Medicinal Plants There are over 500 species of medicinal plants reported so far from Arunachal Pradesh. They can not only cure our ailments but can also be potential source of economy to the state. It will open up avenues in cultivation, processing, packaging, marketing and industrial application. The medicinal plants are found through out the state. Some of them are much sought after by pharmaceutical companies. Quite obviousely it is the rural people, particularly the unemployed women and children, who would be benefited by these ventures. The demand for medicinal plants is ever increasing as people are more and more fascinated towards herbals. Extraction from wild has its own problems and risks. We need to cultivate for larger production and authenticity. Cultivation will help in conservation of some of our medicinal herbs that are being pushed to the danger of extinction. Cultivation of medicinal plants are not only economical but is ecologically safer too.
Where to cultivate We have different agroclimatic conditions available in the state depending up on the altitude. Practically any type of land available can be used to cultivate one or the other medicinal plant. Thus they are useful for jhum fallows, wastelands, forest lands, river banks, marshy areas, roadsides, farm yards, home gardens and the like. There could be some species suiting to these conditions. These plants in various combinations can be used to make multitier plantation.
Your Choice After identifying the land next step is the choice of species. Depending on the altitude of the place it may either be species of low altitude or high altitude. In general it should be economically profitable. For optimum productivity it may be a farm of single species or preferably combinations of trees, shrubs, herbs and climbers. Fortunately we have a number of species to choose. These species combination for low and high altitude are given in table. Some of the most economical plants are Acorus, Andrographis, Aqularia, Dioscorea, Oroxylum, Rauvolfia, Tinospora, Withania, etc in low altitudes, while for high altitudes it is Aconitum, Coptis, Gymnadaenia, Illicium, Panax, Picrorrhiza, Rubia, Taxus, etc. These are described below.
1. Acorus calamus(Boch, Vacha, Vayambu) This perennial herb of marshy habitats is easy to cultivate through rhizome cuttings in tropical and sub-tropical zones. The tubers are traded as it is reputed as brain tonic, coolant and drug for colic. It has high demand in the market. Commercial production from 3rd year.
2. Andrographis paniculate(Kalmegh, Chiraita teeta) This bitter annual herb hepato protective properties and is an anthelmentic and liver tonic. It is a blood purifier too. The whole plant is used. It is one of the high demand species propagated through seeds and ideal for open or partial shade localities in low altitudes. Crop ready in 4-6 months.
3. Aquilatia agallocha(Agar, Sasi, Indian eagle wood) This tropical deciduous tree is very valuable for its transformed wood which on distillation yield Agar oil which has high export value. Cultivation is through seed raised seedlings. Suitable for both open and partial shade. Artificial induction of agar in live trees is possible. Takes 8-20 years for agar development.
4. Dioscorea floribunda(Kham alu ) This is a torpical climber with underground tubers and bulbils. The tubers yield diosgeninan alkaloid used in pharmaceuticals. Propagation is through pieces of tubers and bulbils. Farming of this species is profitable. Inter cropping is also possible. Production from first year.
5. Oroxylym indicyum(Bhatghilla, Jigat) This deciduous tree is naturally seen in the secondary forests in the tropics. It is in high demand now a days for its bark used for tanning and as medicine for fever and many other ailments and as tonic. Propagation is through seeds. Bark, ready, by 10 years, can be harvested sustainably through scientific methods.
6. Piper longum (Pipli), Piper brachystachyum, Pmullesua, P. peepuloides (Round Pipli) Climbers or Undershrubs. An important medicinal plants of Ayurveds. Fruits are collected and traded, for which excellent scope of marketing exist. Ideal for under planting and for partially shaded areas. Multiplication through suckers, stem cuttings and seeds. Harvest expected from2nd to 4th year.
7. Rauvolfia serpentinea (Sarpagandha) This perennial under shrub can be cultivated in the low altitudes in open as well as shady areas. The roots are reputed for the treatment of blood pressure. Roots ready to harvest from second years, onwards. Propagation through seeds and stem cuttings.
8. Tinospora cordifolia (Amrit lata, Guduchi) this is a tropical climber which is used as a tonic and vitaliser. The stem is used for drug manufacture and traded. Ideal for multitier plantation. It has high demand. Propagated through stem cuttings
9. Whithania somnifera (Aswagandha) A herbaceous perennial plant, reputed as Indian Ginseng and used for vitality and vigour. Can be cultivated in open and shady areas which are well drained and dry. The roots have great marketing potential. Propagation through seeds.
10. Aconitum ferox, Aconitum hetero-phyllum (Atish, Acounite) Perennial herbs of alpine and sub alpine habitats. Usually in open places. Roots used for medicine. Very good market prospects for the roots and tubers. Multiplication through seeds and tubers.
11. Coptis teeta(Mishmi teeta) This is a temperate herb found only in Arunachal Pradesh. It can be cultivated as under planting. Propagation is through seeds. The roots are sold for treatment of variety of diseases.
