Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Ethnomedicinal Values of Legume Plants in Pakistan

By Faisal Hussain and Farzana Usman

Submitted: September 3rd 2018Reviewed: November 28th 2018Published: September 27th 2019

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.82762

Downloaded: 257


The data on medicinal plants in the vegetation of Pakistan was studied and surveyed from September to November, 2018. Different ethnomedicinal species were recorded which are used by local inhabitants as a medicine, fodder, fuel, and for agricultural purpose. Many of the medicinal plants recorded are used for the treatment of two or more diseases by the local people. The family Fabaceae was dominant with respect to medicinal plants. The precious knowledge of medicinal flora is rapidly vanishing due to the illiteracy among the local people and also due to destruction of the medicinal plants. The present study was designed to convey the knowledge and importance of medicinal flora as well as traditional uses of such plants in daily life.


  • legume
  • medicinal values
  • traditional uses
  • treatments

1. Introduction

The wide variation in geography, altitude, soil, climate, and culture have created a rich floristic diversity, and it is estimated that there are about 6000 species of higher plants in Pakistan [1]. Although, the country has about 6,000 species of wild plants of which about 400–600 species are considered to be medicinally important [2]. There are a number of papers and investigations which have been documented on ethnomedicinal and folk uses of flora in almost all local inhabitants of Pakistan [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]. Pakistan is considered as a promising agricultural country of Asia. It has fertile land often covered with dense vegetation. There are several medicinal species recorded from almost all parts of the country. Local people are using commonly available plants for the treatment of many diseases and maintenance of their health. However, introduction of allopathic and homeopathic drugs has decreased human dependency on medicinal plants for their folk uses [16].

2. Geography of the area

The Pakistan is geographically diverse and extremely temperate region with wide variety of wildlife. It covers an area of 881,913 km2 (340,509 sq miles). The Pakistan is categorized into three geographic areas: the northern highlands, the Indus River Plain, and the Balochistan Plateau. The climate is diverse and varies from tropical to temperate, coastal south and with arid conditions. Sometime monsoon season with heavy rainfall and flooding, and during dry season significant less rainfall and it seems drought conditions in whole country. Pakistan has four distinct seasons. Due to the diversity of the landscape and climate in Pakistan, It is rich in a wide variety of trees, plants and ethnomedicinal flora. Due to the lack of knowledge and awareness ethnomedicinal flora of Pakistan suffer from a number of problems and threats including highest rate of deforestation, pollution and adverse effects of the ecosystem.

The medicinal flora and vegetation are usually available in almost all rural and remote areas of Pakistan. Due to the poor administration policies, the medicinal flora is rapidly vanishing due to the reasons of overgrazing, degradation and devastation. The need of this study is crucial due to the record of folk uses/treatment against disease. It is alarming need to save this medicinal flora from under threatened factors and this flora should be cultivated and used in pharmacy and drugs industry for human health [17].

The collection of medicinal plants was undertaken during September to November-2018. Family, common name of plants, folk name of plant, habit, parts used, medicinal uses and traditional uses were documented through the interviews of local “Hakeems” (doctors) and experienced growers of field crops. All species of medicinal plants were identified in the Department of Botany, Federal Urdu University of Art, Science and Technology, Karachi and the voucher specimens have been deposited in the Botany Herbarium.

All species were identified and confirmed with the help of flora of Pakistan [18, 19].

During the present study, a total of nine species belonging to eight genera and one family of angiosperms were documented (Table 1). The data for habits and life-forms of plants including herb, shrub, climber and trees were recorded.

FamilyGenusSpeciesLife-formFolk name
FabaceaeAcacia Lam.Acacia nilotica (Lam.) Willd.PhanerophyteBubar
Albizia Durazz.Albizia lebbeck (Linn.) Benth.PhanerophyteSareehan
Alhagi Adans.Alhagi maurorum Medik.ChamaephyteKandiro
Dalbergia L. f.Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.PhanerophyteTalehi
Mimosa L.Mimosa pudica L.ChamaephyteSharam Booti
Prosopis L.Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC.PhanerophyteDeevi
Prosopis L.Prosopis cineraria (L.) DrucePhanerophyteKandi
Tamarindus L.Tamarindus indica (L.) DrucePhanerophyteGidamari
Trigonella L.Trigonella foenum-graecum L.TherophyteHurbo

Table 1.

List of common ethnomedicinal legume plants of Pakistan.

These species with their respective families, common name, folk name, parts used, medicinal and traditional uses are listed below and placed into crops, shrubs, herbs and trees.

2.1 Trigonella foenum-graecum L.

Family: Fabaceae

Common name: Fenugreek

Folk name: Hurbo

Habit: Annual plant

Parts used: Seeds and leaves

Medicinal uses: The leaves of fenugreek are used as vegetable and as well as salads. Whenever seeds of fenugreek are considered to warm the kidneys, disperse cold and alleviate pain.

