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Research Paper Ethnomedicinal use of plants by the highland communities of Kailash Sacred Landscape, Far-west Nepal


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©2018 Academia Publishing

Research Paper

Ethnomedicinal use of plants by the highland communities of Kailash Sacred

Landscape, Far-west Nepal


Accepted 19th November, 2018


Indigenous and local communities hold wide array of ethnomedicinal knowledge often leading to drug discovery. Ethnomedicine reflects the strong bio-cultural interface of the communities. Ethnobotanical knowledge has been eroding in recent decades due to rapid socio-cultural transformations. The present study investigates the ethnomedicinal knowledge of highland communities of Kailash Sacred Landscape in far-western Nepal. Following prior informed consent, key informant interviews and focus group discussions were conducted to gather and validate the information. The informant consensus factor (ICF) and use value (UV) were calculated in order to estimate the use variability and importance of medicinal plants. The study revealed a total of seventy (70) medicinal plants from thirty-six (36) botanical families. The most dominant families were Polygonaceae and Rosaceae. Roots, stem, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, young shoots and whole plants were used to prepare different remedies to cure eighteen (18) ailments and diseases. Most of the species were used to treat gastro-intestinal disorders (15 species), cuts and wounds (12 species) and dermatological disease (12 species). Herbs were the primary source of medicinal plants (42 species), followed by shrubs (12 species). The average ICFvalue for all ailment categories was 0.84, indicating a high level of informant agreement. High ICF values were obtained for cardiovascular followed by cataract, tonic, cut and wounds, and gastrointestinal disorders.Species such as Tetrastigma serrulatum, Thalictrum foetidum, Xanthium strumarium and Corydalis govaniana showed the highest use value, that is, 3 followed by Achyranthes aspera (2.63), Zanthoxylum oxyphyllum (2.0), Delphinium vestitum (1.67), Swertia chirayita (1.6), and Eskemukerjea megacarpum (1.58). These species with higher ICF and UV can be further investigated from phytochemical and pharmacological perspectives. Our study concludes that the people in the study area are rich in traditional ethnobotanical knowledge. However, the herbal practitioners and users are declining which possess serious threat to the ethnomedicinal practices. We argue that the tangible benefits from such research can be shown only if they are linked with national and international benefit sharing mechanisms under Nagoya Protocol.

Key words: Traditional use, herbal medicine, informant consensus factor, use value.


Plants and peoples' interaction can be traced back to the beginning of human civilization. Such a long, dynamic and systematic interaction has led to the formation of rich knowledge systems regarding use and management of plant resources (Lira et al., 2009). Documenting traditional knowledge systems through ethnobotanical approaches is important for conservation of biological and cultural diversities as well as, sustainable utilization and

management of the resources (Gemedo-Dalle et al., 2005; Uprety et al., 2011). Conservation attempts and sustainable resource management practices are successful when the indigenous and local communities fully participate in such initiatives (Gemedo-Dalle et al., 2005). Documentation of indigenous and local knowledge is particularly important to safeguard the rights of the local people in the context of globalization, intellectual property rights and access to Kamal Mohan Ghimire1,*, Minu Adhikari2, Yadav

Uprety1 and Ram Prasad Chaudhary1

1Research Center for Applied Science and

Technology (RECAST), Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

2Nepal Academy of Science and Technology

(NAST), Lalitpur, Nepal.


genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits in the spirit of Convention on Biological Diversity and Nagoya Protocol.

Indigenous people living on their ancestral territory largely rely on medicinal plants for healthcare and they are therefore rich in ethnopharmacological knowledge. Ethnobotany often reveals locally important plant species from such territories, sometimes leading to drug discovery (Cox and Balick, 1996) or contributing to economic development. Prioritizing high value species contributes directly to the process of bioprospecting (Uprety et al., 2010).

