This paper highlights the ethno-pharmaceutical importance of Capparis spinosa L. (Capparidaceae) used by many local people of district Chitral since century under the traditional system of medicine. In this context, a survey was conducted during summer 2010 in different ecologically and economically important sites of the study area. The aims, the current endeavour was to prepare an ethno-pharmaceutical inventory of C. spinosa and also to raise awareness regarding its usage. Additionally, to explore its agro-industrial potentialities for the socio-economic uplift of the inhabitants of district Chitral, Pakistan. The methodology of the survey focused on a series of consultation with local hakims (traditional healers) and people of different age groups. The results revealed that C. spinosa is a multipurpose plant used for the curing of various human illnesses in traditional system of medicines. The young fruits and tender branch tips are used in pickled and also as a condiment agent. The study also revealed that the tender young shoots including immature small leaves are eaten as a vegetable. Additionally, ash from burned caper roots has been used as a source of salt in indigenous system. Generally men had a greater knowledge than women regarding the therapeutic value ofC. spinosa. This species is mostly collected by children and women and gathering is generally done for supplementary income. The collectors are not properly trained in the post harvest treatment of collected materials. Recommendations are given in the spheres of training in identification, sustainable collection, processing, value addition, equitable sharing of benefits ofC. spinosa, trade monitoring and cooperative system of marketing.
Key words: Capparis spinosa, multipurpose species, ethno-pharmaceutical value, local people, traditional system of medicine, human illnesses.
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