Monday, 27 April 2015

Ethnobotany of Medicinal Plants in the Thar Desert (Sindh) of Pakistan

Volume 163, 2 April 2015, Pages 43–59


Ethnopharmacological relevance

The traditional use of medicinal plants in health-care practices among the rural communities provides the basis for natural drug discovery development. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first quantitative ethnobotanical investigation on the use of medicinal plants in the Thar Desert (Sindh) of Pakistan.


In total, 530 local informants and traditional healers were interviewed, using semistructured interviews. Various quantitative indices such as relative frequency of citation (RFC), use value (UV), informant consensus factor (ICF), fidelity level (FL), relative importance (RI), and the Jaccard Index (JI) were applied to the documented data.


The traditional medical uses of 87 plant species belonging to 32 families were reported on. Amaranthaceae was the most-frequently cited (nine species), followed by Cucurbitaceae and Euphorbiaceae (six species each). The most dominant life form was herbs (73.56%). The most-used plant parts were leaves, with 65 reports (28.88%), followed by seeds (16%). The common mode of preparation reported was powder (25.75%), with 74% herbal medicines obtained from fresh plant materials.


The ethnobotanical result documented in this study provides practical evidence about the use of medicinal plants among the inhabitants of the Thar Desert. Further, the findings revealed that the medicinal plants of the area are a major source of herbal drugs for primary health care used among the rural communities. This survey can be used as baseline information for further scientific investigation to develop new plant-based commercial drugs.

Graphical abstract

Full-size image (27 K)


  • Ethnobotany;
  • Quantitative analyses;
  • Medicinal plants;
  • Thar Desert;
  • Pakistan

Corresponding author.