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India's Most Important Medicinal Plants on Verge of Extinction: Experts

According to scientists, around 10 percent of the 900 important medicinal plant species present in India are in danger of going extinct.

Sonali Behera
Several factors, including overexploitation, a significant reliance of the medicine business on the animal population, habitat degradation, and urbanization is making medicinal plants in danger.
Several factors, including overexploitation, a significant reliance of the medicine business on the animal population, habitat degradation, and urbanization is making medicinal plants in danger.

Speaking at the 9th World Ayurveda Congress (WAC), scientists told media that only 15% of India's native medicinal herbs are grown and cultivated while the rest are simply outsourced from forests.

This predicament was brought on by a number of factors, including overexploitation, a significant reliance of the medicine business on the animal population, habitat degradation, and urbanization.

On Sunday, the four-day WAC (World Ayurveda Congress) came to an end. As per the media reports, J A C S Rao, CEO of the State Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Board, Chhattisgarh said about 10 percent of the 900 important medicinal plants in India are classified as "threatened." According to him, the pace of extinction on Earth is 100 times greater than that of natural selection, with one potential therapeutic plant becoming extinct every two years.

Further, Rao added some of the causes of this problem include overexploitation, the medicine industry's heavy reliance on the animal population, habitat damage, and urbanization. He said, "We must implement conservation tactics including field surveys, appropriate documentation, mitigating measures, adoption of specific legislation like the Endangered Species Act, 1973, and recovery programs.”

As per Dr. Pradip Vithal Sarmokadam, Member Secretary, State Biodiversity Board, Goa, India contains over 45,000 plant species, 7,333 of which are aromatic medicinal herbs.

However, he highlighted that only 15 percent of medicinal plants are grown, with the remaining 85 percent being gathered by the business from forest ecosystems and other natural environments.

A formal linking of supply chains from the increased resources from the wild is a significant problem, according to former National Medicinal Plants Board CEO and Joint Secretary of the Union AYUSH Ministry Jitendra Sharma.

He claimed that the Indian Forest Act of 1927 has to be amended since it doesn't have a clause allowing the transportation of forest products from one region of the nation to another.

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