Conclusions

The present study shows that Rajasthan is home to a vast diversity of medicinal plants. Despite a gradual sociocultural transformation, local communities still possess substantial knowledge of plants and their uses. The reliance on folk medicines for healthcare is associated with the lack of modern medicines and medication, poverty and traditional belief in their effectiveness. Since there is a complete lack of phytotherapeutic evidence for many of the species, it is recommend that phyto-chemical and pharmacological studies be carried out in order to confirm the validity of properties attributed to these species. This is particularly relevant for species with market potential beyond the state of Rajasthan. If plans for their extraction were drawn up, these medicinal resources could provide for both subsistence needs and income. This, however, requires a detailed assessment of resource quantities, productivity potential, sustainable harvesting methods, domestication possibilities and the market value of potentially promising species and, importantly, equitable benefit-sharing regimes. The knowledge of the use of species reported here belongs to the tribal and rural people of the state. Any benefits derived from the use of this knowledge must be shared with the inhabitants of the state.

Ethnoveterinary medicines are of specific value in developing countries, where allopathic veterinary medicines are often beyond the reach of livestock producers. It can play an important role in rural farm development. The present paper is also intended to contribute to this growing body of knowledge by supplying information on the plant-based ethnoveterinary curative techniques found in tribal areas of Rajasthan.

Only a small percentage of about 400,000 plant species on the earth have been phytochemically investigated, and the fraction submitted to biological or pharmacological screening is even smaller [33]. The plant kingdom thus represents an

enormous reservoir of pharmacologically valuable material to be discovered [34] which will likely be of great benefit for human welfare.

Acknowledgements The author acknowledges the tremendous amount of cooperation and assistance that he received from his students Dr. (Mrs.) Anita Jain, Dr. Praveen Galav and tribals for readily sharing their knowledge. The author is also thankful to the CSIR, DST and Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi for financial assistance.

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