Ethno-medicinal plants diversity and uses by the informants
The data collected from the 39 villages of Bageshwar District viz. Garur-Ganga Valley and Saryu Valley have been statistically analysed with an inventory of 70 medicinal plants used for ethnomedicinal purpose distributed in 35 families and 64 genera. These all taxas are organized in alphabetical order with their botanical names including other information of local name, their habit, part used, treated ailments and ethnobotanical indices to quantities the related data (Table 1.). Various previous workers also documented medicinal plant and their ethnomedicinal use patterns from Bageshwar district [21–25]. Although much of the work has been done on ethnomedicinal practices in the respective study area, around 60% of the total documented species have not been reported till now in any other such works.
Among the 35 families recorded, four families were documented with more than 3 taxas included where Lamiaceae being the highest representative family with 8 species being used in traditional health care practices followed by Asteraceae (6 species), Fabaceae (5 species), Rosaceae (4 species) and Apiaceae, Liliaceae, Ranunculaceae, Rutaceae, Zingiberaceae (3 species each). The remaining families contain only one or two species. The most represented families coincide with those of other ethnomedicinal studies in the trans-Himalayan arid zone of Mustang district, Nepal  and Garhwal Himalaya, India  with this same methodology. Almost all the species are widely distributed in the community and are used by almost every local person and most of them comprise of daily used plants. As per habit, herb were the dominant (51) life form of documented medicinal plant species followed by tree (10), shrub (7) and 2 species were climbers (Fig. 2).
Although the study area is provisioned with both modern healthcare system as well as traditional health care systems, but till now in remote areas, approximately 70% population preferred to visit Vaidyas. Most of the Vaidyas were >50 years old and had sound knowledge about the medicinal value of their surrounding flora which have been passed to them by their ancestors. These plants used to cure variety of diseases such as fever, stomach problem, cough, cold, headache etc. from centuries.
Mode of preparation and administration
There have been a total 8 plant parts used from the documented 70 species which are categorized as root/rhizome (29.87%), leaf (22.08%), whole plant (16.88%), seeds (14.29%), fruits (11.69%), flower (2.60%) and both bulb and latex (1.30%). Notably, root-rhizome was the most utilized part in terms of plant-part used in medicinal purpose followed by leaf and whole plant (Fig 3). The used part of the present study is similar to other investigations [28–32]. The roots are the storage part of the plant that contains the deposition of the nutrients and bioactive compounds necessary to scavenge the disease-causing vectors. High concentrations of bioactive compounds were attributed the high importance of the underground part  therefore, root was preferred to be used in most of the formulations. Apart from the root part, leaves also contain a high concentration of health-beneficial secondary metabolites, phytochemicals, and essential oils, which contribute significantly to phototherapy or treatment of various health disorders [34–37]. A conservational approach often emphasized the use of leaf part instead of the root part because the root utilization lead to destruction of the whole plant as regeneration is a slow process for many potent species. In the study, 51 plants were in the category of herb and the usage of the whole part is an indication of abundance of this habit in the study area. Lastly, latex and bulb part of the plants were the least utilized part of plant.
Tables 1 & 2 provides the different type of mode of preparation and administration of the plant species to treat different type of healthcare ailments and out of the 10 types of mode of administration of the medicines, decoction and ingestion are widely practiced to be given to the affected ones (Fig 4).The major method of preparation was the decoction has been reported previously [38–42]. Poultice and cooking were also favored for many medicinal plants to be administered in treatment of any ailment. Since the root/rhizome, leaf and whole plant part were used mostly in the medicinal purpose, it can be correlated to the preparation of decoction form, application of poultice and direct of the medicines in treatment. Other mode of administration included cooking and powder form (9.42%), direct application (7.97%), emulsion and infusion (5.80%), ointment (2.17%) and in form of steam (0.72%). Decoction or syrup is very simple and easy way used for ethno-medicinal preparation, preferred due to complete extraction of the potential bio-active compounds, which is accelerated on heating . Pleasant taste of the herbal drug can be attuned by adding together honey or sugar . Direct ingestion was preferred at second number and poultice was third one as rhizome and leaf part were used in most of the formulations which are needed to be crushed and either mixed in some solvent or applied as paste and band-aid. Other lesser used preparation methods like ointment were ailment specific as it was only used in skeletal and muscle related issues and sometimes used to treat dermatological ailments. Infusion of medicinal plant part is seen common in multiple diseases where anti-oxidants were released in the infused extract to treat various diseases.