The topographical characteristics of the Himalaya have resulted in a variety of ecological niches that host diverse medicinal plants (Singh and Singh, 1992). Medicinal plants play vital roles in the livelihood of rural people globally and Nepal is not an exception. Medicinal plants are the major source of traditional health care systems and income generation (Manandhar, 2002). However, socio-economic transformation, land use change, unsustainable harvesting and climate change have triggered the loss of these valuable resources as well as, traditional knowledge in Nepal (Uprety et al., 2012; Kunwar et al., 2016; Uddin et al., 2015). Several ethnobotanical studies have been conducted in Nepal (Manandhar, 2002; Bhattarai et al., 2006; Kunwar et al., 2006; Uprety et al., 2010; Rokaya et al., 2010) and particularly also in Far-west Nepal (Devkota and Karmacharya, 2003; Kuwar et al., 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016) but many parts of the country remain unexplored. Few studies have attempted to estimate use variability and use value of medicinal plants in Nepal.

Therefore, this study was conducted in order to document the traditional knowledge of local communities of Far-west Nepal - a potential place for World Heritage Site and also a vast repository of biodiversity and traditional knowledge.


Study area

The study was carried out in Ghusa and Khandeswori Village Development Committees (VDCs) of Darchula district in Far-west Nepal. Under current restructure of Nepal these VDCs fall under Api Himal Rural Municipality of Far-west province. These places are located inside Api Nampa Conservation Area (ANCA) within the Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL) Nepal (Figure 1). The Kailash Sacred Landscape spreads across the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and adjoining areas of Nepal and India around the Mt. Kailash (Zomer and Oli, 2011). This is the transboundary area delineated by China, India and Nepal to conserve rich bio-cultural diversity and promote sustainable natural resource management at landscape level as this landscape hosts the world’s important

ecosystems and diverse environments endowed with unique biological diversity, ecosystem goods and services, and a value-based cultural heritage.

The area is important for its genetic diversity including its customary systems of natural resource governance and management, which include unique knowledge, skills and institutions (Chaudhary et al., 2017; Uprety et al., 2017). Numerous sacred sites located near high-altitude lakes and snow-covered peaks across the three countries characterize the landscape. The holy Mt. Kailash and the adjacent Manasarovar Lake are the most important of these, and have been destinations for followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Bon for several millennia (Kunwar et al., 2016; Zomer et al., 2013). The traditional knowledge and skills, related to genetic resources and their traditional uses are inherited by the local people and their socio-cultural institutions (Atreya et al., 2017). Rangelands based activities including collection of medicinal plants and livestock raising make-up the major livelihoods in the study area.


Ethnobotanical information on medicinal plants was collected by conducting Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and Key Informant Interviews (KII) with local people, healers and herders. Semi-structured questionnaires and guidelines were developed to facilitate the FGD and KII. A total of 60 informants including 44 men and 16 women, age ranging from 32 to 89 years, were interviewed during the field visits in 2016 and 2017. Respondents were mostly from Dhami, Dhokare, Tamata, Lothyal, Bista, Bohora, Karki and Jagari castes belonging to Chettri community of Indo-Aryan origin. Prior informed consent was obtained from the local people ensuring that the study is entirely carried out for academic purpose and that the knowledge shared by the local people will not be used for commercial purpose. Consent was granted by the local people for the dissemination of their traditional knowledge.

Vernacular names, parts used, mode of preparation, way of application and dose were documented. Herbarium specimens were identified with the help of references (Polunin and Stainton, 1984; Grierson and Long, 1983-2000; Press et al., 2000), taxonomic experts and consulting relevant herbarium specimen deposited at National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories (KATH) and Tribhuvan University Central Herbarium (TUCH). Scientific name of medicinal plants, their family, voucher specimen number, life form and use details were tabulated. Herbarium specimens were deposited in KATH.


Figure 1: Map of the study area.

while lower ICF value indicate that there is strong disagreement among informants regarding the use of plant species to cure some particular diseases (Heinrich et al., 1998; Canales et al., 2005). It is calculated by using the formula:

ICF = (Nur - Nt ) / (Nur - 1)

Where, Nur is number of use reports of particular plants to cure particular diseases and Nt is total number of plants used by informants to cure that disease.

Similarly, Use Value (UV) was also calculated, which is the quantitative calculation of importance of species in the study area (Gazzaneo et al., 2005). Use value ranges from 1 to infinite. If numbers of diseases can be cured by single plant then its use value is high. It is calculated using the formula:

UV = ∑U/ n

Where, U is number of citations per plant species and n is number of informants.


