THERAPEUTIC POTENTIAL OF WILD EDIBLE VEGETABLES - A REVIEW
Wild edible plants play an important role in the livelihood of people residing in rural areas. Even today in most of the remote areas, people depend on plants which are available in their natural surroundings for food, medicine, shelter etc. Majority of wild edible vegetables have medicinal property and can be used to treat common ailments. The present paper focuses on ethno-medicinal properties of some non-cultivated, traditional vegetables from published research articles, books and web based search engines. On the basis of available ethno-botanical information through published literature studies, it is observed that one or the other part of wild vegetables belonging to about 97 species of 48 families are used as medicine apart from their nutritional benefits. About 43 species of leaves, 14 species Rhizome/tuber, 11 species of fruits, 9 species of shoot/stem, and 7 species of flowers are used for food as well as medicinal purposes. Total 66 among these are used internally, 21 are used externally and 14 are being used for both internal and external administration. About 52 different disease conditions like diabetes, rheumatism, dysentery, dyspepsia, gastritis, constipation, urinary disorders are frequently treated by these wild vegetables. These are easily available in natural habitat, cheap and excellent source of nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, iron, essential minerals and other secondary metabolites. Regular use of these vegetables may indirectly act as an alternative source of medicinal drugs along with nutritional benefits. Further, they can be analyzed for their bioactive constituents and introduced as diet in routine clinical practice.
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