Saturday, 24 October 2015

Traditional Preference of Wild Edible Fruits (WEFs) for Digestive Disorders (DDs) among the Indigenous communities of Swat Valley-Pakistan

Traditional Preference of Wild Edible Fruits (WEFs) for Digestive Disorders (DDs) among the Indigenous communities of Swat Valley-Pakistan


Ethnopharmacological Relevance

Digestive disorders (DDs) causes indisposition and lead to death, especially in the underdeveloped world where hygienic conditions are scarce. A major proportion of the human populace depends on the use of traditional knowledge about the consumption of medicinal plants for many diseases, including DDs. The contemporary study summarizes the indigenous uses of Wild Edible Fruits (WEFs) of Swat Valley used for DDs and to evaluate the bio-efficacy of these pharmacologically essential fruit species from the available literature.

Material and Methods

An ethnomedicinal study was conducted in Swat valley, Northern Pakistan. Data was collected through field assessment as well as from traditional healers and local people by means of personal interviews and semi-structured questionnaires, giving value to both rural and urban communities. The ethnomedicinal knowledge was quantitatively analyzed using various indices like Familiarity Index (FI), Consensus index (CI), Informant consensus factor (ICF) and the present data was compared with previous studies in the neighbouring areas using Jaccard similarity coefficient (JI).


The present study recorded use reports on 53 WEFs of ethnomedicinal prominence in the treatment of DDs, belonging to 23 families. The recurrent growth forms were trees (51%) shrubs (38%) and herbs (11%). High consumption of fruits (50%), leaves (27%) and flowers (12%) was recorded. The traditional preparations were mostly in the form of unprocessed dried /fresh, powder, Juice and decoction and were usually taken orally. Almost 20-30 % of the plants occurred in synanthropic vegetation while more than 75 % were found in natural woodland and grassland vegetation. Family Berberidaceae dominated with highest FIV (41) followed by Punicaceae (38), Oxalidaceae (36) and Moraceae (35). ICF values for carminative (0.6) showed high consensus factor followed by anthelmintic, gastroenteritis and intestinal disorders (0.5). FI value is high for Berberis lycium (0.5), Morus alba (0.5), Morus nigra (0.5) followed by Olea ferruginea (0.45). Berberis lycium had the high consensus index, whereas, a study conducted on Lesser Himalayas Pakistan showed high value of Jaccard similarity coefficient.


WEFs are predominantly used in the treatment of various diseases in the valley and traditional knowledge about the use of these species against DDs is still prevailing. Multiple uses of these WEFs suggest further investigation into its phytochemical, toxicological and pharmaceutical potential. This study will serve as a baseline data for future pharmacological studies.

Graphical abstract

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  • Pharmacological;
  • Swat Valley;
  • Digestive Disorders;
  • Ethnomedicine;
  • Quantitative analysis;
  • Carminative

Corresponding author. Tel.: +923005599117.