Ethnobotanical Leaflets 10: 72-81. 2006.

Traditional Medicinal and Economic uses of Gymnosperms of Kaghan Valley, Pakistan
Manzoor Hussain,* Ghulam Mujtaba Shah* and Mir Ajab Khan**
*Botany Department, Govt Post Graduate College, Abbottabad. **Associate Professor, Dept.of Plant Sciences, Quaid-I-Azam University Islamabad. Pakistan
Issued 5 March 2006

The ethnobotanical data of total 12 gymnosperms belonging to four families was collected from the local people of the Kaghan Valley. A complete list of the plants is given with their name, family and ethnobotanical use, distribution and occurrence. Indigenous knowledge of local inhabitants about the use of native plants were collected during field trips through questionnaire The inhabitants of the area have to use the medicinal plants for various purposes and have for a long time been dependent on surrounding plant resources for their food, shelter, fodder’s, health, care and other cultural purposes. Pinus roxburgii, P. wallichiana, Cedrus deodara, Abies pindrow and Taxus wallichiana are prominent gymnosperms of Kaghan Valley which are not only source of timber but also utilized as fuel wood and for medicinal purposes. Key words: Ethnobotanical uses, gymnosperms, Kaghan Valley-Pakistan.

The Kunhar river catchments area is commonly known as, “ Kaghan Valley”. The valley is situated in the northern part of North West Frontier Province of Pakistan (NWFP). It is 161 Km long scenic wonderlands, with its towering Himalayan peaks, peaceful lakes, majestic glaciers and splashing waterfalls. Even, today, when few places have escaped man’s meddlesome fingers, is still in an unbelievably pristine state, an unspoilt paradise. It is situated between 340-17/ to 350-10/ North latitudes and 730-28/ to 740-7 / East longitudes. Total area of the valley is about 1627 Sq. Km. Kaghan valley is a watershed area of the River Jhelum and the large water reservoir, “ Mangla Dam” built on this river. The Kaghan valley, of which the forests are an essential part, has great tourist attraction. The visitors, mostly outdoor recreationists visit the beautiful spots like, Shogran, Sari, Naran, Lalazar, Saif-ul-Malook, Lulusar, Dudipatsar and Sharan during summer season. The entire area is mountainous and the mountains flank the Kunhar River on either side forming transverse spurs ending in a series of lofty peaks. General topography of the land is undulating, often cut up by numerous small streams. Kaghan valley is bounded on the east as well as on the southern side by Azad Jammu Kashmir, on the north by Chilas and Gilgit agencies and on the west by Allai Kohistan and Mansehra. The altitude in the area ranges from 915 metres at Balakot to 5280 metres at Malika Parbat (Queen of the Mountains), the highest peak in the valley bordering the beautiful lake, “Saif-ul-Malook”. The river Kunhar emerges from the lake Lulusar in the Babusar pass at an elevation of 4146 metres and flows north eastern to southwestern direction in the upper part of the valley down to Balakot. After a very troublesome and complicated course of 177 Km, it joins the river Jhelum at “Pattan”. It traverses deep mountains gorges from its source up to Balakot, “ The Gateway to the Kaghan valley”, where it enters the plain and flows down to Ghari

Viola spp. Fragaria. Anemone spp. Atropa acuminata. Literacy rate according to 1981 census was 16. walnut. Rubus spp. where as lower part of the valley receives its major portion in the form of rainfall during summer season. Bergenia spp. Undergrowth generally consists of Viburnum spp. Berberis lycium. And with spruce “ Picea smithiana” locally called “Kachhal” at lower elevation. Their economy is mostly agro-pastoral. particularly in moist and cool localities. The shrub layer varies considerably. Paeonia emodi. Ground cover is thick. Aconitum spp and Primula spp. Manoor and Kamalban forests. Nagan. Total area of these forests is 1712 hectares. The total average annual precipitation both at Balakot and Naran are almost same. 1965) the Kaghan valley forests fall under the major type “Montane Temperate