There is a huge potential of medicinal plant resources in Jammu and Kashmir. However, largely they have remained untapped despite the fact that J&K is endowed with incredible diversity of medicinal plants. The rich biodiversity, without an iota of doubt, adorns J&K’s captivating landscape. It harbors a diversity of medicinal plants which were used in traditional health care systems for times immemorial. 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. Last year the Chief Secretary of J&K rightly called for formulating a detailed plan for each one of the plants.
He had also directed the Commissioner Secretary and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to spearhead the work and prepare a detailed plan for the cultivation, promotion, and marketing of these 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.
It is important to note that despite access to modern medicines, the developed world increasingly appreciates the direct use of herbs, combined with modern medical treatments, especially those herbs that have a scientific basis for the cure of minor illnesses
J&K, the experts say, 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 a need to develop home herbal gardens to promote medicinal plants in common households for home herbal remedies. There is also a need to increase the number of case studies focusing on variables to better understand situations.
The medicinal plants are in huge demand for preparation of traditional medicines like Ayurvedic and herbal drugs and as such the concerned government agencies should conserve and promote cultivation of medicinal plants.