Medicinal plants play vital role in traditional health care systems of the study area. It was apparent in the study area that mainly those who are economically marginalized were much more dependent on traditional use of medicinal plants due to lack of alternatives. Therefore, local healers and the people of economically lower classes still retain the traditional use of medicinal plants. The use of medicinal plants to treat various ailments and diseases is due to lack of accessibility to modern healthcare facilities and traditional belief about plant effectiveness. Such practice is

common in developing countries including Nepal (Shrestha and Dhillion, 2003). Traditional practices and knowledge regarding sustainable harvest and utilization of plant resources as medicine can only be preserved by documenting such knowledge (Bhattarai et al., 2006).

Medicinal plants diversity


Table 1: Medicinal plants used in traditional health care in the study area.

SN Scientific name, voucher

number Local name Life form Medicinal value Parts use Mode of use

Family: Amaranthaceae

1 Achyranthes aspera L., 5 Datiun Herb Tooth problems Stem and

leaves Brushing teeth with stem and chewing leaves Family: Apiaceae

2 Pleurospermum sp., 18 Gaanon Herb Gastro-intestinal disorder Stem Oral intake of small piece of stem thrice a day

3 Selinum sp., 74 Ban Jira Herb Diabetes and diarrhea Seeds Tablet made of 3 finger full seed powder mixed

with honey - one tablet per day after meal

4 Selinum wallichianum Raizada and Saxena, 175 (DC.) Bhootkesh Herb Mental problem, spiritual, fairness Root Use a necklace of part of root on the forehead

Family: Asteraceae

5 Ageratina adenophora R. King and H. Rob., 316 (Spreng.) Banmara/Banmaro Herb Cuts, wounds Leaves Application of crushed leaves on the affected part as much as required

6 Artemisia dubia Wall. ex Bess.,

220 Kuljo Shrub Hair fall due to infection on skin Stem Application of paste on affected part as required

7 Erigeron karvinskianus DC., 304 Laalbeli Herb Blood circulation and shrinkage of blood vessels Whole plant Application of the paste of plant on the affected area

8 Galinsoga parviflora Cav., 206 Ganejhaar Herb Muscle sprain, back and waist pain Whole plant Application of one spoon powder of whole plant,

two times for three days

9 Myriactis nepalensis Less., 317 Kauwaatel Herb Cut wounds, to remove spines from

the dermis Stem Rub the stem and use paste in affected parts

10 Xanthium strumarium L., 136 Bhainsikuro Shrub Diabetes, asthma, joint pain, Arthritis Seeds, leaves Two finger full tablet of seeds, two times for one month. Apply the paste of plant on affected parts

Family: Begoniaceae

11 Begonia picta Sm., 22 Makarkanchi Herb Blood purifier Root, stem As decoction, one tea glass, twice a day

Family: Betulaceae

12 Betula utilis D. Don, 33 Bhoj/

Bhojpatra Tree Arthritis Bark

External application of the paste of bark with honey.

Family: Boraginaceae

13 Hackelia uncinatum (Benth.) C. E.

C. Fischer, 221 Solpatte Shrub

Boils, Blister on sole, spine stuck in the

body Root Paste on the affected part

Family: Campanulaceae

14 Codonopsis viridis Wall., 12 Surmajaadi Herb Diarrhea, diabetes, high blood


Table 1: Continued

Family: Caprifoliaceae

15 Valeriana hardwickii Wall., 324 Mauremulo Herb Gastro-intestinal disorder, sour watery mouth Stem and root Oral intake of two finger full powder in one glass of water.

16 Valeriana jatamansii Jones, 301 Balchan Herb Paralysis, Blood circulation problem,

Vomiting Whole plant

Equal amount of powder of Valeriana jatamansii,

Cuscuta europea and Tetrastigma serrulatum with

5% of Swertia chirayita to make a power with the help of stone only, make pest and apply thrice a day

Family: Caryophyllaceae

17 Silene laxantha Majumdar, 313 Ghantephool/

madur Herb Internal injury, Boils, blister on sole Stem, root

Make paste and apply on the affected part only once

18 Stellaria sp., 207 Akjaalo Herb Dermatological allergies, Chicken pox Stem, leaves Hydrate the plant and squeeze and apply on

affected part Family: Convolvulaceae

19 Cuscuta europaea L., 302 AakashBeli/

sunjadi Herb

Jaundice, menstruation problem,

gastro-intestinal disorder Whole plant

Two tea spoon full juice of plant in case of jaundice, for others mix two finger full powder with Viola biflora (root), Tetrastigma serrulatum

(root) and Berginia ciliata (root) in one tea spoon water; thrice a day for 21 days.

