseases, because western-based health care system is inefficient due to poor staffing or because western drugs are expensive. EM is system of maintaining health and curing diseases based on folk beliefs and traditional knowledge (TK), skills, methods and practices. As EM knowledge is being disappearing because of rapid socio-economic, environmental and technological changes. This means therefore, that local knowledge of EM must be documented and conserved through systematic studies before it is lost forever. To date there has been no systematic recording of EM knowledge used to control birth rate and sexual diseases in Samahni valley. Systematic studies on the area are justified for important reasons, they can: (1) generate concise information which can be used to develop birth control practices and methods that are locally suitable in Samahni valley, (2) if developed systematically EM can be a key birth control and sex-related diseases cure resource, (3) can also add new drugs to modern population control and sex-related pharmacopoeia. The main aim of this study was to document the plant�s ethnomedicinal uses, being used to control birth rate and cure sex diseases. So it is important to study how these tribal people have been using local herbs for control of family size and cure of many diseases by their traditional EM knowledge, which profound the aim of this study project.

 

1.3 Past study on EM

 

Considerable works which are published on ethnomedicinaland ethnobotanical uses of plants are of; Ahmed, M., and Siraj Din (1996), Al Said, M.S., (1993), Anis, M. and Iqbal, M., (1994), Bhattri, N.K.,(1993), Delcourt et al (1960), Haq, I.,(1993), Hocking(1958), Hussain and Khalique (1996), Jain, S.K.,(1991), Joshi (1995), Katewa and Arora (1997), Katewa and Guria (1997), Khan (1994), Pie and Manandhar(1987), Shinwari and Khan (1999), Shinwari (1996), Siddiqui et al (1988), Zaman (1999). In Pakistan ethnobotanical work is being done, albeit it is in initial stages, but a complete perusal of literature indicates that no comprehensive ethnomedicinal and ethnobotanical work has been published yet on Samahni valley, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan.

 

2. Methods

 

The field work for the study was conducted between June 2001 and June 2003. We used semi-structured interviews, questionnaire and direct observations to collect data (Martin, 1995). Prior to any contact with the local people, the study and its objectives were introduced to the town chairman/officer; this introduction was always repeated when entering a new administrative area (e.g. town or village). Six key informants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule consisting of checklist of questions. Household respondents were chosen through stratified sampling. In each town, a respondent was randomly chosen from at least one village from each parish from the town. In this way 140 household respondents were interviewed. We administered a questionnaire consisting of a mixture open- and closed-ended questions in face-to-face interviews. Some of the farmers and local hakims (ethnomedicine practitioner) were a little hesitating and reluctant to tell us their local ethnomedicine based treatment methods used for control family size and cure sex diseases. The asked questions focused on determining (1) which sex diseases are common in community (2) which herbs are mostly used for birth control and how these are mostly used. The interviews were conducted in local language, Pahari and Panjabi. The interviews were direct supplemented by direct observations. Plant voucher specimens (ISB) were collected and deposited at Quaid-e-Azam university herbarium, Islamabad. Data from the field study were reviewed and all uncompleted responses were excluded. This left 110 valid respondents. The data were both analyzed by qualitatively and quantitatively; responses from open-ended questions were grouped into classes that expressed similar ideas, while percentages based on valid responses only, were calculated from closed-ended questions. So these results comprise on use of questionnaire open- and closed- ended methodology and ethnomedicinal study of plant specimens after comparison with literature, Flora of Pakistan series 1-205 (Stewart 1982, Ali and Nasir 1970-2002).

 

 

3. Enumerations

 

Abutilon indicum (L.) Sweet. ����������Family: Malvaceae

Ln: Kangi����������� ������������������������������ISL: 118���������

Habit: Undershrub����������������������������� Disease: Syphilis����� ��������������������������

Plant Part used: Roots and seeds������� Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: �������Root extract is taken orally while seeds are crushed and mixed with egg albumin and applied to penis to cure syphilis.

