Ethnobotanical knowledge and folk medicinal significance of the flora of district Gujrat, Punjab, Pakistan
Introduction: Medicinal plants are the natural source of medicines used in treatment of many diseases among local communities of various countries. It is also the raw material for the pharmaceutical industry. Pakistan is a country with a variety of medicinal plants, comprehensively studied in some areas, while others still need more studies of their flora. Objectives: The study was performed to catalogue the flora of district Gujrat, Punjab, Pakistan and to assess its ethnomedicinal importance. Methods: A field survey was conducted in the Gujrat district (including Sarai Alamgir, Gujrat and Kharian) in 2019–2020 to collect the flora. Nearly 200 people of various age groups were interviewed and the questionnaire was filled, the gender and professions of the participants were also noted. Results: The plant species collected belonged to 32 different Angiosperm families i.e. Poaceae, Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Asteraceae, Moraceae, Amaranthaceae, Apiaceae, Myrtaceae, Rutaceae, Solanaceae, Malvaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Lamiaceae. The obtained material consisted of 30 herbs, 20 shrubs and 22 trees. The floral parts used most often were leaves (63%) followed by: flower (41%), fruit (28%), stem (16%), seed (16%), bark (14%), root (13%), whole plant (12%), underground part (3%) and latex (3%). According to the study, the highest RFC (Relative Frequency of Citation) values were 0.1 in Cassia fistula L. (0.25) and the smallest RFC values were observed in Stellaria media (L.) Vill. – 0.025. The highest UV (Use Values) were noted for Achyranthes aspera L. at 0.9. In disease category, the highest value (0.67) of ICF (Informant Consensus Factor) was observed for stomach and skin infections, while the lowest ICF value was noted for diabetes and gonorrhoea (0.27). Conclusions: It was concluded that the Gujrat district is rich in useful plants that can be used in the preparation of various medicines as well as be sold on the herbal market.