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Coimbatore's BU Unveils Website Showcasing its Herbal Garden, Home to Over 230 Rare and Endangered Plant Species

Bharathiar University has launched a website for its 4.5-acre Herbal Garden, focused on rare medicinal plants, as part of a broader initiative to integrate traditional knowledge into academic curricula and contribute to India's growing herbal market.

Shivangi Rai
A. Karthik, Principal Secretary of the Department of Higher Education and Convenor of the Vice-Chancellor Committee inaugurated the website and planted a sapling during the launch event. (Photo: BU's Herbal Garden Website Portal)
A. Karthik, Principal Secretary of the Department of Higher Education and Convenor of the Vice-Chancellor Committee inaugurated the website and planted a sapling during the launch event. (Photo: BU's Herbal Garden Website Portal)

Bharathiar University recently unveiled a website dedicated to its Herbal Garden, spread across a 4.5-acre area on campus, showcasing around 230 rare, endemic, and endangered plant species.

This move signifies a renewed commitment to expanding this peaceful enclave.

A. Karthik, Principal Secretary of the Department of Higher Education and Convenor of the Vice-Chancellor Committee inaugurated the website and planted a sapling during the launch event.

He urged the Botany Department, which oversees the garden, to make the website distinctive by incorporating comprehensive information about medicinal plants.

Unlike typical botanical gardens, this unique space, situated at the base of the Maruthamalai Hills, a biodiversity-rich region of the Western Ghats, doesn't feature arboretums, glass houses, or other traditional structures. Instead, medicinal plants are cultivated in ground-raised beds.

Funded by RUSA 2.0, the University Herbal Garden was established last year, with the Bharathiar Cancer Theranostics and Research Center (BCTRC) serving as a foundation for this venture. Committee members F.X. Lovelina Little Flower, Ajeet Kumar Lal Mohan, C.A. Vasuki, and registrar in-charge K. Murugavel also participated in the launch.

The coordinator of the garden, K. Vasanth, an Associate Professor in the Department of Botany, explained that the primary goal is to promote the practical applications of commonly used medicinal herbs while preserving traditional knowledge for future generations.

The garden is designed with distinct compartments for various plant varieties, including herbs, shrubs, trees, orchids, and primitive plants. This diverse setting serves as a platform for integrating ethnic knowledge into academic curricula. Under the guidance of department head T. Parimelazhagan, a team is actively working to merge traditional medicinal practices with scientifically validated systems of medicine.

To further expand the garden, a funding proposal has been submitted to the National Medicinal Plants Board under the Ministry of Ayush, Government of India.

As a part of future initiatives, endangered plant tissues will be cultured and provided to farmers for commercial cultivation. Prof. Vasanth highlighted India's substantial exports in Ayush and herbal products, totaling $1,240 million from 2021 to 2023.

Looking ahead, the India Herbal Extracts Market is projected to reach $2.6 billion by 2027, boasting an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate of 11.7%, according to forecasts.

Bharathiar University's Herbal Garden, with its newly launched website, stands as a unique initiative aimed at promoting the value of medicinal plants, preserving traditional knowledge, and fostering academic integration of this valuable information. The garden's expansion plans, coupled with the potential for commercial cultivation and contribution to the booming herbal market, mark it as a significant and forward-thinking endeavour.

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