 

Acacia modestaWall.���� ������������������Family: Mimosaceae����

Ln: Phulai����������������������������������������ISL: 38

Habit: Tree�� ��������������������������������������Disease: Birth pain and body ache.��

Plant Part used: Gum and bark���������� Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: �������Women use its gum with Desi Ghee (Butter obtained from buffalo and cow) and Papaver (Papaver somniferum) seeds (mixed together) to make �Punjoori� after child birth, which give relief of labour pain and it providespotency to women. The tribal ladies also use its bark decoction and oil of Setaria italica in mixture as conceptive tonic.

 

Ajuga bracteosa�� Wall. ex Benth.��� Family: Lamiaceae

Ln: Hari booti����� �������������������������������ISL: 99������

Habit: Herb������ �����������������������������������Disease: Vomiting due to pregnancy���

Plant Part used: Whole plant������ �������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: �������Plant extract is taken in intervals to prevent unusual vomiting

in initial days of pregnancy.

 

Allium sativum L.��� ����������������������������Family: Liliaceae����

Ln: Lassan���� �������������������������������������ISL: 203

Habit: Herb��������� �������������������������������Disease: Enhance conception�������

Plant Part used:Bulb: �����������������������Status: C, I

Preparation and administration: ��The bulb extract is applied in uterus to enhance conception and fertility.

 

Amaranthus viridis L.�� �����������������������Family: Amaranthaceae ��

Ln:Chulair���������������������������������������ISL: 168

Habit: Herb��� �������������������������������������Disease: Amenorrhoea����������������

Plant Part used: Root������������������������� Status: W, I������

Preparation and administration: ���Its root decoction is used thrice a day to control menstruation problems in females.

 

Anethum graveolense L. �������������������Family: Apiaceae�����

Ln: Soya������������� ������������������������������ISL: 28����

Habit: Herb�� ������������������������������������Disease: Galactogogue and indigestion after delivery

Plant part used: Seeds���������������������� Status: C, Int.

Preparation and administration: ����Women chew the seeds after delivery for easy digestion of food and it is also useful as lactogogue.

 

Azadirachta indica A. Juss.���������������Family: Meliaceae��

Ln: Neem������������������������������������������ISL: 31

Habit: Tree�� ���������������������������������������Disease: Emmenogogue and contraceptive

Plant part used: Leaf and seeds���������� Status: SW, Int.

Preparation and administration: �������Leaf extract is made and is used twice a day to stop excessive bleeding during menstrual period, while seed oil is used as contraceptive, two hours before copulation.

 

Bombax ceiba L.������� �������������������������Family: Bombacaceae

Ln: Simbal�� ����������������������������������������ISL: 82����

Habit: Tree����� ������������������������ ���������Disease: Hydrocoele, leucohrroea, gonorrhoea and menstrual disorders�������������������

Plant part used: Bark and flower������� Status: SW, Int.

Preparation and administration: ������Its extract of bark is given for few days to cure sexual diseases like hydrocoele, leucorrhoea, gonorrhoea; its flowers are ground as powder and taken by women with milk to cure menstrual disorders.

 

Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub. ����Family: Fabaceae��

Ln: Chichara �����������������������������������ISL: 171���

Habit: Tree���� ������������������������������������Disease: Leucohrroea and after birth bleeding

Plant part used:Bark and gum�������� Status: W, I������������������������ ������������������

Preparation and administration: ���Fried gum is used in making �Halwa� (a mixture of wheat flour and gum and oil) and given to women during leucorrhoea. Its �th cup of warm extract of bark is given to ladies as haemostatic after childbirth.

 

Ceropegia bulbosa Roxb.��� �������������Family: Asclepiadaceae��

Ln: Glut�� ������������������������������������������ISL: 04��

Habit: Herb���� �����������������������������������Disease: Weak fertility���

Plant part used: Tubers��������������������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ���Its raw tubers are cooked and eaten by ladies to enhance fertility and vitality.