Forests” and “Himalayan Dry Temperate Forests”. It is the study of how people of a particular culture and region make use of indigenous plants. The ground flora consists of Rumex spp. Principal tribes (ethnic groups) in the valley are Syed. However. Increase in literacy rate during seventeen years is not encouraging. Spiraea spp. Blue Pine “Pinus wallichiana” locally called “Biar and Kail” is found as a pure crop in Lachi Khan. Fragaria vesca. pear and apricot. and Rubus spp. Climate of the tract as a whole is temperate with distinct seasonal variations. Climbers like Clematis and Rosa are also found in some places. Ethnobotany is a very broad discipline and it includes all sorts of human-plants interactions. Kamalban. which is heavier on upper ridges. Prunus spp. Lakes are confined to the upper mountainous region in the Kaghan valley. Agriculture is the principal occupation. The most commercially grown important fruits are apple. Naran and Battal forests at an altitude from 1520 to 2430 metres. Lonicera spp. and Cotoneaster spp. Acer caesium and Populus ciliata. Dewanbela. mostly on warmer aspects. Seth and Khattak. The natural phenomenon of Fir colonizing in the cooler aspects and Blue Pine in warmer reaches may be distinctly noticed in some parts of Malkandi. Lonicera spp. Viola spp. Dicanthum. Few people are engaged in trade. and ferns. Geranium spp. there are other definitions also. Malkandi. Skimmia laureola. Most of the people speak Hindko and Gujri languages. its distribution varies from 1370 to 2590 metres. Total area covered by these forests is 9296 hectares. As a broad division of forests beyond Dewanbela are representative of later type. It is generally confined to the warmer. Nuri. Prunus cornuta. although sheep and cattle rising are practiced over the adjacent mountainous area. Malkandi. Aesculus indica. Acer spp. Common shrubs are Parrotia spp. Naran receives most of precipitation as snowfall during winter season. Trifolium spp. Karkana and Battal forests. High illiteracy in the area is because of the poverty and less educational facilities. Sorbaria spp. The total area covered by these forests is 3203 hectares. Deodar “Cedrus deodara” locally called as “Diar” in lower and “Paludar” in the upper part of the valley is found rarely pure in Kamalban. Below which it once again enters through deep gorges until it joins Kishenganga”. The most widely . Depending upon aspect. local labour and employment in bigger cities of the country. Swati. Gujar and Awan. Common broad-leaved associates are Aesculus indica. According to standard classification of “Forest types of Pakistan” (Champion. Skimmia laureola. “ Sar” means a lake. The broadleaved associates are Juglans regia. Rosa spp. The three world fame lakes are Lulusar. On the whole. Potatoes and peas yield fair return. which may be expected any time from middle of November to middle of April. Nuri. Dudipatsar and Saif-ul-Malook Sar. and Quercus spp. it was 30. but well developed under an open canopy. Fir “Abies pindrow” locally known as “Rewar” is generally available as pure crop at varying altitude from 2130 to 3190 metres. Viburnum spp. The ground flora consists of Viola. Indigofera spp. Maize is grown as major crop. Berberis spp. the tract receives a good deal of annual precipitation as snowfall.9%. The herbaceous flora consists of Valeriana wallichii. Nuri and Kamalban Forests. The population of Kaghan valley is entirely rural and mostly poverty stricken and under nourished. Nagan.5% and according to 1998 census. and Lonicera spp. Winters are severe with heavy snowfall. Atropa acuminata. Fragaria spp. Vegetables and fruits are less common. plum. Syed and Swati are economically dominant. southern and western slopes as typically represented by Malkandi forests. wheat and rice is also grown. Gujars are in numerical majority. The undergrowth is usually of Viburnum spp. besides other areas such forests may be noticed in Malkandi. Indigofera spp. Mukhair.Habib-Ullah. Manshi. Ferns and various species of grasses. Populus spp. being thin under a close canopy of Deodar.

