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| Last Updated:: 07/09/2017

Maharashtra to grow rare Ayurveda herbs












Gulbel, narkya and rudanti may sound like abstract names, but those with knowledge of Ayurveda know that these rare, endangered and threatened (RET) plants have great medicinal value. 




The Maharashtra forest department is planning to rope in traditional healers or "vaidus" to document, cultivate and preserve these plants. These healers use wild herbs for treating various ailments ranging from liver disease to jaundice and cancer. 




The department also plans to cultivate such endangered plants for commercial use to reduce the pressure on forests. Officials admit that at present, these plants are often plucked and traded illegally, leading to them gradually vanishing from their wild habitat. 




"There is ample availability of Ayurvedic medicines across states and climatic zones. The biodiversity across India is huge," noted Arvind Patil, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Kolhapur (Territorial), noting that these herbs were found in the Western Ghats and Kolhapur regions. 




"We have identified traditional healers to standardize the knowledge of these herbs and put it down in a written form. These rare plants can be planted and cultivated instead of plucking wild species," he said. "Traditional healers have knowledge of herbs but do not maintain this in a written form. It is instead passed down through word-of-mouth," added Patil, stating that hence, there was a risk of this being lost.