 

Corchorus trilocularis L.������ ������������Family: Tiliaceae��

Ln: Kaunti���������� ������������������������������ISL: 55���������

Habit: Herb���������� �����������������������������Disease: Syphilis���������

Plant part used: Seeds and roots������� Status: SW, Int.

Preparation and administration: �����To cure syphilis decoction of roots is used for several days, while seeds are powdered and used with root extract of Clematis sp. for one month.

 

Coriandrum sativum L.��� �����������������Family: Apiaceae ���

Ln: Dhania��������������������������� �������������ISL: 43

Habit: Herb���� �����������������������������������Disease: To control birth rate������������ ��������������

Plant part used:Seeds ����������������������Status: C, Int.

Preparation and administration: �������Its seeds soaked in water at night and given to male to produce sterility as an effective and cheaper method of population control.

 

Crateva magna (Lour.) D.C.���� �����������Family: Capparaceae����

Ln: Maimana������������� ��������������������������ISL:78��������

Habit: Tree���������������� ��������������������������Disease: Abortifacient��������

Plant part used: Stem�������������������������� Status: SW, Int.

Preparation and administration: �������The stem twig is put inside uterus for abortion, which occurs within 2-3h.

 

Daucus carota L. ��������������������������������Family: Apiaceae��

Ln: Gajar �����������������������������������������������ISL: 173����������������������������������������������������������������� ������������

Habit: Herb��� ����������������������������������������Disease: Abortifacient and emmenogogue��

Plant part used: Seeds�� ��������������������������Status: C, Int.

Preparation and administration: �������Its seeds decoction is used to regularise menstruation and its high dose is effective for abortifacient.

 

Echinops echinatus Roxb.�� ��������������������Family: Asteraceae������

Ln: Oont booti ����������������������������������������ISL: 186 �������������

Habit: Herb��������������������������������������������� Disease: Easy delivery�������

Plant part used: Roots����������������������� ������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ������������Roots are kept in hand for easy delivery and relief of labour pain by tribal ladies.

 

Euphorbia caducifolia Hains.�� ����������������Family: Euphorbiaceae ��

Ln: Danda Thor ���������������������������������������ISL: 176

Habit:Tree�� ��������������������������������������������Disease: Abortifacient��

Plant part used: Roots�����������������������������Status: W, Int.

Preparation and administration: ������������Its root decoction is used as effective abortifacient at initial stages.

 

Ficus bengalensis L.��� ���������������������������Family: Moraceae

Ln: Bar, Bargad���������������������������������� ���ISL: 55��

Habit: Tree�� �������������������������������������������Disease: Male sterility and semen ��

Plant part used: Latex���� �������������������������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: �������Five or ten drops of latex are taken with sweet (patasa) by men up to one or two months to make semen thick and regain sexual potentiality.

 

Ficus racemosa L.������ ���������������������������Family: Moraceae

Ln: Pakwari�������������� ������������������������������ISL: 280

Habit: Tree�� ��������������������������������������������Disease: Birth rate control��

Plant part used: Bark�� �����������������������������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ����The decoction of bark is used to check spermatogenesis and oogenesis for few weeks to control the population growth.

 

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.�������������������������Family: Malvaceae

Ln: Gul Khaira���������� ����������������������������������ISL: 15

Habit: Under shrub�����������������������������������Disease: Genital irritation/ Urithritis ���

Plant part used: Root�������������������������� ��������Status: SW, Int.

Preparation and administration: ������������Its root decoction is used to cure Urithritis and genital irritation in penis of men.

 

Justicia adhatoda L.������������������������������Family:Acanthaceae

Ln: Baiker���������������������������������������� ����������ISL: 136��

Habit: Shrub��� ��������������������������������������������Disease: Abortifacient.

Plant part used: Root������ ����������������������������Status: W, I�����

Preparation and administration: ����������Its roots decoction is taken twice daily as powerful abortifacient for seven days.