Medicinal and Economic Uses: The fruit and wood are anthelmintic and astringent. key to the species. Various samples were taken randomly. Ladak. .1989).May. The wood is used in carpentry and for furniture making. Betar. Analysis of the data was done and indigenous knowledge was documented. Richard Evans Schultes. The data taken in the field was transferred to the slip pasted on the herbarium sheets. (Baquar. Ali. Chitral. (Kashmiri). distribution. 1945). Kashmir. Vernacular Names: Graveyard Cypress (English).R. constituents. 1986. Pethra. Islamabad. 1970-2002). Qaiser. Gilgit. Interviews of about ~100 informants including local community. nearly 50 % of the drug presently used in modern medicine is prepared synthetically from petrochemical-based raw materials. Astor. 1995). key to the families. Quaid i. var. 1987). Punjabi. the plants were mounted on the standard size herbarium sheets. Distribution: Cultivated in plains and lower hills. The collected material was pressed and dried using blotting papers for about two weeks at room temperature. Haq (1993) surveyed Mansehra District and collected 53 wild and 17 cultivated medicinal plants. Pama. Pollen grain causes hayfever (Wodehouse. substances. Bentha Sukpa. Saro (Urdu. Bantha (Kohistani). parts used. (Hussain. in primitive or unlettered societies. Petthri (Punjabi). including relevant concepts. Juniperus communis L. and E. distribution and important uses. Common in graveyards. Stereomicroscope was used for critical examination of the material. key to the genera. Distribution: Common and gregarious.Nasir et al. 2400 to 4200 metres. Methods and Material Ethnobotanical survey of Kaghan Valley was carried out during November 2004and June 2005. families.I-Azam.Nasir. The voucher specimens were deposited in the herbarium of Department of Plant Sciences. Bhentri (Hindko)." In Pakistan. Planted as ornamental tree. Baltistan. and phenomenon. Pakistan. herbalists and pansaries were conducted on random basis. The plants were identified with the help of taxonomic literature. medicinal and local uses . Swat. He enlists these plants with botanical. The dried material was disinfected using mercuric chloride and absolute alcohol . S. manuals and floras (Parker 1952. S. Vernacular Name: Common Juniper (English). Kaghan Valley. Dras. Hocking (1958) estimated that in early 1950 up to 84% of the Pakistani population was dependent on traditional medicine for all or most of their medicinal needs.accepted and used is "the use of plants in primitive societies".After poisoning. Kurram. (1969) described gymnosperms of W. University. (Baquar. one of the modern fathers of ethnobotany defined ethnobotany as "the study of human evaluation and manipulation of plant materials. A semi structured questionnaire method was followed to collect ethnobotanical uses of gymnosperms of the valley. general characteristics of the species. Results FAMILY: CUPRESSACEAE Cupressus sempervirens L. saxatilis Pallas.I. Abhal (Urdu).. herds men. English and vernacular names. Flowering Season: April . The out come of the results were rechecked and compared with literature. Hindko). They classified them in 5 orders and 9 families.. Occurrence: Plain and lower hills up to 1200 meters. Occurrence: Form dense patches near the tree limit and up to 4200 metres in the Kaghan Valley.

Commonly Cultivated in plains and lower hills. 1945). Juniperus squamata Buch. Berries. Chalai (Hindko). 1970). near Mastaj. polyps. The fruit and wood are anthelmintic and astringent. Shurgu (Punjabi). Medicinal and Economic Properties: Used in stomach cramps. gleets. digestive. cough and pectoral affections. et a. Ash of the bark is applied in certain skin affections. deobstruent. Flowering Season: June . leucorrhoea and some cutaneous diseases. wood and oil reported to be used in folk remedies for cancer. Pollen grain may cause hayfever (Wodehouse. (Baquar. used in dropsy. . stimulant in dysmenorrhoea. Luir. The berries are given in scanty urine. Juniper berries are roasted ground and are used as substitute of coffee.June. stimulant. Shur (Punjabi). leucorrhoea and some cutaneous diseases. Occurrence: Form dense patches near the tree limit and upto 4200 metres in the Upper Kaghan Valley. More Pankh (Urdu. 1989).July. S. Occurrence: Form dense patches near the tree limit and up to 4200 metres in the upper Kaghan Valley. skin diseases. gonorrhoea. (Zaman. forming open forests. The chief importance of wood lies in its suitability for pencil making. Chalai (Hindko).Medicinal and Economic Properties: Infusion of berries is diuretic. Reported to be carminative. Baluchistan and dry inner valleys from Chitral eastward. Fruit diuretic. stimulant in dysmenorrhoea. indurations. Juniperus excelsa M. 1997). Locally. The ash is mixed with tobacco and best quality “Naswar” (Snuff) is prepared.R. (Zaman et al. Twigs are burnt as incense and berries used similarly as that of Juniperus communis. Generally wood and leaf burnt as incense. Thuja orientalis L. Distribution: Common. Distribution: Common and often with Juniperus communis above the tree line. and kidney diseases. 