Plants Are Photosynthetic Autotrophs
Plants are photosynthetic autotrophs that shape the foundation of the food chain for all land organisms. They are chief contributors to the financial and social prosperity of a nation by giving sustenance, cover, medicines, settling locales and security to numerous living beings. They are also key ingredients of strong life because they have always been the source of medicines which are efficient and safe devoid of any side effects. A huge number of populations existing in rural areas and high mountains rely upon the traditional medicines for treating diverse diseases. The nature has given abundant plant wealth for all creatures which offer medicinal virtues. Phytotherapy and ethno medicine are the sub field of medical anthropology and deals with the study of traditional medicine, not only those that have relevant written sources but specially those which knowledge and practices have been orally transmitted over the centuries. Documentation of ethno medicinal use of plants has been considered a high priority to support the discovery of new drugs. Plants play a vital role in our lives due to extraordinary array of different classes of biochemical with a variety of biological activities (Cotton 1996, Buckingham1999). Phytotherapical information on medicinal plants is useful not only in the conservation of traditional cultures and biodiversity but also for drug development and community health care. These readily available and culturally important traditional medicines form the basis of affordable health care regime and are an important source of livelihood for indigenous and tribal populations. Documenting the indigenous knowledge through ethnobotanical studies is important for the conservation and utilization of biological resources. The curative properties of plants have been discovered gradually over many centuries and knowledge accumulated was passed on from generation to generation by oral tradition as well as herbal preparations (Maheshwari, 2000). Significant work in the field of ethnobotany has been done in past 3-4 decades in the Himalayan State of Jammu and Kashmir by many workers including Abrol and Chopra (1962), Gupta et al. (1982), Kachroo and Nahvi (1976), Kiran et al. (1999) and Kaul et al. (1987). Although much has been published on the ethnomedicinal and economic aspects of plants of this State, however there is not even a single concrete report about the phytotherapeutic uses of plants of district Poonch of Jammu & Kashmir state.
Nature has been a source of medicinal agents for thousands of years and an impressive number of modern drugs have been derived from natural sources, many of these isolations were based on the uses of the agents in traditional medicine (Cragg and Newman 2001).
Herbal Medicine is defined as a branch of science in which plant based formulations are used to lessen diseases. It is also called as botanical medicine or phytomedicine. In recent times phytotherapy has been introduced as more precise synonym of herbal or botanical medicine. In the mid twentieth century natural pharmaceutical was prime human services framework as anti-toxins or analgesics were not up ’til now found. With the coming of allopathic arrangement of pharmaceutical, home grown prescription bit by bit lost its notoriety among individuals, which depends on the quick restorative activities of engineered drugs (Singh 2007). Recently there has been a shift in universal trend from synthetic to herbal medicine, which can be said ‘Return to Nature’. Plants based medicines may contain crude drugs in the form of pulverized material from the part of the plant determined to have biological activity. It is fundamental to distinguish the piece of the plant utilized as a part of preparation of extracts. In order to minimize expense, many phytotherapeutic medicines are marketed in the form of powder or cut into minute pieces.
Medicinal plants have been known for millennia and are exceedingly regarded everywhere throughout the world as a rich wellspring of helpful specialists for the counteractive action of ailments and infirmities (Sharma et al. 2008). The search for eternal health and longevity and for remedies to relieve pain and discomfort drove early man to explore his immediate natural surroundings and led to the use of many plants, animal products, minerals etc. and the development of a variety of therapeutic agents (Nair and Chanda 2007). Plants have been utilized as drugs all through history. Without a doubt, investigations of wild creatures demonstrate that they additionally instinctually eat certain plants to treat themselves for specific sicknesses. In Asia, the act of home grown pharmaceutical is to a great degree settled and reported; accordingly, the vast majority of the therapeutic plants that have universal acknowledgment originate from China and India. The value of medicinal plants and traditional health systems in tackling the human services issues of the world is gaining increasing consideration. On account of this resurgence of interest, the study on plants of medicinal importance is growing phenomenally at the global level, often to the damage of natural habitats and mother populations in the countries of origin. Most of the developing countries have adopted traditional medical practice as an integral part of their culture. Historically, all medicinal preparations are derived from plants, whether in the simple form of raw plant materials or in the refined form of crude extracts, mixtures, etc (Krishnaraju et al. 2005).
India has correctly been called as Botanical garden of the world as it has been known for one of the wealthiest ethnobotanical custom on the planet. It is also one of the mega-diversity countries by means of lofty number of medicinal plant resources but there experienced a great pressure on its resources due to fast growing population. It is predicted that demands for forest products is increased worldwide and forest areas are continuously decreasing. So, the preservation of forest ecosystem have been given a high priority on the global environment agenda.
District Poonch of Jammu and Kashmir has an extremely thick forest area. The agriculture is practiced only on 21% of the whole area, generally in the plain patches where it is achievable, whereas rest of the region constitutes grassland. The coniferous forests in the hilly regions are the largest natural forest resources due to favorable ecological conditions (Siddiqui and Khan, 1991). The intense pressure on forest had lead to scarcity of wood and wood products, soil erosion, landslides and general environmental degradation.
Topographically, the scrub forests of lower altitudes, especially of the Haveli, Mandi, Bufliaz and Mendhar, occupy more or less flat areas, and are more prone to conversion to other land uses such as urban encroachment and agricultural land. In some area of these study sites the forest area have been completely transformed to bare land because of heavy pressure on tree cuttings by the nearby groups for various purposes. It is in this manner important to give careful consideration to ensure, save and keep the natural forests. For accomplishing this objective this study was carried out to find how tribal peoples use these plants to cure their various ailments. Almost thirty sites in the study area were selected for collection of phytotherapical data by discussions with the tribal peoples