 

Nerium oleander L.�� �������������������������������Family: Apocynaceae��

Ln: Gandera������������������ ���������������������������ISL: 131��

Habit: Shrub������������� �������������������������������Disease:Abortifacient

Plant part used: Roots���� ��������������������������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ��������Roots extract is taken in minute quantity for abortion at initial stages, but its high dose is poisonous.

 

Ocimum basilicum L.������������������������������Family: Lamiaceae���

Ln: Baburi�������������������� ���������������������������ISL: 101����������

Habit: Herb���� �����������������������������������������Disease: Sexual sterility and strangury

Plant part used: Seeds����������������������������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ����������Its seed extract is taken orally by men to increase sexual potency, while its juice (made from mixing its seed extract and raw sugar) is used to cure strangury.

 

Onosma bracteatum Wall. (Syn: O. macrocephala D. Done) Family: Boraginaceae

Ln:Gao zaban���� �����������������������������������ISL: 213����������� ����������������������������������������

Habit: Herb��������������������������������������������Disease: Syphilis and sexual potency�����

Plant part used:Whole plant�����������������Status: C, I

Preparation and administration: ����������The decoction of whole plant is orally taken for relief of syphilis and with gum of Phulai (Acacia modesta) is eaten for one month to gain sexual potency by women.

 

Pinus wallichiana ��A.B. Jacks.��� ������������Family: Pinaceae��

Ln: Chir��� ��������������������������������������������������ISL: 65��

Habit: Tree��� ���������������������������������������������Disease: Gonorrhoea, blennorhoea and Potency

Plant part used: Leaves and Seeds������������ Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ��������������Its leaves decoction is used to cure gonorrhoea, blennorhoea and as blood purifier also. Its cones give seeds called chalkgoza, which are eaten to get potency and vigour.

 

Putrangiva roxburgii�� Wall.��������������������Family: Euphorbiaceae��

Ln: Jia-putra������������������ ����������������������������ISL: 233

Habit: Tree��������������������� ����������������������������Disease: Weakness of neonate���������

Plant part used:Fruit �������������������������������Status: SW, Int.

Preparation and administration: ���������A garland of its fruit is put around neck of pregnant lady to produce healthy baby and then put it around neck of neonate for few months to recover neonate�s weakness.

 

Solanum surattense Burm.f.�������������������������Family: Solanaceae

Ln: Mokari��� ��������������������������������������������������ISL: 93

Habit: Herb ��������������������������������������������������Disease: Abortifacient���

Plant part used:Fruit and root����� ������������������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ������������������Its fruit is used as abortifacient at initial stages. It is boiled and taken two cups of soup at night, while its root decoction is used to treat haematuria.

 

Setaria italica (L.) P.Beauv.��� ����������������������Family: Poaceae

Ln: Kangni��� �������������������������������������������������ISL: 11

Habit: Herb ����������������������������������������������������Disease: Sexual potency.

Plant part used: Seeds��������������� ���������������������Status: C, Int.

Preparation and administration: ����������������Its seeds crushed and mixed with ghee as in form of a cake, and eaten to get sexual vigor and potency.

 

Solanum nigrum L.������ �����������������������������������Family: Solanaceae���

Ln: Mako�������������������������������� �����������������������ISL: 12

Habit: Herb ����������������������������������������������������Disease: Abortifacient��

Plant part used: Whole plant������ ���������������������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ���������������������Whole plant is boiled and extraction is taken orally as abortifacient and foetus is discharged in short time. .

 

Tecomella undulata (Roxb.) Seem.�� ��������������Family: Bignoniaceae����

Ln: Rohira/ Palwana�� �����������������������������������ISL: 264.

Habit: Tree������� �����������������������������������������������Disease: Abortifacient and haemorrhoids

Plant part used: Bark and seeds�������� ��������������Status: SW, Int.

Preparation and administration: �����������������The bark is powdered and is used with hot milk for few days for abortion. Its seeds are crushed with extract of Pinus leaves, and taken to cure haemorrhoids.