1970). The ash is mixed with tobacco and best quality “Naswar” (Snuff) is prepared. (Baquar. used locally as fuel wood. excelsa. Wodehouse (1945) claimed that the pollen cause hay fever. Bantha. gleets. 2000 to 4000 metres. diaphoretic. The berries are also recommended in infantile tuberculosis and diabetes. stimulant. Distribution: Native to China and Japan. Medicinal and Economic Properties: Twigs are burnt as incense and berries used similarly as that of Juniperus communis and J. Medicinal and Economic Properties: Planted as an ornamental tree. Especially in Kashmir.B. Also used in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Hindko). Vernacular Name: Cedar (English). Padam (Kashmiri). The fruit and oil are diuretic. Properties of the fruit are the same as of Juniperus communis and also used for flavouring the “ Gin ” and other products. swellings.1989). (Kaul. Chitral. Abasht (Baluchi). Punjabi. tumors and warts. (Baquar. Occurrence: Commonly planted as ornamental. Upper Kaghan and Kurram 2400 to 4200 meters. Flowering Season: May . Aprus (Baluchi). The wood is hard and fragrant.March. gonorrhea. Vernacular Names: Thuja (English). carminative. 1997). Lot of folk remedies recorded by Duke. for beam making and for making pencil. (Kaul. Vernacular Name: Pencil Cedar (English). kidney diseases. The ash is mixed with tobacco and best quality “Naswar” (Snuff) is prepared. Apurs. Luir. 1997). and is used in dropsy. Flowering Season: February . powder of berries is rubbed on rheumatic and painful swellings. Oobakht (Kohastani). carminative. skin diseases. The wood is used locally as fuel wood. asthma.l. They are also used for the preservation of meat and the preparation of Juniper brandies.

asthma. Liquid extract is used for controlling asthmatic attack. Also used in hepatic diseases.ex Lamb) G. diuretic. doors. and relieving bronchial spasm. M. Specific action is anti-asthmatic (anti-histamine bronchodilator). as blood purifier and cleaning of teeth. It stimulates the heart and constricts blood vessels. it is prescribed frequently for treatment of cold. Used as alterative. Cedrus deodara (Roxb. Useful heart stimulant. Ladak. chronic bronchitis and catarrh of the bladder and other pulmonary affections. Hazara. 1990) Used in hay fever. Rewar (Hindko). Deodar (Urdu). and. FAMILY: PINACEAE Abies pindrow Royle. (Chin. Chitral. Thayon. Swat. Ehewa. S. anti-asthmatic. (Baquar. (Said. (Anonymous. rheumatism. Occurrence: Kaghan. ephedrine obtained from the plant. It is also used in anaesthesia. asthma. because it may be taken orally. influenza. used to treat coughs. 1600 to 4550 metres. Distribution: Chitral. Murree Hills. (Baquar. Juice of berry is given in affection of respiratory passage. phthisis. Occurrence: Form dense patches near the tree limit and up to 4200 metres in the Upper Kaghan Valley. Fruit edible. 1999-2001). History reveals its use over the centuries as “Soma ” of the Aryans in the East. Paludar. effective in the management of bronchospasm. asthma and hayfever. Manshi. Vernacular Names: Cedar (English). furniture and as fuel wood. lung fever. 1995). Dundula. Kalam. asthma and haemoptysis. Medicinal and Economic Properties: Tincture or decoction of the dried terebinthinous leaves is useful in case of cough. Asmania (Urdu. Decoction of stem and roots used as remedy for rheumatism and syphilis. whooping cough and sweating in the night. Grown as ornamental tree. Flowering Season: April – May. chronic bronchitis. common. (Nadkarni. Budshur. Hindko). Distribution: Afghanistan to Kumaon 2100 to 3200 metres. Ephedrine exerts a sympathomimetic action similar to that of adrenaline. hayfever and bronchial asthma. et al. Nuri. The drug. Wood is used for construction purpose i. for the treatment of asthma. Branches and roots treat asthma. Distribution: Urak Valley. Powder of leaves is given with juice of Adhatoda vasica and honey in cough. Kashmir. in reversible airway obstruction associated with stable asthma or chronic bronchitis. 1927). for the relief of unproductive cough accompanied by congestion of the upper respiratory tract. Kamalban. Diar (Hindko). Chepat. The seeds are used as cooling medicine. Juice of the fresh leaves is administered in fever of infants during dentition and also in affections of the chest. 1956). Astor. Paludar (Upper Kaghan). The tincture is cardiac and circulatory stimulant. 