Researchers document equine herbal remedies in Pakistan

Citrullus colocynthis from Koehler's Medicinal-Plants (1887).
Citrullus colocynthis from Koehler’s Medicinal-Plants (1887).

Researchers have documented 60 plants used in three districts in Pakistan to treat ailments in horses, donkeys and mules.

They report they have assembled a handsome volume of local knowledge, providing a baseline for future scientific investigations.

The researchers, from the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, surveyed a total of 450 people across the districts of Faisalabad, Lahore, and Sargodha to collect information on equine disease recognition and the treatments employed.

A total of 60 plants belonging to 40 families were documented.

An inventory was developed depicting detailed information of plants used in the treatment of different conditions.

The top ten species of plants used were: Allium cepa, Zingiber officinale, Vernonia anthelmintica, Capsicum annum, Brassica campestris, Trachyspermum ammi, Anethum graveolens, Picrorhiza kurroa, Azadirachta indica, and Citrullus colocynthis.

Seeds were the most frequently used, being employed from 16 of the 60 plants, followed by leaves (12) and fruits (11).

The regions of Pakistan surveyed.
The regions of Pakistan surveyed.

The scientists, whose findings have been published in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, said their survey revealed a large number of recipes and remedies against wounds, lameness, bronchitis, colic, anorexia, dermatitis, weakness, parasitism, fever, heat stress, urine retention, swelling, toxemia, and indigestion.

The scientists said their research suggested that botanical preparations have a crucial role in animal health and production in the study area.

“A handsome volume of the indigenous knowledge has been documented for the first time in the region in relation to the treatment of equines which provides a baseline for future scientific investigations.”

Diversity of flora used for the cure of equine diseases in selected peri-urban areas of Punjab, Pakistan. 
Khurram Goraya, Zafar Iqbal, Muhammad Sohail Sajid, Ghulam Muhammad, Qurat ul Ain and Muhammad Saleem.
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2013, 9:70 doi:10.1186/1746-4269-9-70
The full study can be read here.

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