Section 59
Chapter 58,473

Oral traditional knowledge on medicinal plants in jeopardy among Gaddi shepherds in hills of northwestern Himalaya, J&K, India

Dutt, H.Chander.; Bhagat, N.; Pandita, S.

Journal of Ethnopharmacology 16(8): 337-348


ISSN/ISBN: 0378-8741
PMID: 25862962
DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.03.076
Accession: 058472689

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The Gaddi community has been known for its shepherd profession from time immemorial. At least one family member or 4-5 people from a village adopt a nomadic lifestyle with their sheep flocks in between the hills of north western Himalaya. In Jammu and Kashmir, India, law enforcement has banned the collection of the medicinal plants from the wild except for the Gaddi, Gujjar and Bakerwal tribes who are permitted to collect the species for their personal use only. As a consequence, knowledge of medicinal plants lies with these tribes only. This study has been undertaken to assess the status of Oral Traditional Knowledge (OTK) on medicinal plant usage in one of these tribes, known as the Gaddi. The study has focused specifically on the Gaddi Shepherds as their nomadic lifestyle means that they are closely associated with nature and dependent on natural resources for their livelihood including treatment of various ailments. Data on indigenous knowledge has been collected through direct interviews of 53 shepherds of the Gaddi tribe and analyzed for quantitative parameters such as use-value and factor informant consensus. A total of 190 plant species belonging to 70 families, growing along the migratory route of the Gaddi Shepherds are used to treat more than 80 different ailments and disorders. Leaves are the most common plant parts used by the Gaddi Shepherds. The older shepherds are much more aware about the traditional knowledge on medicinal plant usage than the younger ones. 56 plant species are used to treat a range of gastrointestinal and liver disorders, however, diabetic conditions and stings/bites by snakes/scorpions are treated using only two plant species each. Mentha longifolia with UV = 0.26 is the species most commonly used by the informants for medicinal purposes. The low UV (below 1) and low Fic (near 0) is a common observation in the present study. The UV and Fic, analysis reveals that OTK on the medicinal plants is dwindling among the Gaddi Shepherds in Jammu and Kashmir, India.

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