1996). Upper Kaghan Valley. sinusitis. Razmak. Kuchan (Punjabi). Vernacular Names: Himalayan silver fir (English). South Wazirastan. The dose being 5-10 drops in water or mother ’s milk. Karkana and Battal forests. sudorific. Cheldymb (Kashmiri). houses.R. “Ma huang” has been in use in China for more than 5000 years. only wild at Biran Gali near Dunga Gali. Decoction of stem and root considered a remedy for rheumatism and syphilis. tonic. (Awan. Kashmir . 1997).e. 1989). stomachic. Nagan. Flowering Season: May – July. Gilgit. Vernacular Names: Asmani Booti (Hindko). including congestion by allergy. The rhizome and dry plants used as fuel by the inhabitant. Chewa (Urdu). Baltistan. Malkandi. Generally available as pure crop at varying altitude from 2130 to 3190 metres. windows. Medicinal and Economic Properties: Chiefly used in treatment of bronchitis. laryngitis and asthma. often planted. Don. coughs. Swat.R. Dewanbela.FAMILY: EPHEDRACEAE Ephedra gerardiana Wall. (Kaul.

Manshi. it cures constipation. The bark has tannins and coloring matter. deodorant. Its commonest use. Kaghan. refrigerant. Kamalban. Bark is astringent. 1996). Oil is diaphoretic. Medicinal and Economic Properties: Resin is stimulant.). boxes and planking. Resin is also used as hair remover. Urdu. (Hussain. Chil) is the commonest conifer from Afghanistan to Bhutan and from 600 to 1500 metres. Punjabi). diaphoretic. (The Deodar is the most valuable timber in our mountains. Oleoresin is used for fumigations. (Awan. cough. fainting and ulceration. Chitral. Dewanbela. house building. Flowering Season: April – May. They are valuable in horses and sore feet of cattle. Oil extracted from root is used for skin diseases of goats and camels. Wood and oleoresin is used in snake bite and scorpion sting. Vernacular Names: Spruce. minor hemorrhages (such as from gums. Common in Kashmir 2000 to 3300 metres. It has limited use also in typhoid. Nuri. are applied to ulcers and skin diseases. Rare in the Murree hills. It may be used for construction purposes. stone in kidney and also antidote to snake bite. diaphoretic. and stimulant. long standing gonorrhea. is as liniment in rheumatic pains. A few at Nathia Gali and the northern slope on Mokshpuri. Wood is aromatic. Himalayan Spruce (English).g. (Baquar. but is easily available in the upper Kaghan Valley. Kachhal (Hindko). The oil has irritant action and most of its medicinal uses are due to that property. 1999-2001). Pinus roxburgii Sargent. (Jain. Chir (Hindko. Its resin Biroja is used for bangles. makes a good fuel. however. Malkandi. Karkana and Battal forests at varying altitude from 2130 to 3190 metres. Distribution: The Himalayan spruce is found in the Kurram. The timber of the tree is largely used for various purposes. nose etc. Wood of this tree is of an excellent quality and used for construction and furniture purposes. musical instruments. Wood is used as timber in construction. antiseptic. Swat. Internally it is used as stomachic and as remedy for gonorrhea. It cures flatulent. Occurrence: Lower Kaghan. tea chests. The wood is not durable. e. piles. Flowering Season: February – April. rubefacient and carminative. match industry. 1987). Cedar wood oil is used in microscopic work. Inhaling the vapors of turpentine is useful in bronchitis. Wood pulp used for shingles. pulmonary and urinary disorders. Medicinal and Economic Properties: The wood is carminative. In controlled small doses it acts as a stimulant expectorant and is useful in chronic bronchitis. Nagan. Used in burning of body. It is cultivated in Punjab. Given as an enema. Externally it is applied as a plaster to buboes and abscesses for suppuration. rheumatism. Naran and Battal at an altitude from 1520 to 2430 metres. useful in fever flatulence. The wood is not so durable. Used as fuel wood. The tar is employed for chronic bronchitis phthisis and in skin diseases. useful in fever. (Baquar. It is also valuable for its resin extract. Essential oil is used with success as a stimulant diuretic in gleet. (Baquar. furniture. Oleoresin and dark colored oil or turpentine. Occurrence: Kamalban. Nuri. used for construction purposes and as a fuel wood. Wood is diaphoretic and stimulant. 1989). used for colouring the leather. diarrhoea and dysentery. etc. 1995). useful in skin diseases and for ulcer. Good for reforestation and soil conservation. Termites usually leave it alone). Occurrence: Malkandi. Vernacular Names: Long leaved pine (English). often growing in pure stands. Distribution: The long leaved pine (Chir. Leaves are used in construction of roofs as “Chanana ”. Picea smithiana (Wall) Bois. Dir. mostly on warmer aspects. found in areas where monsoon do not penetrate. 1989). Medicinal and Economic Properties: Wood is used for making matches.and Kaghan Valley 1220 to 3050 metres. . Gilgit eastwards. sport goods. Flowering Season: October.