 

Trachyspermum ammi (L.) Sprague. ex Turrill. �����������Family: Apiaceae

Ln: Ajwain������ ��������������������������������������������ISL: 176��

Habit:Herb����� �������������������������������������������Disease: Scanty menstruation������������

Plant part used:Seeds��� ������������������������������Status: SW, Int.��

Preparation and administration:�����������������The powdered seeds are mixed with Gor (Raw sugar) and Desi ghee (Butter) and taken orally once a day for three days by ladies having scanty menstruation and to regularise it. It is also used to clear uterus and regularise menstrual cycle after birth.

 

Tribulus terrestris L.���� ��������������������������������Family: Zygophylaceae��

Ln: Bakhara����� ����������������������������������������������ISL: 188����

Habit: Tree��� ������������������������������������������������Disease: Impotency������������������

Plant part used: Mucilaginous infusion�������� Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ����������������Its mucilaginous infusion is boiled with milk and taken at to cure sexual impotency and weakness.

 

Vitis vitiginea (L.) Theob. �������������������������������Family: Vitaceae

Ln: Gangli angoor�� ������������������������������������������ISL: 198

Habit: Herb/ climber����� ����������������������������������Disease: Leucorrhoea, menorrhagia

Plant part used: Tuber�������������������������������������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ���������������������Extract of tuber is taken in sexual diseases. For men, it increases potency, in females it is given in leucorrhoea and menorrhagia.

 

Withania coagulans (Stocks.) Dunal.���� ����������Family:Solanaceae���

Ln: Paneer dodi������� ���������������������������������������ISL: 149

Habit: Herb������� ���������������������������������������������Disease: Swellings pain of testis and emmenogogue Plant part used: Fruit and Leaves�������������������� Status: SW, I

Preparation and administration: ������Its fruit infusion is used by women as emmenogogue and galactogogue. Leaves are crushed and pasted on testis to get relief from swellings pain.

 

Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal.�� ���������������Family:Solanaceae���

Ln: Asgand�� ����������������������������������������������ISL: 30���

Habit: Herb/under Shrub.��� ����������������������Disease: Abortifacient, haemostatic, hydrocoele, leucohrroea, menorrhagia, sexual impotency and sterility.���� ��

Plant part used: Leaves, roots and whole plant.

Status: SW, I

Preparation and administration: ������������������������Leaves extract one cup three times a day is used to stop blood flow from uterus after delivery. Its root powder is used to give power to body and lumber. But over dose may be abortifacient. Some times whole plant decoction with root of Aspergus officinalis, seeds of Phaeoleus mungo and silageet stone are mixed and given to treat hydrocoele, leucorrhoea, menorrhagia and it also increases sexual potency and fertility.

 

Zingiber officinale�� Roscoe. ��������������������������������Family: Zingiberaceae��

Ln: Adrak������ ������������������������������������������������������ISL: 282

Habit: Herb���� �������������������������������������������������������Disease: Delivery pain��

Plant part used: Tuber �������������������������������������������Status: C, Int.

Preparation and administration: ��������������������������Its dried tuber powder is given to women after delivery as tonic to relief flatulence and delivery pain with all dishes in first two weeks.

 

Ziziphus nummularia�� (Burm.f.) Wight. & Arn.��Family: Rhamnaceae�������������

Ln: Koken ber��������������������������������������� �����������������ISL: 181��������

Habit: Tree���������� ����������������������������������������������������Disease: Scanty Oogenesis���������� ��

Plant part used: Fruit �����������������������������������������������Status: W, I

Preparation and administration: ���������������������������Its fruit is powdered and dipped in water and kept over night. Women take this extract at morning to increases oogenesis.

 

 

 

Abbreviations used: ISL= voucher number assigned to specimen deposited at Herbarium, Islamabad.