12. Gymnadaenia orchidis(Panch hath, Salam pancha) This annual herbaceous orchid produce high value medicinal tubers which are general tonic. Ideal in open places in alpine localities. Propagation through tubers.
13. Illicium griffithii(Lissi) This is a high altitude tree valued for its fruits. The fruits are used as spice and medicine. Multiplication is through seeds and branch cuttings. Ideal for mixed plantations. Has good market potential. (Front cover photo)
14. Panax sikkimensis, Panax spp.(Ginseng) Perennial herbs with tubers. Grows in temperate and sub temperate zones. Ideal for cultivation as under planting. The tubers are highly priced and has high demand. This is a rejuvenating general tonic. Propagation through seeds and tubers Harvest by 4-8 years
15. Picrorrhiza kurroa(Kutki) This is a stemless perennial herb of alpine habitats. It is an high demand for a variety of herbal medicines. Can be grown in open localities and grasslands. Propagation is through seeds and suckers. Much rare in nature. Rhizome ready by 4th year.
16. Rubia cordifolia(Manjista) This is a perennial climber with four leaves at each mode. It yields orange/red dye. It is a high demand species in the medicinal plant market. Ideal for sub-tropical and temperate zones. Prefers shady localities but possible to grow in open too. Propagation through seeds. Crop ready for harvest by 3rd ye4ar.
17. Taxus baccata(Yew) is a temperate conifer tree. The leaves yields costly taxol. Ideal for cultivation in high altitudes as mixed planting and propagation is through seeds. Easier to multiply through stem cuttings. Has very high demand in market.
How to cultivate
Medicinal plants can be cultivated through: a) Direct seed sowing b) Nursry raised seedlings c) Stem cuttings d) Root suckers e) Tubers and bulbils using appropriate techniques
While Planting we should ensure to: a) Use authentic planting materials b) Keep adequate spacing c) Provide shade as per requirement d) Avoid over watering e) Avoid excessive pesticides f) Use minimum fertilizers
Cultivation of medicinal plants ensure: a) Aboundance and availability b) Authenticity of raw material c) Easy management and harvest d) Economic sustainability and annual returns e) Better land use and better health of people.
Trade inquiries and further information There is an urgent need of adequate market infrastructure in north east India. However some addresses for correspondence are provided below:
1.NERAMAC North east Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation, R.G. Baruah Road, Guwahati 781005 ASSAM.
2.Kottakal Aryan Vaidya Sala, Kottakal, Malappuram, Kerala – 676 503
3.Nagarjuna Pharmaceuticals, Kottauam, Kerala.
4.Dabut India Ltd. 8/3 Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi, 110002
5.Natural Drug and Alkalloids Co. Pvt. Ltd. 1677, Kucha
6.Jatmart, II Floor, Dariba kalkar, P.B. NO. 9416, Delhi – 51.
7.Sitaram Ayurvenda Pharmacy Ltd. Round South, Trissur, Kerala – 680001.
8.Sanjeevani Herbals, No. 1, 6th cross, Maravaneria, Selam-636007, Tamil Nadu.
9.The Himalayan Drug Co. Makali, Bangalore – 562123.
10.Kodis Herb Co. 32, Raji Medicals Buildings, 1128, E.V.N.Road , (Opp. GH), Erode – 638009, Tamil Nadu.
11.Viswanathan India Medicals, Amanjikarai, Channai – 600049,Tamil Nadu.
12.Eastern and Compahy, 3, southern Avenue, Calcutta – 700026.
13.Global Export Pvt. Ltd., 55, Stephen House, $B B-D Bagh East, Kolkata – 700013
14.Organon (P) Limited, Himalaya House, 38, Chowringhee Road, Kolkata – 700016.
For further information:
Write to: The Director, State forest Research Institute, Van Vihar, PB No. 159, Itanagar – 791111, Arunachal Pradesh. Tel. 0360 – 203523, 0360 – 203566, Fax. 0360 – 203523. E.mail directorsfri @ hotmail.com
List of selected medicinal plants for multi-tier plantation
Low altitude (Tropical and Subtropical areas) Below 1000mtr:
Trees: Aquilaria agallocha, Emblica officinalis, Gmelina arborea, Oroxylum indicum, Terminalia arjuna, Teminalia bellirica, Teminalia chebula, Bixa orellana.
Herbs: Acorus calamus, Andrographics paniculata, Catheranthus roseus, Costus specious, Cymbopogon citraus, Piper mullesua, Piper peepuloides, Rauvolfia serpentine, Withania somnifera.
Climbers: Dioscorea floribunda, Gloriosa superba, Piper longum, Piper nigrum, Tinospora cordifolia.
High altitude (Temperate and Alpine areas), Above 1000 m. Altitude:
Trees:Taxus baccata, Illicium griffithii.
Herbs: Aconitum ferox, Aconitum heterophyllum, Coptis teeta, Gymnadaenia orchidis, Panax sikkimenis, Panax pseudoginseng, Panax bipinnatifida, Picrorrhiza kurroa, Prodophyllum hexandrum, Valeriana jatamansi.
Climbers: Rubia cordifolia.
of Forests & Environment, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
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