The use of Seabuckthorn to satisfy the long term conversation needs as well as the short term economic need of people depending upon rapidly degrading mountain resources. Seabuckthorn is one such species that has a great potential for satisfying the above requirements. As a multipurpose plant Seabuckthorn has a vital role in the land locked, tormented farming community being a source of cash income, off-farm employment, effective mean of environment and soil conservation. The native specie Hippophae rhamnoides subsp. Turkestanica is spread over an an area of 3000 hectares along river banks, streams water channels and around springs, which are used for fuel, fencing and forage purposes. Estimated annual production is about 2500 tons fresh berries (lu rongsen 1996) that could be increased 2-3 folds through tree management and further propagation. The existing production can support a cottage industry in the area to export raw material and semi finished products to down cities and abroad.
Seabuckthorn is known as miracle plant for its multipurpose uses in food, medicine and cosmetic industries and soil biodiversity conservation. It is naturally growing on 3000 hectares with annual production of 1200-2500 metric tons fresh berries. The communities were using seabuckthorn just for fuel, forage and fencing purposes only.
It is GB TRADE KEY (PVT)LTD that played a key role in introducing and promoting seabuckthorn in Pakistan that is why the farming community realized the importance of seabuckthorn as an important source of livelihood. As a part of campaign GB TRADE KEY (PVT)LTD also motivated market players and linked them with the local farmers in the best interest of farmers to improve their household income.
In result the high altitude farmers are earning handsome cash income every year by selling seabuckthorn raw and semi finished products. They have also initiated to use seabuckthorn bi products as a high nutritional and medicinal source. Now it is known that seabuckthorn is the only sub sector providing off season employment opportunities to the high altitude farmers particularly for women.
Shilajit, also known as silajit, salajeet or mumijo, momia and moomiyo[ is a thick, sticky like substance with a colour ranging from white to dark brown (the latter is more common), sometimes found in Caucasus mountains, Altai Mountains, and Tibet mountains and mountains of Gilgit Baltistan Pakistan.
Shilajit is a blackish-brown exudation, of variable consistency, obtained from steep rocks of different formations found in the Himalayas and Karakorum Range.
It is used in as medicine. The composition of shilajit has been investigated numerous times in Pakistan, India and the former USSR, and depends on the location where it is found. It has been reported to contain at least 85 minerals in ionic form, as well as triterpenes, humic acid and fulvic acid. A similar substance from the Caucasus Mountains, and the Altai Mountains is called mumijo (Russian).
Shilajit is a Sanskrit word meaning "rock-invincible." It is also spelled "shilajeet," and "salajeet” in Urdu and is known by various other names, such as shilajita mumiyo, mineral pitch or mineral wax in English, black asphaltum, Asphaltum punjabianum in Latin, barahshin, dorobi, baraga shun or brag-shun, chao-tong, and wu ling zhi (which generally refers to the excrement of flying squirrels). Shilajit is commonly called shilajitu in Ayurveda.The wakhis call it "baad-a-ghee"(evils feces).
Uses of Shilajit: Shilajit is considered as a most powerful anti-oxidant. Free radicals are responsible for casing early aging in the body. Shilajit attacks on the free radicals and expels them out of the body in the form of urine. 2. It is famous for its aphrodisiac actions and has been the herb of choice for increasing the sexual power in man. It helps in developing stamina that helps a man to perform to the highest level in bed. It is helpful in increasing the sperm count and also enhances the quality of sperms. 3. Shilajit is one of the best herbal supplements in the treatment of diabetes. It is extremely helpful in maintaining the normal sugar levels in the body. It stimulates the pancreas to secrete the desired amount of insulin. 4. It is one of the best body tonics and helps in overcoming the weakness of the body. It is also helpful in fatigue, lethargy and lack of energy. 5. It is used in the treatment of various urinary problems, as it is diuretic in nature. It helps to tone up the kidneys and urinary bladder and maintains normal urinary system. 6. Shilajit is a commonly used herbal ingredient in most ayurvedic remedies. It is a perfect cure for various diseases due to abundance of essential minerals present in it. 7. An important health benefit of Shilajit is preventing arthritis problems. It is well known for anti oxidant and anti inflammatory properties.
