The Ethno-veterinary medicine (¬EVM¬¬¬¬) is a system of cure and treatment of animals, based on folk beliefs, traditional knowledge, skills, methods and practices, which are handed down orally from generations to generations. EVM is very popular among poor farmers of the developing world and now gaining popularity in the developed countries too; probably because of its low treatment cost, questionable quality of allopathic drugs, development of drug resistance and problem of drug residues in animal products and environment.
The Department of Parasitology, University of Agriculture, is involved in EVM research from the last one decade. Numerous herbs have been proven on scientific grounds for their medicinal particularly anti-parasitic activities. According to a recent survey conducted by the Department, EVM practices for the treatment of different livestock diseases in district Jhang of Punjab, Pakistan have been recorded.
As many as 800 local farmers were consulted during the reconnaissance survey, which led to identification of 200 traditional veterinary healers.
The parasitic livestock diseases reported were haemoglobion urea, mange, ticks infestation, helminthiasis, fly infestation, lice infestation, fleas and Myiasis.
The other than parasitic, livestock diseases were Diarrhoea, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Calcium deficiency, Mastitis, Colic, Enterotoxaemia, Prolaps, Rheumatic fever, Milk fever, Newcastle disease, Retention of foetal membrane, Nasal discharge, Haemoraghic septicemia, An estrous, Laminitis, Strangles, Lactolith, Panting, Canine distemper, Indigestion, Paralysis, Allergy, Uterus pus, Loss of appetite , Tympany, Crop bound Condition, Teat stricture, , Rheumatism, Tail necrosis and gangrene, Black quarter , Fibrosis, Wound, Cough, String hault, Pneumonia, Sheep pox and Gid.
In this study a total of 606 EVM practices of these, 445 were based on plants and 161 were based chemicals and other organic matters were recorded to treat the different livestock diseases.
The top most frequently reported plants were Sarson (Brassica rapa), Piyaz (Allium cepa), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Surkh mirch (Capsicum annuum), Ajjwain (Trachyspermum ammi), Thoam (Allium sativum), Korr tumma (Citrullus colocynthis), Sabz mirch (Capsicum frutescens),
Taramira (Eruca vesicaria) and Bari illachi (Amomum subulatum). Maximum usage was recorded for Sarson (Brassica rapa), used in 21 different livestock diseases followed by Piyaz (Allium cepa), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Surkh mirch (Capsicum annuum), Ajjwain (Trachyspermum ammi), Thoam (Allium sativum), Korr tumma (Citrullus colocynthis), Sabz mirch (Capsicum frutescens), Taramira (Eruca vesicaria) and Bari illachi (Amomum subulatum) were used in 20, 13, 12, 11, 11, 10, 10, 09 different livestock diseases respectively.
For parasitic livestock diseases 53 of the 606 remedies used for the treatment of the Haemoglobion urea, 29 for mange, 28 for helminthiasis, 28 for ticks infestation, 11 for fly infestation, 10 for lice infestation, 06 for fleas and 04 for Myiasis.
For other than parasitic diseases 48 of the 606 remedies were used for the treatment of the Calcium deficiency, 46 for mastitis, 42 for diarrhoea, 29 for an estrous, enterotoxaemia, 25 for foot and mouth disease, 22 for prolaps, 20 for rheumatic fever, 16 for Haemoraghic septicemia, 15 for panting, 14 for Newcastle disease, 11 for milk fever, 10 for strangles, 09 for nasal discharge, 08 for colic, strangle, Lactolith, indigestion, black quarter, 06 for canine distemper, laminitis, 05 for crop bound condition, tail necrosis and gangrene, 04 for rheumatism, Tympany, 03 for string hault, fibrosis, wound, 02 for cough, loss of appetite, pneumonia, retention of foetal membrane, sheep pox, teat stricture, uterus puss and 01 for Gid.
The documented plants represented 55 families; Poaceae was the most represented family by nine plants followed by Papilionaceae, Apiaceae, Solanaceae and Brassicaceae are the top 5 most representing families of plants.
There was maximum usage of seeds (194) followed by leaves (147), fruit (141), oil (83), bulb (77), flower (23), stem (21), root (15), bark (10), whole plant (06), resin (05), and aerial parts.
Noticeable findings of the study on EVM documentation were that: (i) of the total number of EVM practices reported by the respondents, remedies for parasitic infestation had the maximum contribution (≈ 64per cent), (ii)113 plants were documented for their use in EVM practices in Jhang (Punjab, Pakistan) indicating an important role of plants in the treatment of different diseases of livestock, (iii) there was wide variation in the dose, vehicle, form of plant used, mode of preparation and administration/application for the use of plants even among the EVM practices for the same disease/condition, (iv) there was wide diversity in usage and in combination of different plants for the treatment of different diseases.
In this backdrop, the combined extracts of Rhizome of Curcuma longa, fruit of Citrullus colocynthis and seed of Peganum harmala were found gifted. The plants included in this study were selected on the basis of their reported anthelmintic, acaricidal and anti-coccidial activities, frequency of usage in traditional veterinary medicine, availability convenience and cost of treatment.
The plant extracts is apt for the resource-poor farmers as a broad spectrum anti-parasitic. These herbal crude products are cheaper and easily available. Assimilation of these formulations in integrated parasitic management practices will add to the sustainability and thus generates income of the farmers.
The writers are associated with the Department of Parasitology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.