Family: Crassulaceae

20 Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.)

Oken, 49 Ajambari Herb Gastro-intestinal disorder Leaves, stem

Two tea spoon full stem or leaf juice in one glass of water, two times per day

Family: Elaeagnaceae

21 Hippophae salicifolia D. Don, 219 Shankhadhar

Chuk, Dalechuk Shrub Hepatic tonic and dehydration Fruit

Oral intake of two tea spoon fruit juice mixed with one glass water with one tea spoon sugar, three times per day

Family: Ericaceae

22 Rhododendron arboreum210 Sm., Guraans Tree Fish bone stuck on throat Flower Oral intake of petals till recovery.

Family: Gentianaceae

23 Gentiana capitata Buch. -Ham. ex

D. Don, 322 Galaajhaad Herb Kidney stone Whole plant Extract of plant twice a day

24 Gentiana elwesii C. B. Cl., 206 Baramkoila Herb Swelling of testis Whole plant Paste of plant, external use only as required

25 Swertia chirayita (Roxb.) Karst.,

305 Chiraito Herb Cough, asthma, fever

Whole plant during budding/ Root is more effective


Table 1: Continued

Family: Geraniaceae

26 Geranium donianum Sweet., 308 Palti Herb Chicken pox Leaf and stem External use of paste as required

Family: Gesneriaceae

27 Corallodiscus lanuginosusex R. Brown) B.L. Burtt, 315 (Wall. Tampaate Shrub Stone and other disease of gall bladder Whole plant Two finger full powder in one spoon of water twice a day for a week

Family: Lamiaceae

28 Elsholtzia eriostachyaBenth., 24 (Benth.) Lektulsi Tree Loss of appetite, stomach disorder of sheep Bark Soup of bark; one glass soup two times daily for three days

29 Elsholtzia strobilifera (Benth.)

Benth., 314 Tulachha Herb Skin disease Leaves

Application of crushed leaves on affected part, 2 to 3 drops twice a day for one week

Family: Lauraceae

30 Neolitsea pallens (D. Don)

Momiy. & H. Hara, 97 Kaulo Tree Dermatological disease Seed Extract oil and massage on the affected area

31 Neolitsea umbrosa Gamble, 223 (Nees) SaanoKaaulo Tree Scabies Fruit Paste of fruit on affected part as required

Family: Liliaceae

32 Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don, 63 Ghande Bish / Wild garlic Herb For earache, Tonic, Asthma, Tuberculosis Flower bud, Fruit Application of Juice of bud in the affected ear, 2-3 drops twice a day until recovery.

Family: Melanthiaceae

33 Paris polyphylla Sm., 125 Satuwaa Herb Tumor on breast, cuts, wounds,

swelling Root

Stick on the breast until it attaches properly beside the nipple, for other disease make a paste and apply twice a day or as required

Family: Melastomataceae

34 Melastoma normale D. Don, 94 Angere Tree Dermatological disease, allergies,

itching Leaves

Depending upon severity of problem; 2-7 leaves in paste form (Bud is highly poisonous)

35 Osbeckia nepalensis Hook., 129 Angeri Shrub Blood hemorrhage, blood purifier Flower and fruit Make juice of plant in water and drink one glass daily for a week

Family: Morchellaceae

36 Morchella esculenta (L.) Pers., 9 Gucchichyaau Fungus Vitamins for pregnant woman Whole parts Three mushrooms fried in ghee and eaten three times per day

Family: Ophiocordycipitaceae 37

Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Berk) G.

H. Sung, J.M. Sung, Hywel-Jones & Spatafora, 89

Yarchaa/ Yarsaa/

Kidajadi Fungus

Increase potent of heart, lungs and

pancreases Whole plant


Table 1: Continued.

