More than 100 medicinal plants are found in the hills and other areas of Khushab district, and millions of rupees are earned monthly at the local level from these folk medicines.
Experts from abroad also take valuable herbs from the mountainous areas on their own.
Experts say that the use of home remedies can be dangerous to health and can sometimes be fatal. Therefore, the general public must use folk medicines under the guidance of an authorised physician only.
Naveed Ahmad, a botanist and an expert in folk medicine, named a very large number of medicine plants found in the Khushab district, including wild Okra whose medicinal name, he said, is Abelmoschus esculentus, Phalai (Acacia Modesta wall), Desi Cactus (Acacia nilotica), Onion (Allium Cepa Linn) and many, many others.
Their fruits, flowers, leaves, bark, seeds and roots are used in medicine while potions, powder, capsules and tablets made by different companies are available in the market.
A former health officer of District Khushab, Dr. Malik Nasir Khan Awan, told the Express Tribune that in the rural areas some of these harmful drugs were used in folk tips without the advice of a doctor which was causing health problems.
In fact, these indigenous medicines can be deadly. Therefore, it should not be used without the prescription of a doctor.
Hakim Mohammad Aslam told the Express Tribune that very valuable herbs and medicinal plants were found in the Soan Valley area of Khushab district.
If the government sponsors people, millions of rupees of revenue could be generated, and other medical institutions could also benefit from these indigenous medicines.
He further said that medicinal plants and herbs were used by local and foreign medicine companies. If the government paid attention, the government and the people of the region would benefit.
Malik Farooq Awan, agriculture officer of tehsil Nowshera, Soan Valley, told The Express Tribune that if Ajwain, Asli, Tukh Malanga and Ispaghol were cultivated in Soan Valley, and the government provided information and facilities to the local landlords, it would be more profitable at a very low cost.
Divisional Forest Officer Naseem Iqbal Butt said that an agency had been set up under the name of non-timber forest produce to regularize medicinal plants and non-timber.
Reports of fully non-timber and medicinal plants have also been sent from the Khushab district.
Non-timber also includes minerals and trees and plants that are not included in timber, and its wood is not used for burning wood.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2022.