Medicinal Plants

This programme seeks to demonstrate a multi-faceted, multi-institutional, multiple stakeholder intervention focused on documentation, conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants for health and livelihood security of rural communities. The programme design contributes to strengthening “One Health” strategies in India. In this context, it also works towards forging relationships particularly with other countries in Asia that have a long history of cultural exchange around medicinal plants.
Wild edible plants: from historical sources to market surveys and foraging workshops
Lukasz Luczaj / TDU
This webinar was organized as part of the Global Ethnobotany Research Webinar series in which leading researchers in the field of Biodiversity and Ethnobotany share their research work.
National Webinar Series in Celebration of World Environment Day 2021
Archana Bahuguna and Joss Brooks / TDU
Day 1 of the National Webinar Series in Celebration of World Environment Day 2021.

About Medicinal Plants

India has rich cultural traditions related to the use of ecosystem specific medicinal flora for human, livestock and agricultural uses. This is evident in the incredibly large number of plant species used by local communities from the trans-Himalayas to the sea coast. The knowledge about the use of medicinal plants has been documented in an estimated 100 000 medical manuscripts and practiced in oral traditions documented in ethno-botanical literature. The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) initiated by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, has computerized over 250,000 herbal formulations sourced from codified texts of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Swa-rigpa.

A subset of these traditionally used formulations for human, animal and crop health, selected strategically for their high social impact potential, if revalidated by competent R&D organizations can contribute to design of health and livelihood security of millions, especially in rural communities. This economic potential is already visible in the growth of Indian herbal pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmeceutical and veterinary industry which manufactures value added traditional formulations and currently has an estimated annual turnover exceeding Rs 25,000 cr/annum.

In situ conservation of wild gene pools of medicinal plants is also a high national priority because recent studies show that, even today, 80% of the medicinal species used by both local communities and by the herbal industry are sourced from the wild.

This programme will engage with existing health and biodiversity initiatives across Government and non-Government organizations/institutions to set up an interactive portal on medicinal plants, and develop conservation plans for threatened medicinal plants. Further, the programme will integrate traditional knowledge with modern scientific knowledge for a broader understanding of the pharmacology of medicinal plants. Each of these initiatives would be applied to support and seed rural enterprises for health and livelihood security. This programme will thus enable India to be a leader in medicinal plant research, documentation thereof, and development of effective drugs from natural plant resources.