Local names of the species
The 100 informants referred to 70 taxas used in the ethnobotanical purpose to treat the various kind of ailment as well as used by the local traditional healers (Vaidyas).. The common name or the local names have been obtained from the Vaidyas themselves as well as from other ethnobotanical researches conducted earlier in the state of Uttarakhand. Many local names of the medicinal plants inhibit their use-type, for example Berginia ciliate is called as Pattharchatta (stone destroyer) used in treatment of removal of stone from kidney. Plantago ovate is called as Jonkpuri (jonk resembles to worms) is used in treatment of Ascaris and other worms in domestic animals. Another species Viola betonicifolia (called Garur-jadi where garur means eagle that hunts snake) and the medicine is used as an antidote to treat snake bites. The local names have been organized in Table 1 in front of the scientific names of the species. Most communities have their own nomenclature for flora, fauna and their parts, in which they interested. More over the native names are concern with locally observed phenomenon and thus reflect the broad spectrum of information of local uses, ecology, physiology, anatomy, pharmacological activity etc..
Target treatment categories of ailment
The reported plants were further analyzed for their usage in treatment of different types of healthcare ailments-treatments as provided in Fig 5. A total of 12 general ailment categories were compiled with a multiple sub-category based on the information gathered. The figure also describes the number of taxas used in different ailment categories with 23 taxas being used to treat gastrointestinal disorders followed by general healthcare disorders, dermatological issues, and respiratory issues with 22, 21 and 15 taxas respectively. The different ailment categories have been organized in Table 5 and their sub categories have been documented in Table–1 with popular ailment uses. The subcategories varied from general headache to complex cataract and even fracture and kidney stones.
The maximum numbers of taxa (23) are being included in gastrointestinal ailments comprised of 695 use reports from the total categories with a medicinal importance index value of 30.22. Some most sought species in this category are Cannabis sativa, Citrus aurantifolia, Angelica galuca, Ajuga reptans, and Emblica officinalis. These species are placed in accordance to their use reports mentioned during data collection. In the category of general health care, 22 species are being used with 524 numbers of use-reports & medical importance of 23.82. The species indicated with the highest number of use-reports are Ocimum basilicum, Citrus aurantifolia, Curcuma longa, Ajuga repens, and Picorhiza kurrooa on the basis of use reports. Dermatological category ranks third with 21 taxas in use and use report value of 617 and medicinal importance of 29.82.The main species employed for this category on the basis of use reports are Setaria italica, Eupatorium adenophorum, Arthemisia martima. Although the hepatic health cure category comprised of only 8 taxas, it has a medicinal importance index values of 45.50, which is highest of all the categories since the species used under the category are of daily usage and are often included in daily food products with nutritive values. The species include Glycine max, Hordium vulgare, Punica granatum, Urtica dioica, Polygonatum cirrhifolium etc. In other works carried out in Uttarakhand, they were reported these medicinal plants and use different plant parts in different ratio to cure disease or aliments [16, 21–23, 25, 27, 28, 46–48].
Quantitative analysis of ethnobotanical data
It is importance to draw a scientific interpretation of the qualitative data in terms of quantitative values to validate their importance in the society as well as to other communities in future. Several indices have been analysed from the data obtained on the medicinal plant usage which are categorized as Relative Frequency Citation (RFC), Use report (Categorical and disease based), Cultural Importance Index (CI) and Informant Consensus Index (Fci). These indices are utilized to verify the homogeneity, importance, cultural similarity of the medicinal plants in communities.
Relative Frequency Citation
RFC values are closely related to the usefulness of the species and its usage by the community in a particular area. The value of RFC ranged from 0.03 to 0.91and the maximum cited species to be used by the community are Setaria italic (0.91), Zingiber officinale (0.89), Ocimum basilicum (0.88), Rephanus sativus (0.87). And those with the least RFC values are Duchesnea indica (0.03), Thalictrum foliosum (0.04). The low values for these species is due to their usage type as D. indica is used in removal of burns and scars and T. foliosumis used in treatment of eye infection (white dot cataract) communities tend to use modern medicines for such ailments.
Cultural Importance Index
Cultural importance index specifies the distribution and importance of species in different indigenous people. The CIs of the species ranged from 0.03 to 0.97. Higher values of the CI indicate the involvements of a particular species in different indigenous population of the study area and to verify, to what level each species is present in the local traditions and in the reminiscence of the local people. The species with highest cultural importance value recorded were Ocimum basilicum(0.97), Cannabis sativa (0.94), Citrus aurantifolia (0.94) and the species with least CI values are Duchesnea indica (0.03) with only 3 use-reports obtained, Micromeria biflora (0.06) with 6 use-reports and Drymaria cordata (0.07) by 7 use-reports. The higher values CIs also indicate the presence of deep roots of traditional knowledge of the medicines regarding the species and all these species are used in day to day activity from food to culture and traditions. The 21 most significant species have been listed in Table 3 with their respective use-report values. According to Tuttolomondo et al. 2014 , the low values of CI indicate that the local populations had little belief in some of the plants relating to the treatment of certain diseases/ailments or as a strong indication of a gap or fading of traditional plant knowledge regarding their medicinal uses. One reason for lower CIs of some species is that the indigenous people dependent on the natural resources may not consume every wild edible species and thus the knowledge may be sparsely distributed among indigenous people.
