Herbal Medicine

According to World Health Organization, estimated 80 percent of people globally rely on herbal medicines for some aspect of their primary health care needs. According to the world body, around 21,000 plant species have the potential for being used as medicinal plants.

Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before the prehistoric period. Ancient Unani manuscripts Egyptian papyrus and Chinese writings described the use of herbs.  Among ancient civilisations, India has been known to be a rich repository of medicinal plants.

Jammu and Kashmir too is known for high species diversity. The major area of Jammu has a subtropical climate, while the temperate to alpine climate prevails in the Kashmir valley. There are 572 unique medicinal plants in J&K. There is need for formulating a detailed plan for each one of the plants.

Medicinal plants are traded in the form of raw material as well as processed products. These have provided an important source of income for communities living in the region, particularly in Kashmir, for a long time.

According to a survey by NCBI, the medicinal plants in Kashmir Himalayas regulate the livelihood of the people and support cultural ecosystem services. Asteraceae, Rosaceae, Lamiaceae, Malvaceae, Ranunculaceae, Poaceae, Solanaceae, Polygonaceae, Plantaginaceae and Brassicaceae are the top most dominant families. Herbaceous groups of plants were more common than trees and shrubs, and 71.96% of herb taxa were employed as medicine. Liliaceae, Liliaceae, Caprifoliaceae and Portulacaceae have the highest family use value (FUV).

Humans have been using medicinal plants since ancient times and there has been documentation of these uses.

Most of the drugs, formulated from medical plants, are free of side effects or reactions. This is the reason why herbal treatment is growing in popularity across the world for the treatment of many internal diseases, which are otherwise considered difficult to cure.

According to experts, J&K has huge potential to produce high altitude medicinal plants. There are also few schemes underway through the Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Board. There is a need to conserve medicinal plants. There is also a need to develop home herbal gardens to promote medicinal plants in common households for home herbal remedies.  The number of case studies, focusing on searching for such variables to better understand situations in which each medicinal plant has predictive power over the species’ cultural importance, need to be increased. Apart from it, there is need to protect forests from encroachments, constructions and pollution to save the  medicinal  plants.

Related Articles