Ln: Local name,��� W: wild, C: cultivated, SW: semi wild, I: indigenous,

Int: introduced,��� EM: ethnomedicines

 

4. Results and discussion

 

4.1 Plant species used for family planning:

 

Thirty six plant species distributed in 26 families are used as ethnomedicines to control birth rate and sex-related diseases. Most of these families are dichotomous except Pinaceae (Gymnosperm), Liliaceae and Poaceae (monochotomous). The families with the largest plant species used for birth control as used in ethnomedicinal prescriptions are Solanaceae and Apiaceae with four species each, Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, Moraceae, Malvaceae have two plants each, while remaining families are represented by one plant each. The two families Solanaceae and Apiaceae have the highest diversity of species used as ethnomedicines because they contain relatively more species than other families in the area. In the present traditional EM study of local plants as; Daucus carota, Solanum surrattense, Solanum nigrum, Tecomella undulata and Justicia adhatoda are usually used as abortifacient to control birth rate in initial stages, while Amaranthus viridis, Trachyspermum ammi are used to regularize menstrual cycle. The tribal ladies use decoction of bark of Acacia modesta and oil of Setaria italica as conceptive while Azadirachta indica oil is effective as contraceptive. Ficus racemosa is used to check spermatogenesis and oogenesis, Coriandrum sativum seeds are used to check spermatogenesis. Some plants as Setaria italica, Tribulus terrestris, Ceropegia bulbosa and Ficus bengalensis are used to increase fertility both in male and female. Ziziphus nummularia is used to increase oogenesis and Ceropegia bulbosa is used by women to increase potency, Ficus bengalensis and Tribulus terrestris are used to enhance sexual potency in men.

 

4.2 Common sexual diseases and treatment:

 

The local people mentioned some sex-related diseases as; gonorrhoea, leucohrroea, menorrhagia, syphilis, hydrocoele, vomiting due to pregnancy, menstruation disorders, genital irritation (Urithritis), swelling of testis, weakness of neonate, scarcity of milk and sexual impotency and their conditions. Some these diseases described by tribal people indicated the symptoms/local names of diseases (Table 1).The naming of diseases by local people when compared to western medicines system, at times did not distinguish between diseases and symptoms of diseases. This is because that local disease nomenclature is based on symptoms of diseases, where as under western system, diseases are named according to aetiological information. For treatment tribals use; Hibiscus rosa-sinensis to cure genital irritation of penis in men, Withania somnifera, Bombax ceiba and Vitis vitiginea are used to cure sexual diseases such as hydrocoele, leucorrhoea, and menorrhagia while Zingiber officinalis is useful to cure of flatulence and delivery pain. Trachyspermum ammi is used for regularising menses after delivery, Setaria italica is good for sexual weakness, Onosma bracteatum, Corchorus trilocularis and Abutilon indicum are effective against syphilis, Ocimum basilicum for sex-potency, Ajuga bracteosa for cure of vomiting at initial days of pregnancy, while for treatment of leucohrroea and hydrocoele Butea monosperma and Bombax ceiba are oftenly used.

 

 

Fig.1.Characteristics of plants used as ethnomedicines in Samahni valley (n= 36).

(a) Management status. (b) status of origin (c) growth habit (d) plant parts used (sd=seed, rt=root, lf= leaf, fr= fruit, w.pl= wild plant, tbr=tuber, bk=bark, g/m=gum/mucilage, st=stem, lx=latex, bb= bulb, fl= flower)

 

The main attributes of plants used for birth control and sex diseases treatment are that the plants grow wild (55.55%) , are indigenous to Samahni (61.11%) and are mainly herbs (52.77%; fig.1). The most frequently employed plant parts are seeds (22.72 %), followed by roots (20.45%) and leaves and fruit (9.090 %) each (fig.1). The practice of exploiting perennial plant parts, such as roots of slow growing woody species, can result in a decline, both the size and distributions of populations of exploited plants species, and ultimately results in local extinction of these populations (Cunningham, 1993; Sheldon, et al., 1997; Dhillion and Amundsen, 2000). Generally aims at conserving plants can be improved, if the species selected has many different uses, as multiple uses canmotivate people to conserve species( Aguilar and Condit , 2001; Etkin, 2002).