Informant Consensus Factor
The ailments documented in the research have been classified in 12 broad categories of whose, informant consensus factor (Fic) ranged from 0.92 to 1.0 (Table 4). The values were almost near 1 which indicates that there lies in homogeneity in selecting the species for particular ailments in the indigenous population. Immuno-regulatory category was assigned the value 1 due to presence of only one taxa in the particular category. Apart from this, hepatic health care and urinogenital categories obtained the value of 0.98 indicating a well-defines criteria of the local population and non-random selection of species for the ailment category.
Hepatic health care were treated mainly by Asparagus recemosus, Glycine max, Hordium vulgare, Polygonatum cirrhifolium, Punica granatum, Rephanus sativus and Urtica dioica which are sought to provide nutritive benefits and are of warm potency which is a necessity in higher altitude regions with colder temperatures. All of these species are used in daily food habit of the indigenous community and is widely used in the state. Also a higher value of Ficverifies the distribution of the different species used for a specific ailment. The urinogenital category, with only 4 taxas included comes second in terms of CI as there is a widely accepted notion of using those species for such disorders within the study area as well as outside too.
Gastrointestinal disorders, dermatological issues, respiratory issues and ailments related to skeletal and muscle parts are having a value of 0.97. These issues may prevail due to local environment and natural systems. Almost all the species covered under these three categories are used by most of the people here and can be found within every household. The higher values of informant consensus factor in almost all the ailment categories also implies that the documented species are the most sought indigenous species that are being used by the local people as well as traditional healers and medicine practitioners. Also, the mode of preparation of these medicines either in form of cooked food or poultice is often similar to the other nearby communities.
Ethno-veterinary uses of medicinal plants
Villages of the study area far-flung to the road side; still depend to a large extent upon plants and household remedies for curing veterinary ailments. The indigenous knowledge of ethnoveterinary medicine and its significance has been identified by the local people through a process of experience over the fifty years. In this investigation, medicinal plant species documented from the study sites are not only used to treat human ailments but also used to cure various animal diseases e.g. Ajuga reptans is used to cure throat infection in domestic animals, Coriandrum sativum is used against poison, Taraxacum officinale, Verbascum thapsus and Viola canescens to increase lactation in milch animals (Table 2). Thus we can say the indigenous methods of treatment are one of the most important traditional systems in the study area where modern veterinary healthcare facilities are in very poor conditions.
Diminishing traditional ethno-botanical knowledge:
The present scenario of this ethno-botanical knowledge seems to be pale and dull as there has been a steady loss in such practices due to advent of modern healthcare system where people are appalled to the quick recovery, which often comes at a cost of side-effect of the medicine. Data have been collected for one decade from 2008 to 2018 regarding the level of degradation of such precious knowledge. Fig 6 represents the current scenario of the ethnomedicinal practices being followed compared to a decade ago where a few practices have diminished completely and few are on a verge to die. People are moving away from traditional healings and the young generation has no interest in the traditional customs and values. Earlier the people of remote areas preferred to consult with Vaidyas for primary healthcare but from last one decade it was noticed that increase in accessibility, availability and affordability towards the modern medicinal system people of the study area are losing faith in traditional health care practices. It has been observed that some of the diseases related especially to children, where modern health care practices are not able to cure such as Juga (removal of Ascaris), Chupad (heavy cough), Kasar (constipation), so indigenous people are still depend of traditional cure system. Also more than half of the medicinal plants were highly effective in treatment of the ailments as well as in terms of priority of using ayurvedic medicine against other modern cures available. In view of the effectiveness of the ethno-medicinal plants for usage and treatment among the communities, 57% of the total respondents believe that these plants are highly effective and 30% are to be moderately effective and only 13% respondents say these are lesser effective. Notably the low effectiveness was due to the medicinal plants used in treating very specific and complex ailments. During the study it was observed that the vaidyas do not share their knowledge, they believed that the treatment will not be effective if they share the knowledge with anybody.In the changing lifestyle and socioeconomic scenarios, most of the inhabitants are reluctant to live with their traditional heritage leading to vanishing of the knowledge .