Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3818

Full Length Research Paper

Ethnobotanical and pharmaceutical evaluation of Capparis spinosa L, validity of local folk and Unani system of medicine

Hassan Sher* and Mohammad N. Alyemeni
Department of Botany and Microbiology, College of Science, King Saud University Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 25 August 2010
  •  Published: 04 September 2010


This paper describe ethnobotanical and pharmaceutical importance of Capparis spinosa L, (Capparidaceae) used by many local people since century under the traditional, Ayurvedeic, Chinese and Unani system of medicine. The present endeavour was, therefore, conducted during summer 2010 with the aim to document and prepare detail ethnobotanical inventory and pharmaceutical importance of C. spinosa and also to explore its agro-industrial potentialities for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Information’s about C. spinosa were collected through semi-structured interviews and discussion with the local elderly and experienced people up to age group 60 by using standard protocol. Additionally, all available literature on C. spinosa was reviewed and studied. The results showed that C. spinosa is a multipurpose plant and used for the curing of various human ailments including gastro-intestinal problems, strangury, inflammation, emmenagogue, anemia, liver dysfunction, rheumatism, antispasmodic analgesic; anthelmintic; antihaemorrhoidal; aperient; deobstruent; depurative; diuretic; expectorant; and general body tonic in indigenous, Ayurvedeic, Chinese and Unani system of medicines. The current study also documented that C. spinosa has peculiar aroma and therefore, used in pasta sauces, pizza, fish, meats and salads in many places. 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. The present study concluded that C. spinosa is "Plant of the Millennium, has applications for the development of pharmaceutical and food  industries and also possess agro-industrial potentialities. Therefore, sustainable utilization and exploration of C. spinosa is suggested for the socio-economic uplift of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Key words: Capparis spinosa, pharmaceutical value, economic uses, traditional system of medicine, human ailments.