Social Science Baha

Underutilized Plant Species in Far-West Nepal: A Potential Resource for Primary Health Care

Ripu M Kunwar, Laxmi Mahat and Keshab P Shrestha

There are a large number of underutilized plant species in far-west Nepal, and they have been limitedly used. They are potential on alleviating prevalent food deficiency and complementing primary health care by furnishing ingredients where commercial cultivation is the least possible and health care is indigenously pursued. The present study documented potential underutilized plant species of far-west Nepal for their better management regarding wise use, ecosystem sustainability and cultural integrity. Resource availability, indigenous knowledge, and cultural integrity were opportunities for wise use of species as supplement of primary health care. Despite the fact that the importance of these plants to Nepalese subsistence and culture has long been reported (Manandhar 2002), the use potential of these plants was under-recognized, perhaps as a result of lack of awareness and research capacity. Land-use and habitat change, over exploitation, deforestation and climate change compounded the situation.

Keywords: Underutilized plants, health care, over exploitation, far-west Nepal.