Birmi (Hindko. It is an endangered species. i. Biar. Tea of leaves is useful in high fever and asthma. FAMILY: TAXACEAE Taxus wallichiana Zucc. Punjabi).e. Murree Hills. Dir. (1994) described fifty plant species (including Taxus baccata which is used against colds) used as ethnomedicines by Gaddis (migratory shepherds of western Himachal Pradesh) for treating cattle as well as humans. Ponch. Wood and other forest products are also sold to earn money. References . Medicinal and Economic Properties: Used similar as Pinus roxburghii. ulcers. Its wood is also used for construction purposes. The forests are under heavy pressure of grazing. rheumatism and stomach disorders. Azad Kashmir. 1999-2001). Lal et al. Chopra (1992) described and classified gymnosperms into five orders (including ancient gymnosperms). epilepsy and as aphrodisiac. Wood traditionally used for cabinet and furniture making. diabetes. used as fish poison. Hazara. Vernacular Names: Blue pine (English). doors.Pinus wallichiana A. its distribution varies from 1370 to 2950 metres. Nagan. Chitral. (Baquar. etc. Kaghan. The gymnosperms are a major source of timber. an anti cancer compound has been found in bark and leaves. because the community is totally dependent on the forests for their needs. (Baquar. Occurrence: Shogran near Payya. windows. 1989). Flowering Season: April – June. Usually in mixed forest.Jackson. medicinal plants collection and ecotourism. It is used for furniture and fuel purposes. Vernacular Names: Yew (English). fuel wood collection. 1989 and 1995 Discussion The present Ethnobotanical study provides information on the ethnobotanical uses of the 12 gymnosperms belonging to four families. (Kaul. Branches are lopped for fodder. It often begins at the upper limit of Chir Pine and like it. Most of the plant species are reported to be quite effective remedies for different diseases such as fever. antiseptic and emmenagogue Plant is poisonous. These plants are also used by the local herbal healers and hakims as traditional medicines. Manur and Kamalban depending upon the aspect. Most of the species were used for treating arthritis. Wood is used for preparation of body of trucks. jaundice. Swat. stomachache. Distribution: The Blue Pine is abundant from Chitral eastward from 1800 to 3500 metres. Leaves are used in bronchitis. Leaves and fruit are sedative. Astor. Chitral. He also highlighted on the importance of gymnosperms in nature and in human life. cold and even cancer. (Awan. Malkandi. Kail (Hindko).B. This discovery has raised its demand and the tree is vulnerable to get extinct. diarrhea. Distribution: Not gregarious as a rule. There is a dire need to protect this natural wealth with the involvement of community. Kashmir. Mukhair. Kurram. fuel wood and fodder. backache. for indigestion. 2000 to 3500 metres. Occurrence: Lachi Khan. Flowering Season: February – May. southern and western slopes as typically represented by Malkandi forests.Taxus wallichiana ”Burmi” an important source of important anticancerous drug ”Taxol” has been found critically endangered due to heavy lopping as fodder in the winter season. It is generally confined to the warmer. Murree Hills. Swat. 1997). Medicinal and Economic Properties: Recently Taxol. hiccough and asthma.

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