In Baltistan apricot naturally grown at high altitude farms of mighty mountains of Himalayas and Karakoram receiving pure glacier water with full of minerals which makes the fruits delicious and nutritious. Apricot is an excellent source of dietary fiber, Vitamins A, C, carbohydrates, calcium, potassium and beta-carotene. Among all variety apricot ‘Halman’ is known a top quality in Baltistan.
Apricot has great potential in Gilgit-Baltistan which has tremendous scope in national and international market if it is hygienically processed according to market standard. Unfortunately the major quantity of apricot fruit goes waste due to lack of advance technology, proper facilities and proper marketing system. The sub sector can be promoted through a series of development initiatives to improve the socio economic condition of the small scale farmers.
Buckwheat's Numerous Benefits and Nutritional and Medicinal Value Makes it a Healthy Choice for Today's Health Conscious Consumers"
Buckwheat nutrition facts
Buckwheat is neither a cereal grain nor related to the wheat. It is, in fact, a seed but handled in a similar way like any other common cereal grains. Binomially, it belongs within the family of Polygonaceae, which also include sorrel, rhubarn, Japanese knotweed, etc. Scientific name is Fagopyrum esculentum.
The crop was first cultivated in the high plains of southeastern China and Himalay and mountain area of Pakistan as centuries ago, and has been staple food of the inhabitants much before rice and other cereal grains gradually replaced its cultivation. Its grains, indeed, provided much needed essential nutrients, protein, fats and minerals to the inhabitants during early civilizations, enabling them to thrive well under inhospitable terrains. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in its revival as routine crops among the nutrition scienists.
Common buckwheat, much similar to quinoa, is not a novel food as one may think but an ancient crop. The plant is a dicotyledon (like pulses/beans) and cultivated as annual, flowering herb. It is a short-season crop and grows well even in less than optimum soil conditions. Frost, however, could prove detrimental to its survival.
The plant reaches about 45-60 cm in height with branches and bears pink or white color in clusters that attract honeybees depending on the cultivar type. The seeds feature three sides, pyramidal in shape, brown to gray in color with a thick outer hull. The kernel inside is cream white and has a nutty flavor.
Buckwheat's well-balanced starch, protein, fat and mineral composition has found a renewed interest, particularly among the food scientists. Additionally, its seeds compose proportionately more starch and less fat content than fellow oil seeds, hence can be handled in a way like any other staple grains. Being a short-season crop and sustainable characteristic of thriving under drought conditions, it may be an answer for malnutrition alleviation, particularly in famine-prone regions.
Health benefits of buckwheat
Buckwheat grains compose proportionately more starch than other similar seeds like quinoa and amaranth. 100 g seeds (grains) provide 343 calories. The grains are moderate sources of energy, and calorie content may be compared to that of major cereals such as wheat, maize, rice and that of pulses like chickpea, mung bean, cowpea (black-eye pea), etc.
The protein level in buckwheat grains is the range of 11-14 g of protein per 100 g; relatively less than that in quinoa and pulses. Nonetheless, it composes all the indispensable amino acids for the human body at excellent proportions, especially in lysine which is otherwise a limiting amino acid in grains like wheat, maize, rice, etc.
Buckwheat seeds are very rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. 100 g provide 10 g or 26% of daily requirement of fiber. Fiber increase bulkiness of the food and helps prevent constipation problems by speeding up bowel movements through the gut. Fiber also binds to toxins and aid in their excretion from the gut and helps protect the colon mucus membrane from cancers. In addition, dietary fibers bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol) and decrease their re-absorption in colon, thus help lower serum LDL cholesterol levels.
Buckwheat is another gluten-free food source. Gluten is a protein present in certain grass family grains and may induce stomach upset and diarrhea condition in individuals with Celiac disease.
The grains compose of several polyphenolic antioxidant compounds such as rutin, tannins and catechin. Rutin (quercetin rutinoside) is found to have anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties and help prevent platelet clot formation inside the blood vessels. Early laboratory studies suggest that rutin may offer a cure in hemorrhoids, and clotting disorders.
Buckwheat grains have more B-complex group of vitamins, than that of quinoa seeds, especially riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3).
Finally, buckwheat has more concentration of minerals like copper, and magnesium. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels leading to brain and found to have curative effects on depression, and headache.