Family: Orchidaceae

38 Dactylorhiza hatagirea (D. Don)

Soo, 342


Panchaunle Herb Cuts and wounds, bone fracture, tonic Root

Depending upon severity of problem; roots paste or juice-external application (Orally as a tonic). Family: Paeoniaceae

39 Paeonia emodi Wall., 216 Sungraaulo, Heto Herb Piles Root External application as paste well as drink as tea

for one month

Family: Papavaraceae

40 Corydalis govaniana Wall., 202 Ladajauddi Shrub

Cardiovascular diseases, Dermatological allergies, Shingles, vomiting

Whole plant

One spoon powder in each dose for

cardiovascular diseases two times per day, paste for skin allergies

Family: Plantaginaceae

41 Hemiphragma heterophyllum

Wall., 218 Rati Jhar Herb Dermatological disease, Ring worm Whole plant Apply paste on the affected parts, as required

42 Neopicrorhiza scrophulariifolia

(Pennell) D.Y. Hong., 97


Kutki Herb Common cold, fever, headache Root

Decoction of three pieces (little finger size) in one liter of water and drink thrice a day

Family: Polygonaceae

43 Bistorta vacciniifolia (Wall. ex

Meisner.) Greene, 310 Jelo Herb

Internal as well as external injuries,

Urinary problems, tuberculosis, Root

1:1 ratio of root paste in water -1 tea spoon thrice a day for injuries. For tuberculosis, one tea spoon twice a day

44 Eskemukerjea megacarpumHara) H. Hara., 212 (H. Kalinarayan/ Kali indrayan Vine

Pigmentation on skin, cold, food poisoning, Internal pain, wound, joint pain, loss of appetite in cattle etc.

Seed, root

Make paste of seed and apply as required. Three finger full piece of root boiling with one tea glass water and use as decoction for three days

45 Fagopyrum dibotrys (D. Don) H.

Hara, 204 Faapar Herb Burnt Stem and root

Application of either paste or juice in affected parts as required for a week

46 Rheum australe D. Don, 188 Dulu Herb Cuts, wounds Root

Boil one handful root in 750 ml of water and apply in the affected parts, Mixed withGaanon taken as tea.

47 Rheum spiciforme Royle, 422 Taantari Tree Stone problem, Urinary problem Stem

Equal amount of Potentilla argyrophylla, Rheum

spiciforme and Potentilla leuconota, make 5 cups

of tea from half little finger size, drink 3 cups a daily

48 Rumex acetosa L., 103 Halhale Herb Diarrhea, Digestive problem Stem and root Decoction of plant thrice a day for five days

49 Rumex patientia L., 143 Lekphapaar Herb Diarrhea, Digestive problem Stem and root Decoction of plant thrice a day

Family: Ranunculaceae

50 Clematis barbellata Edgew., 347 Jaibeli Vine Circulatory problem, paralysis Whole plants Decoction of whole plant on the affected parts,

external use only

51 Clematis buchananiana DC., 155 Jaibeli Vine Circulatory problem Whole plants Decoction on the affected parts, external use only

52 Delphinium himalayae Munz, 139 Nirbis Herb Old wound Root Application of paste of root on affected parts as


Table 1: Continued.

53 Delphinium vestitum Wall.,208 Atis Herb Food poisoning in cattle and to

decrease cancer pain Whole plant

Depending upon age and severity of the animal. In case of human do not use without prescription of healers

54 Thalictrum foetidum L., 26 Mamiro, Chitare,

chidchide Shrub

Asthma, paralysis, weakness,

dysentery Root

Root piece, one fourth of little finger size -two times a day for a week

Family: Rosaceae

55 Fragaria nubicola Lindl., 42 Bhuikafal Herb Menstruation problem, blood

impurities Fruit Oral intake of fruit as much as possible

56 Geum elatum Wall., 137 Chote jhaad Herb Wound Root Apply the paste of root on affected area as


57 Potentilla argyrophylla Wall., 55 Raktajadi Vine Renal disease, stone in kidney Root

Mix Potentilla argyrophylla, Potentilla leuconota

and Rheum spiciforme to make 5 cups of tea from

half little finger size - drink 3 cups daily

58 Potentilla leuconota D. Don, 306 Pahelphul/paheljadi Shrub Renal disease, stone in kidney Root

Equal amount of Potentillaargyrophylla, Rheum

spiciforme and Potentillaleuconota, make tea of

half little finger size to make 5 cup of tea, drink 3 cups daily

59 Potentilla peduncularis D. Don,

311 Chinabhuri Herb Toothache/ brightening of teeth Root

One drop of root juice on the affected part. Brush the teeth twice a day

60 Rosa sericea Lindl., 109 Ban Gulaab Shrub Dermatological disease Whole plant Apply the paste of plant on affected area as


