Prospects of Medicinal Plant Cultivation in India

(India has been known to be rich repository of medicinal plants.)

India has been known to be rich repository of medicinal plants. World health organization recorded that almost 80% of people worldwide rely on medicinal plants for some reasons. More than 30% of entire plant species, is used for medicinal purposes.

India has been known to be rich repository of medicinal plants. World health organization recorded that almost 80% of people worldwide rely on medicinal plants for some reasons. More than 30% of entire plant species, is used for medicinal purposes. The ministry of environment and forest of India has recognized importance of more than 9500 medicinal species. In these almost 2000 or 2300 are used for traditional medicines. Plants such as Neem, Tulsi, Aloe, Turmeric and Ginger cure several common ailments. Along with the Unani, Siddha and Tibetan systems, these remain important source of everyday health and livelihood for tens of millions of people. For example, in India the juice of the boiled branches is used as a contraceptive, and the root and the bark acts as a antispasmodic during childbirth. The leaf extract is considered a cure for venereal diseases, and there are several other benefits of medicinal plants. Andhra Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh produce majority of medicinal and aromatic plants. In India, medicinal plants are grown on an average area of 633.9 ha with total production of 1022.5 tons. Today's healthcare systems rely largely on plant material. Poor and marginalized, who cannot afford or access formal health care systems, are especially dependent on these culturally familiar, technically simple, financially affordable and effective traditional medicines. Total number of native species of flora in India is 17000, number of medicinal species are 7500 and the total percentage of medicinal plants is 44%. Low cost of production and increase in expenditure on research and development has led to competitive pharma exports reaching US $17.27 billion in the year 2018. Government of India’s ‘pharma vision 2020’ aims to make India global leader in end-to-end drug manufacturing. Medicine spending in India is projected to grow 9-12 per cent over the next five years, leading India to become one of the top 10 countries in terms of medicine spending. Medicinal plants used for ayurvedic medicines and other products – sold by companies like as Dabur, Himalaya, or Patanjali – are the main ingredients of farm earnings boom. Take for example that a farmer growing ateesh herb, largely used in ayurvedic medicine, in the higher reaches of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh may easily get Rs2.5-3 lakh per acre. A lavender farmer may get Rs1.2-1.5 lakh returns per acre. Similarly farmers farming in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district, easily earns - for ateesh, Rs 2.5-3 lakh per acre, rattan jot, Rs 1.15 lakh per acre, and karu, Rs 1.5-2 lakh per acre, because the climatic condition of these areas are quite good for the cultivation of above mentioned herbs. The huge profit that can be earned is due to the high end demand of pharmaceutical companies of India. Thus, cultivation of medicinal plants can be proved profitable for the farmers.

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