Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik has informed that the National Medicinal Plants Board supports setting up of Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas(MPCAs), augmentation and plantation activity for conservation of medicinal plants in-situ and ex-situ under “Central Sector Scheme on Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants” and under National Ayush Mission (NAM) for cultivation of medicinal plants by farmers with backward and forward linkages. In addition, the Government of India has established a National Institute “The North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine (NEIFM) at Pasighat, East Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh under Ministry of AYUSH with a view to revitalize, promote and harness these local health traditions for the wellbeing of wider public especially living in North Eastern Region. The activities of the Institute will further help in protecting the knowledge and resources of folk medicines in the North Eastern Region.
With the mandate to conduct various research activities on traditional medicines, the activities undertaken in the matter by four autonomous Research Councils under Ministry of AYUSH, namely, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Central Council for Research in Unani Medicines (CCRUM), Central Council for Research in Siddha (CCRS) and Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy are as under:
CCRAS: The Tribal Health Care Research Programme is a continuous programme since 1982 with activities including collection of folk medicines/ traditional practices.
CCRH: The Council has carried out recording of folklore and ethno-medicinal practices from the tribals of Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu.
CCRS: The ethno medicinal knowledge of folklore practitioners are documented through survey tours.
CCRUM: Folk medicinal uses of plants from the tribal and rural folks have been recorded.
In addition to these, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) under its scheme has also supported some R&D projects on ethno-botanical records in Assam, Karnataka, Mizoram, Manipur, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh on medicinal usage of local flora by tribal people.
The details are as under:
(i) CCRAS has conducted five Intra Mural Research(IMR) projects on ethnic medicinal practices.
(ii) 23 medicines are used in Homoeopathy.
(iii) 750 folklore claims documented and one IMR project initiated by CCRS.
The NMPB through Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT), Bangalore has developed a database on Indian medicinal plants which contain information about the habitat and therapeutic uses of more than 7,000 medicinal plants species.
Some of the R&D projects supported by NMPB has worked upon various medicinal and nutraceutical potential of Cassia tora, Cissus javanica and Discorea floribunda which are equally prevalent amongst the tribal populations of States like Kerala, Manipur and some North-East region, as a medicine or food supplement.
To prevent misappropriation of the country’s traditional medicinal knowledge, the Ministry of AYUSH in collaboration with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) has established a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) which entails transcription of Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha codified texts into English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish. The database is shared with patent offices of other countries and forms part of their pre-grant searches.
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