61 Rubus niveus Thunb., 90 Ainselu Shrub Anemia Fruit Eat as much as one can

Family: Rubiaceae

62 Galium asperifolium Wall., 205 Phulejhaar Herb Cataract of cattle, goats etc. Whole plant Juice of whole plant twice a day

63 Rubia cordifolia L., 345 Majitho Climber

Earache, pus cell formation in ear, toothache. Allergy, bleeding of women after delivery


Application of 2-3 drops of root extract twice a day in ear, one spoon powder or coal of plant twice a day on the affected part or bleeding part. Family: Rutaceae

64 Zanthoxylum oxyphyllum Edgew.,

148 Boke timur Shrub

High blood pressure, skin diseases, altitude sickness, digestion

Fruit and leaves

Use as decoction or one can take few seeds on mouth for few hours. Use decoction for external use

Family: Saxifragaceae

65 Astilbe rivularis Buch. -Ham. ex

D. Don, 217 Ban marshi Herb Diarrhea Root

Oral intake of juice prepared from, half a little finger size root, three times per day.

66 Bergenia ciliata 223 (Haw.) Sternb., Bhideti; Paakhanbed Herb Gastro-intestinal disorder and menstruation irregularity Root

Mix with Viola biflora (root), Cuscuta europaea

(whole plant) and Tetrastigma serrulatum (Root), two finger full powder in one tea spoon water; three times per day for 21 days.

Family: Scrophulariaceae

67 Buddleja crispa Benth., 323 Fushrapataaulo Tree Pigmentation on tongue Flower and


Table 1: Continued.

Family: Urticaceae

68 Girardinia diversifoliaFriis, 55 (Link) Allo Herb Body warmth increase hemoglobin in blood Leaf, fruit leaf or fruit as vegetable for improvement in haem level in blood

69 Urtica dioica L., 176 Sisno/ Nettle Herb Bone fracture Whole plant Tighten the fractured part with flower and leaves

with its stem for 6-15 days Family: Vitaceae

70 Tetrastigma serrulatum (Roxb.)

Planch., 303 Panchapatra Climber

Paralysis, Blood circulation problem,

Vomiting Root

Equal amount of powder of Tetrastigma

serrulatum, Cuscuta europea and Viola biflora

with 5% of Swertia chirayta to make a power with the help of stone only, make paste and apply thrice a day for one month


Figure 3: Frequency of plant parts used.

known for its nutritional value.

Parts used, mode of preparation and ailments/diseases treated

Almost all plant parts were used to prepare different medicinal formulations: roots, rhizomes, stem, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, young shoots and whole plants. The most frequently used plant parts were roots, followed by whole plants, stems, leaves, and fruits (Figure 3). Preparation methods include decoction, paste, juice, powder, soup, plant extract, oil and fresh parts.Seven species namelyBergenia ciliata, Cuscuta europaea, Potentilla argyrophylla, P. leuconota, Rheum spiciforme, Tetrastigma serrulatum and Valeriana hardwickii were used in combination with other species whereas majority of the species were referred as single use. In total 18 different diseases and ailments were treated from these plants. Most of the plants were used to cure different ailments including fever, swelling and pain (28 species) followed by gastro-intestinal disorder (15), cuts and wounds (12), dermatological diseases (12), cardiovascular (8), genital problems (6), blood impurities and anemia, pulmonary diseases and renal diseases each with 5 species, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and tonic with each of 3 species, hepatic diseases and neurological disorder (2 species), and cardiovascular, cataract and piles by single species (Table 2). Although most species were only used to treat one ailment/disease (43/70), some were found having up to four different medicinal uses (Table 2).

The species that are used to treat more diseases/disorders can be taken as candidate species for phytochemical screening and bioprospecting. Such species include Bistorta vaccinifolia, E. megacarpum, Rubia manjith, Thalictrum foetidum and Zanthoxylum oxyphyllum.

