The Himalayan region known for its towering, lofty mountain ranges, is a valuable treasure house of rich diversity of plant life spread across various types of forests which are rightly regarded as the wealth of plant genetic resources especially medicinal and aromatic plants since ancient times. Medicinal and Aromatic plants found in the Himalayan region represent species of high ecological and economic value. India has one of the oldest, richest and most diverse cultural traditions associated with the use of medicinal plants. An estimated number of 6560 species of different plants are used for human and veterinary health care system.
Uttarakhand is one of the hilly states in the Indian Himalayan Region with a unique topography and diverse climatic conditions, which help it to harbor the highest number of plant species known for medicinal and aromatic properties across the Indian Himalayan states. The State of Uttarakhand has rich wealth of medicinal and aromatic Plants (MAPs), a majority of which are globally significant. There is huge demand of MAPs by pharmaceutical and other industries. With the increased demand of medicinal plants, the dependency on forests, which contribute to more than 90% of the medicinal and aromatic plants, are used by the industry. Medicinal and aromatic plants not only being used for curing a variety of disease/ailments but are also considered a potential source for economic development.
Apart from the fact that such species are known to have a restricted habitat or distribution pattern, the quality of medicinal and aromatic properties they process varies in relation to the environmental gradients. Uttarakhand boasts of nearly 1608 species of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) and has rightly been declared as ‘Herbal State’. The State Government through the organized institutional mechanisms like State Medicinal Plants Board (SMPB) is promoting cultivation and preservation of MAPs in a big way. Herbs required for common ailments being readily available in homes, keep us healthy and reduce our expenses on healthcare while promoting in-situ conservation of medicinal plants diversity.
The SMPB has initiated several National & International Research and Development projects with the help of National Medicinal Plants Board, New Delhi and United Nations Development Programs to extend MAP sector in the state of Uttarakhand. In Uttarakhand, under UNDP-GEF project 7 MPCAs (Medicinal Plant Conservation Area) have been established to conserve the GSMP species. Cultivation practices, in-situ and ex-situ conservation, sustainable harvesting, training and awareness programs for communities, strengthening of front line forest staff, village botanist course, are some of the initiatives carried out under mandate of this programme.
We ensure that these efforts will go a long way in strengthening this sector and establishing the state of Uttarakhand as a leading state in the sector of conservation, development and sustainable utilization of medicinal and aromatic plants for livelihood and income generation.
Dr. Nirpendra Chauhan
(Chief Executive Officer)