CENTRAL COUNCIL FOR RESEARCH IN UNANI MEDICINE
Survey and Cultivation of Medicinal Plants Programme
The survey and cultivation of medicinal plants programme of the Council includes following activities:
- Survey of medicinal plants in different forest areas/zones of the country
- Cultivation of important medicinal plants used in Unani system of medicine
- Farmers’ meets on Awareness, Training and Cultivation of Medicinal Plants through different centers of the CCRUM.
- Compilation of folklore data collected by Survey of Medicinal Plants Units of the Council
Survey plays a pivotal role in the drug research programme of the Unani system of medicine. Under this programme the Council has undertaken extensive surveys of medicinal plants in different parts of the Country, primarily to collect and identify medicinal species of plants and record basic data on ethnopharmacological uses of plants to provide a lead material for the discovery of new drugs of natural origin.
Broad objectives of the programme
- To survey, collect and identify medicinal plants in different forest zones of the country.
- To study distribution, availability, and threats of medicinal plants in general and those used in Unani medicine in particular.
- To record folklore claims on medicinal and other uses plants from the tribal and other rural folks of the study area with the view to provide clue/material for development of new drugs of natural origin.
- To maintain a herbarium and an exhibition of medicinal plants and raw drugs for demonstration purpose and.
- To maintain nursery/herbal garden of medicinal plants in respective research centers of the Council.
The Council has since 1978 carried out a series of ethnobotanical surveys in different remote forest zones in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh particularly in such areas as are inhabited by tribals and various ethnic groups.
The programme envisages experimental and field scale cultivation of some important species which are either rare or imported but can be cultivated in India. This programme also aims to maintain Nursery/Herb garden for cultivation and demonstration purpose. The Council has taken up field scale and experimental cultivation of various plant-drugs to provide genuine material for clinical research and Pharmacopoeial standards. These include Aatrilal (Ammi majus Linn.), Gulnar Farsi (Punica granatum Linn. - abortive variety), Kasni (Cichorium intybus Linn.), Babchi (Psoralea corylifolia Linn.), Sudab (Ruta graveolens Linn.), Abhal (Juniperus communis Linn.), Ajwain Khurasani (Hyoscyamus niger Linn.). Asgandh (Withania somnifera Dunal), Atees (Aconitum heterophyllum Royle), Bach (Acorus calamus Linn.), Gul-e-Abbas (Mirabilis jalapa Linn), Konch (Mucuna prurita Hook.), Mushkdana (Abelmoschus moschatus Medic.), Satawar (Asparagus racemosus Willd.), Sonf (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.), Gurmarbuti (Gymnema sylvestre R. Br.), Khatmi (Althaea officinalis Linn.) etc.
Classics of Unani system of medicine are replete with references to the use of medicinal plants. In fact, plants are the major source of Unani drugs. Unmindful over-exploitation of this important resource has led to extinction of several species. Availability of genuine raw drug material is very important for the efficacy of the formulation. Besides, there are also some medicinal plants/drugs whose identification is controversial. Keeping this in view, a herb garden at CRIUM, Hyderabad has been established named as “Ibn-Al-Baitar Herbal garden” to cultivate important medicinal plants, particularly those used in Unani Medicine. At the herb garden, following activities are being undertaken.
- Plantation of Unani medicinal plants of repute for demonstration purpose.
- Field scale cultivation of medicinal plants particularly those used in clinical trials and kit medicines of the Council.
As of today, the garden has maintained over 100 species of Unani medicinal plants. Some of these species are: Adhatoda vasica Nees, Aegle marmelos Corr., Aloe vera L., Buchanania lanzan Spreng., Butea momosperma (Lam.) Kuntze., Caesalpinia crista L., Cassia fistula L., Ficus glomerata L., Gymnema sylvestre R. Br., Helicteres isora Linn., Mirabilis jalapa L., Phyllanthes emblica Linn., Pterocopus santalinus Linn. f., Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb., Pongamia pinnata (Linn.) Merr., Ruta graveolens L., Santalum album Linn., Semecarpus anacardium L., Tamarindus indica Linn., Terminelia arjuna W. & A., Terminalia belerica Roxb, Tylophora indica (Burm.f.) Merr., etc.
Nursery of Medicinal Plants
In order to popularize medicinal plants, particularly those used in Unani Medicine, the CCRUM has embarked upon a vigorous programme of cultivating about 100 species in its nurseries at its centers at Aligarh, Hyderabad, Chennai and Srinagar. Some of the important species being cultivated in this programme include: Solanum nigrum Linn., Eclipta alba Hussk, Cichorium intybus Linn., Carthamus tinctorius Linn., Plumbago zeylanica Linn., Plumbago rosea Linn., Vinca rosea Linn., Saraca asoka Linn., Alluim ascalonicum Linn., Commiphora mukul (Hook ex Stocks), Punica granatum Linn., Helicteres isora Linn., Cydonia oblonga Mill., Ocimum sanctum Linn., Pandanus tectorious Soland. ex Parkinson., Acorus calams Linn., Caesalpinia crista Linn., Trachyspermum ammi Linn., Cannabis sativa Linn., Gymnema sylvestre R. Br., Lawsonia inermis Linn., Malva sylvestris Linn., Picrorhize kurroa Royle ex Benth. etc. Click here for Plants Photographs
Farmers’ Meets on Awareness, Training and Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
This activity was introduced during 2006-07 by the Council under its research programmes. The objective of this activity was to educate the farmers about medicinal plants, their usage and to provide training for cultivation to the interested farmers /growers. This programme was initially taken up by the Council in 2002, when the CCRUM was sanctioned a project by National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB). This project was carried out at its regional center at Aligarh. Later the Council extended this activity to all its Survey of Medicinal Plants Units attached to Central and Regional Research Centers.
The Council under its annual allotment of research programme its survey components at different research centers were advised to organize farmers meetings with a view to educate them about medicinal plants and their cultivation including marketing etc. Under these programme farmer’s meets were organized at Mandal/block level in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh by Central / Regional Research Centers.
Based on ethnobotanical survey tours in different forest zones of the country ethnopharmacological data have been collected from different tribal communities and rural folks during more than three decades. The data so collected by the research centers of the Council has already been compiled in seven volumes. This include information on folklore medicines for the treatment of various diseases and conditions providing botanical name, local and Unani Tibbi names, habit and habitat, source of information, medical efficacy claimed, area of collection of information, mode of application etc. for each claim discussed.
Besides, the Council has also published following monographs;
- Medicinal Plants in Folklores of Northern India
- Medicinal Plants in Folklores of Bihar and Orissa States
- Medicinal Plants in Folklores of Southern India
- Medicinal Plants in Folklores of Kashmir Himalayas
- Medicinal Plants in Folklores of Northern India –part II
- Medicinal Plants in Folklores of Orissa- part II
- Medicinal Plants in Folklores of Southern India - part II
- A contribution to the medicinal plants of Aligarh.
- Medicinal plants of Gwalior forest division, Madhya Pradesh.
- Contribution to the Unani Medicinal Plants from North – Arcot district, Tamil Nadu.
- Potential anti malarial herbal drugs from South Eastern India (Bihar and Orissa states).
- Medicinal plants of Andhra Pradesh Part-I.
- Unani Medicinal Plants of Siddharthnagar forest division, Uttar Pradesh.
- Unani Medicinal Plants of Tarai Forests in Kumaon Region of Uttarakhand.
- Unani Medicinal Plants of Andhra Pradesh Part – I.
- Unani Medicinal Plants of Dindigul District, Tamil Nadu