JUNE 2001- Contents
Travel & Adventure
the-south-asian.com June 2001
Page 1 of 2
EXTINCTION THREAT STALKS MEDICINAL PLANTS
The World Wildlife fund has placed 33 rare Indian herbs on the critically endangered list and 17 on the endangered list. There are 16 in the vulnerable category and seven that are near-threatened…..
What’s common between Elephant Foot, Red Sanders and Ladies Slipper Orchids? These are all herbs that have been part of the Indian ecosystem since 1000 B.C. They have been used in traditional forms of Indian medicine and have provided solutions to even those health problems that have defied modern science.
The bad news is that these Indian herbs are now going extinct. Not just these, but over 7,500 species of herbal plants that have been used by Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Tibetan systems of health care face an uncertain future due to over exploitation.
In a recent threat assessment exercise undertaken by TRAFFIC India (Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce) set up by the World Wildlife Fund and the World Conservation Union) 33 plants have been placed on the critically endangered list and 17 on the endangered list. There are 16 in the vulnerable category and seven that are near-threatened.
Deforestation and rapid urbanization have eroded the natural agro climatic spaces in which these herbs grow. Overuse, unsustainable cultivation practices, illegal export and trade are scrooges that have further increased the vulnerability of these plants.
According to the report, other factors affecting the depletion of these herbs are the complete lack of monitoring and regulatory instruments and scant information about the importance of these medicinal plants. All these factors put together have made the ecosystem so vulnerable that they may well destroy India’s 5000-year-old natural health legacy.
The great sage Vedavyasa's science of life or the Ayurveda, details the curative virtues of over one hundred herbal drugs that can treat a myriad of diseases depending on an individual’s prakruti or biological mode.
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