Traditional uses: The seeds of fenugreek are swallowed early in the morning with hot water and used before brushing the teeth and eating something. It considered effective against therapeutic and healing joint pain.

2.2 Alhagi maurorum Medik.

Family: Fabaceae

Common name: Camelthorn-bush

Folk name: Kandiro

Habit: Shrub

Parts used: Whole plant

Medicinal uses: The plant of camel thorn acts as a blood purifier used in skin allergy and possesses antioxidant activity. It is also considered as a treatment for glandular tumors and has antiseptic properties.

Traditional uses: The extract of plants is used as a pain killer of bones.

2.3 Mimosa pudica L.

Family: Fabaceae

Common name: Touch me not

Folk name: Sharam booti

Habit: Herb

Parts used: Roots, leaves, and flowers

Medicinal uses: The roots of M. pudica are commonly used for the treatment of vaginal and uterine problems, fatigue, asthma, and blood diseases.

Traditional uses: The leaves and flowers are traditionally recommended for the prevention of fever, ulcer and piles.

2.4 Acacia nilotica (Lamk.) Willd.

Family: Fabaceae

Common name: Acacia

Folk name: Bubar, babul

Habit: Tree

Parts used: Bark, flower, leaves, gum, and fruit

Medicinal uses: The leaves and flowers are used against hepatitis, ulcer and infertility of women. The leaves and fruits provide control of diarrhea and dysentery.

Traditional uses: The young stem of acacia is used as a tooth stick for the remedies of toothache. Its bark is used for the control of cough.

2.5 Albizia lebbeck (Linn.) Benth.

Family: Fabaceae

Common name: Siris/rain tree

Folk name: Sareehan

Habit: Tree

Parts used: Leaves and seeds

Medicinal uses: The siris is used as antiasthmatic in tuberculosis and trauma.

Traditional uses: The leaves of siris are used for the treatment of eye infection, whereas seeds are effective against boils or pimples.

2.6 Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.

Family: Fabaceae

Common name: Rose wood, shesham

Folk name: Talehi

Habit: Tree

Parts used: Leaves

Medicinal uses: The leaves of rosewood are considered effective for the hotness of body.

Traditional uses: The fresh twigs of rosewood are traditionally applied to relieve the ringworm and foot pain.

2.7 Prosopis cineraria (L.) Druce

Family: Fabaceae

Common name: Khejri, Jandi, and Ghaf

Folk name: Kandi

Habit: Tree

Parts used: Fruits and leaves

Medicinal uses: Prosopis is medicinally used as an anthelmintic, tonic, leprosy and asthma.

Traditional uses: The paste of leaves is externally applied over the injuries or cuts. The smoking of dry leaves is fruitful for eyes pain.

2.8 Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC.

Family: Fabaceae

Common name: Velvet mesquite

Folk name: Deevi

Habit: Tree

Parts used: Fruits and leaves

Medicinal uses: The velvet mesquite is used as antibacterial agent in alcoholic extracts. It is used in the treatment of colds, diarrhea, flu, and head cold.

Traditional uses: The fruit is used for the treatment of measles, eye infection, sore throat and wounds.

2.9 Tamarindus indica (L.) Druce

Family: Fabaceae

Common name: Tamarind

Folk name: Gidamari

Habit: Tree

Parts used: Fruit and Leaves

Medicinal uses: It is used against the treatment of spermarrhea and hepatitis. It is also used as a natural coagulant.

Traditional uses: The fruit of tamarind is considered as a promoter to sex hormones in females.

The almost all above mentioned recorded plant species are major source of medicinal purpose and it is also included in the ingredients of drugs and pharmacy industry. Some chemical compounds and active ingredients are beneficial against several human diseases and pathogens including epidermal, stomata and respiratory organs. During present study, it is observed that local and remote areas people communities prefer to use the traditional medicines against the diseases and these are easily approachable for everyone. The extract of these herbal plants are cheaper and quite safe as compared to synthetic and antibiotic treatments. However, allopathic treatment is not affordable to everyone. Due to the lack of awareness, shortage of water, overgrazing of domestic animals, salinity, floods, low rainfall, illiteracy and poverty in country, the precious flora is under threatened.

3. Conclusion

Rapid of population growth is also a principal cause of diminishing the ethnomedicinal plant vegetation. Certain species such as Prosopis cineraria, Calotropis procera, and Grewia asiatica are disappearing day by day in Pakistan. The documentation and survey indicates that Pakistan has very high potential flora for ethnomedicinal purpose. Therefore it is an urgent need for our local communities and educated peoples that they should be directly involved in creating the awareness about medicinal plant vegetation and their significance.

© 2019 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Faisal Hussain and Farzana Usman (September 27th 2019). Ethnomedicinal Values of Legume Plants in Pakistan, Legume Crops - Characterization and Breeding for Improved Food Security, Mohamed Ahmed El-Esawi, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.82762. Available from:

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