Informant consensus factor and use value

Of the total 18 diseases and ailments treated, ICF showed total consensus for cardiovascular, piles and cataract (IFC = 1) followed by tonic (0.96), cuts and wounds (0.93), hepatic (0.92), and gastro-intestinal disorder (0.92). Circulatory and dermatological diseases showed relatively low IFC value, that is, 0.62 and, 0.46, respectively (Table 3). Relatively higher average IFC (0.84) for all categories indicates a high level of informant agreement compared to other studies conducted in Nepal (Rokaya et al., 2010; Uprety et al., 2010), Mexico (Caneles et al., 2005) and India (Ragupathy et al., 2008). A detailed phytochemical and pharmacological study of traditionally-used medicinal plants is important line of research to pursue, especially for species showing high informant consensus (Uprety et al., 2010).


Table 2: Medicinal plants used to cure various ailments/diseases.

Ailments/Diseases Plants used

Ailments Achyranthes aspera, Bistorta vaccinifolia, Buddleja crispa, Corallodiscus lanuginosus, Corydalis govaniana, Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Eskemukerjea megacarpum, Fritillaria cirrhosa, Galinsoga parviflora, Girardinia

diversifolia, Hackelia uncinata, Hippophae salicifolia, Morchella esculenta, Myriactis nepalensis,

Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, Paris polyphylla, Potentilla peduncularis, Rheum

spiciforme, Rhododendron arboreum, Rubia manjith, Silene laxantha, Swertia chirayita, Tetrastigma

serrulatum, Thalictrum foetidum, Urtica dioica, Valeriana jatamansii, Zanthoxylum oxyphyllum

Arthritis Betula utilis, Eskemukerjea megacarpum, Xanthium strumarium

Blood circulatory disease

Clematis barbellata, Clematis buchananiana, Codonopsis viridis, Erigeron karvinskianus, Tetrastigma

serrulatum, Thalictrum foetidum, Valeriana jatamansii, Zanthoxylum oxyphyllum

Blood impurities, anemia

Begonia picta, Fragaria nubicola, Girardinia diversifolia, Osbeckia nepalensis, Rubus niveus

Cancer/ tumor Delphinium vestitum, Paris polyphylla, Rubia manjith

Cardiovascular disease Corydalis govaniana

Cataract Galium asperifolium

Cuts and wounds Ageratina adenophora, Bistorta vaccinifolia, Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Delphinium himalayai, Eskemukerjea

megacarpum, Fagopyrum dibotrys, Geum elatum, Hackelia uncinata, Myriactis nepalensis, Paris polyphylla,

Rheum australe, Silene laxantha

Dermatological diseases Artemisia dubia, Corydalis govaniana, Elsholtzia strobilifera, Eskemukerjea megacarpum, Geranium donianum, Hemiphragma heterophyllum, Melastoma normale, Neolitsea pallens, Neolitsea umbrosa, Rosa sericea, Stellaria species, Zanthoxylum oxyphyllum

Diabetes Codonopsis viridis, Selinum species, Xanthium strumarium

Gastro-intestinal disorder

Pleurospermum species, Astilbe rivularis, Bergenia ciliata, Bryophyllum pinnatum, Codonopsis viridis, Cuscuta europaea, Delphinium vestitum, Elsholtzia eriostachya, Eskemukerjea megacarpum, Rumex acetosa, Rumex patientia, Selinum species, Thalictrum foetidum, Valeriana hardwickii, Zanthoxylum oxyphyllum

Genital problem Bergenia ciliata, Cuscuta europaea, Fragaria nubicola, Gentiana elwesii, Morchella esculenta, Rubia manjith

Hepatic disease Cuscuta europaea, Hippophae salicifolia

Neurological disorder Rubia manjith, Selinum wallichianum

Piles Paeonia emodi

Pulmonary disorder Bistorta vaccinifolia, Fritillaria cirrhosa, Swertia chirayita, Thalictrum foetidum, Xanthium strumarium

Renal disease Bistorta vaccinifolia, Gentiana capitata, Potentilla argyrophylla, Potentilla leuconota, Rheum spiciforme

Tonic Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Fritillaria cirrhosa, Ophiocordyceps sinensis


Table 3: Categories of ailments/diseases and informant consensus factor (ICF) in respective categories.

