Ethnobotanical investigation of significant seasonal medicinal weeds of Toba Tek Singh District, Punjab, Pakistan
Introduction: Medicinal plants are found throughout the world but most are considered weeds. They are – directly or indirectly – the major source of medicines in pharmaceutical and herbal industries. Formulations used to prepare medicines or the method of use for these plants are mainly based on folk or traditional knowledge. This folk knowledge is not documented in many areas and needs to be explored. Objectives: This study was aimed to enlist the seasonal weed species with traditional medicinal usage in Toba Tek Singh District, Punjab, Pakistan. Methods: Field surveys were arranged in winter and summer 2019–2020 to enlist the important medicinal weeds and traditional knowledge of the local community. Data collected were as follows: local name of weed, medicinal use, method and part used. Results: Numerous wild perennial, biennial and annual plants were identified, 30 of them were ethnomedicinally important in the local community. They were grouped in 16 families. It was found that whole weed is used in many prescriptions (37%). Achyranthes aspera L. (Amaranthaceae) was the most common weed used in treating fevers, respiratory problems and asthma. Cichorium intybus L. (Asteraceae) was used in summer drinks to reduce thirst, improve digestion and liver function. Chenopodium album L. (Amaranthaceae) was used with 0.71 UV and 0.147 RFC values. Medicago polymorpha L. (Fabaceae) was used to treat kidney, intestinal and bladder infections. Its UV was 0.65 and RFC was 0.121. Tribulus terrestris L. (Zygophyllaceae) was used in impotency treatment, and in the removal of kidney stones and urinary tract infections treatment. It has 0.63 UV and 0.21 RFC values. This weed also showed the highest Fidelity Level (FL) (77%), as compared to other weeds. Conclusion: It was concluded that there are many significant medicinal weeds in the Toba Tek Singh District, Punjab, Pakistan that are used in traditional medicines in treating various disorders. These plants also showed herbal or pharmacological importance that can be used to develop medicine at commercial scale.