 

Table 1 Some sex-related diseases of the study area:

________________________________________________________________________________________________

English gloss���������� �����������������������������������������Local name���������������������� ���������������������������������������f

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Amenorrhoea

haiz ki bandish

85

Blennorhoea

biari boo

81

Leucohrroea

Lokoro

77

Hydrocoele

Mongoota

65

Abortion

Tohroo

59

Male sterility

Khasi

51

Semen thickness

Surat inzal

31

Genital irritation

Masana ki garmi

25

Neonate weakness

Pashawan

21

Bleeding after birth

Nafaas

18

Birth pain

Dardi zai

19

Vomiting due to pregnancy

Hamal ki nishani

17

Scarcity of milk

Sookana

10

Enhance contraception

Haamal terana

9

Excessive menstruation

Haizi ki kassrat

5

Scanty menstruation

Haizi ki kami

5

Menorrhagia

Haizi ki boot kassrat

3

Urithritis

Urethra ka pool jana

3

Syphilis

Bowaseer

3

Haematuria

Soozak

2

Haemorrhoids

Boowaseeri badi

2

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Frequency (f) refers to the number of respondents who reported the disease (total 110).

 

4.3 Ethnomedicinal treatment and human health

 

The majority of the respondents interviewed (68%) employ herbal treatment as first line treatment. If the patient does not improve then medical practioner is consulted. While other (32%) seek proper services of doctor when they fell sick. Thus majority of people mostly rely on EM as their first line of defence in treatment of sex-related (and other) diseases and control birth rate, this may be as EM is effective, freely and locally available. Using these plants the people of valley can treat diseases/conditions namely; gonorrhoea, leucohrroea, menorrhagia, amenorrhoea, blennorhoea, haematuria, urithritis, syphilis, hydrocoele, vomiting due to pregnancy, menstruation disorders, genital irritation, swelling of testis, weakness of neonate, scarcity of milk and sexual impotency. The EM practices mentioned here have not been recorded any where in the literature. EM practices are employed as mostly infusions, powdered, decoctions and some times applied topically.

 

5. Conclusion:

 

There is much EM knowledge concerning about birth control and sexual diseases treatment within the community of Samahni valley. In the present study, it is recorded that thirty six ethnomedicinal plants of twenty six families are used by tribals to cure sex-related diseases; syphilis, leucohrroea, menorrhagia, gonorrhoea, genital irritation of penis, hydrocoele, to regularise menstruation, to reduce delivery pain, to increase fertility in men and women, and for family planning either to check spermatogenesis or to check oogenesis. The EM knowledge of inhabitants of area on abortifacient, sexual fertility and female contraceptives, which is one of the important informal innovations used by them and is quite relevant to present day situation. This EM knowledge is first time reported in literature. The issues to be addressed are efficacy, quality, safety and standardisation of doses. It appears that exploitation of some of wild plants for EM is unsustainable and might threaten the local plant population. We cannot however, make any firm predictions about the effects of harvesting, in the absence of information on abundance and distribution of plants species, as well as harvesting intensities. Studies to furnish these data need to be carried. These purported ethnomedicinal and ethnobotanical informations of plants require further research, while efficacy of various indigenous practices and folklore uses should be subjected to pharmaceutical and phytochemical investigations in order to identify how these can be of practical advantage in medicinal development. For local communities, this research should stimulate the implementation of �re-collected� data inside concrete eco-sustainable inter-disciplinary project, involving natural, social, cultural and economic aspects.

 

Acknowledgement

 

One of authors, Muhammad Ishtiaq Chaudhary is thankful to Prof. Dr. Mir Ajab Khan and Prof. Dr. Rizwana A.Q. Quaid-e-Azam University, and all informants who shared their EM knowledge, for their excellent co-operation in collection, identification of plant specimens and verification of some of collected ethnomedicinal informations by comparison with literature, Flora of Pakistan in Herbarium (ISL) of Quaid -e-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan.

 

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