S/N Ailments/diseases Number of informants Number of taxa (Nt)a Number of use reports (Nur) ICF

1 Ailments 60 28 123 0.78

2 Arthritis 16 3 19 0.89

3 Blood circulatory disease 6 8 14 0.46

4 Blood impurities, anemia 12 5 16 0.73

5 Cancer/ tumor 14 3 23 0.91

6 Cardiovascular disease 9 1 9 1.00

7 Cataract 6 1 6 1.00

8 Cuts, wounds 59 12 162 0.93

9 Dermatological diseases 16 12 30 0.62

10 Diabetes 8 3 10 0.78

11 Gastro-intestinal disorder 58 15 173 0.92

12 Genital problem 13 6 21 0.75

13 Hepatic disease 13 2 14 0.92

14 Neurological disorder 9 2 9 0.88

15 Piles 6 1 6 1.00

16 Pulmonary disorder 13 5 23 0.82

17 Renal disease 15 5 26 0.84

18 Tonic 37 3 52 0.96

a A taxon may be reported in more than one ailment category.

Comparison with other ethnopharmacopia published from Nepal

We found 14 new medicinal plant species from the present study which were not reported in major ethnopharmacological studies of Nepal (Manandhar, 2002; Kunwar et al., 2006; Rajbhandari, 2001). These plants are Bryophyllum pinnatum, Buddleja crispa, C. viridis, C. govaniana, C. europaea, Erigeron karvinskianus, E. megacarpum, Gentiana elwesii, Hackelia uncinata, Neolitsea pallens, Neolitsea umbrosa, Pleurospermum sp., Selinum sp. and Stellaria sp. These peculiar species mark the uniqueness of the study area also indicating rich traditional knowledge and biodiversity. Other species were also reported and used in different parts of the country. This is of significance because an identical use of a plant by different people from different areas may be a reliable indication of its effective properties (Shrestha and Dhillion, 2003; Rokaya et al., 2010; Uprety et al., 2010).

Protection of medicinal plants and associated traditional knowledge

It was observed that the ethnomedicinal knowledge of the community has been transmitted from generation to generation orally without documentation. Due to lack of documentation, traditional knowledge about the use of plants as medicine is at risk of extinction (Busmann and Sharon, 2006). Furthermore, people practicing the use and

preparation of herbal medicine is limited to a few due to migration to lowlands for jobs and seeking better facilities. Many of the species recorded in this study are high value low volume medicinal plants having high economic potential and could thus supplement family income (Carvalho, 2004) and generate incentives for biodiversity conservation and protection of traditional knowledge (Hamilton, 2004).

We documented higher degree of contribution of root and whole plant in traditional medicine noting potential negative effect to ecological sustainability of the resources (Chaudhary et al., 2017). Traditional knowledge and practices are important to consider in sustainable management of Himalayan medicinal plant resources (Ghimire et al., 2005). Furthermore, species such as Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora and Dactylorhiza hatagirea are protected under government laws and highly concerned species in the Himalayas. Therefore, sustainable harvesting has remained as an issue in sustainable management of the resources (Larsen and Olsen, 2007; Olsen and Hallens 1997).



revealed rich traditional knowledge wealth of Darchula district of far-west Nepal. People are still using medicinal plants but the trend is decreasing that calls for proper documentation of local knowledge. The species having high consensus and use value identified in this study could be taken for detailed phytochemical and pharmacological studies. This will help to generate tangible benefit for the local people in context of Convention on Biological Diversity and Nagoya Protocol.


The authors are grateful to the local people of the study area who shared their traditional knowledge about the use of medicinal plants. We would also like to acknowledge the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) for providing permission for the field work and Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative for providing financial support for this research.


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Cite this article as:

Ghimire KM, Adhikari M, Uprety Y, Chaudhary RP (2018). Ethnomedicinal use of plants by the highland communities of Kailash Sacred Landscape, Far-west Nepal. Acad. J. Med. Plants. 6(11): 365-378.

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Figure 1: Map of the study area.
Table 1: Continued
Table 1: Continued
Table 1: Continued.


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