The Naturally Healing Herbs
There are over 500 species of medicinal plants reported so for from Arunachal Pradesh. They cannot 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 in the state of Arunachal. Some of them are much sought after by pharmaceutical companies. Quite obviously it is the rural people, particularly the unemployed woman 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. There is a 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 is not only economical but is ecologically safer too.
Where To Cultivate - There are different agro-climatic conditions available in the state of Arunachal 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, farm yards, forest lands, river banks, marshy areas, roadsides, farm yards, home gardens and the like. There could he some species suiting to these conditions. These plants in various combinations can be used to make multi tier plantation.
The cultivation of these medicinal herbs should be done via a selection process of altitude levels. Some of the most economical plants are Acorus, Andrographis, Aquilaria, Dioscorea, Oroxylum, Rauvolfia, Tinospora, Withania, etc in low altitudes. While for high altitudes it is Aconitum, Coptis, Gymnadaenia, Illicium, Panax, Picrorrhiza, Rubia, Taxus, etc.
Flora With Medicinal Properties
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.
Andrographis Paniculate - Kalmegh, Chiraita Teeta - This bitter annual herb has hepato protective properties and is an anathematic and liver tonic. It is a blood purifier too. The whole plant is used for medical purposes. It is one of the high demand spcies propagated through seeds and ideal for open or partial shade localities in low altitudes.
Aquilaria Agallocha - Agar, Sasi, Indian Eagle Wood - This tropical deciduous tree is very valuable for its transformed wood which on distillation yield Agar oil has high export value. Cultivation of this plant is done through seed raised seedlings and is suitable for both open and partial shade. Artificial induction of agar in live trees is also possible.
Dioscorea Floribunda - Kham Alu - This is a tropical climber with underground tubers and bulbils. The tubers yield Diosgeninan Alkalloid used in pharmaceuticals. Propagation is done through pieces of tubers and bulbils. Farming of this species is profitable and inter cropping is also possible.
Oroxylum indicum - 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.
Piper longum - Pipli, Piper Brachystachyum, Pmullesua, P. Peepuloides - Round Pipli - Climbers or Under shrubs. An important medicinal plants of Ayurveda. Its fruits are collected and traded, for which excellent scope of marketing exist. Ideal for under planting and for partially shaded areas. Multiplication of the plant is done through suckers, stem cuttings and seeds.
Rauvolfia Serpentina - 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.
Tinaspora 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 multi-tier plantation, this plant is high in demand and propagated through stem cuttings.
Whithania somnifera - Aswagandha - An herbaceous perennial plant reputed as Indian Ginseng and used for vitality and vigour. This plant can be cultivated in open and shady areas, which are well drained and dry.
Aconitum Ferox, Aconitum Hetero-Phyllum - Atish, Aconite - Perennial herbs of alpine and sub alpine habitats. Usually grown in open places, the roots of this plant are used for medicine.
Coptis Teeta - Mishmi Teeta - This is a temperate herb found only in Arunachal Pradesh. It can be cultivated as under planting and the propagation is done through seeds. The roots are sold for treatment of variety of diseases.
Gymnadaenia Archidis - Lissi - This is a high altitude tree valued for its fruits. The fruits are used as spice and medicine. Multiplication process is done through seeds and branch cuttings. This plant is ideal for mixed plantations.
Illicium Griffuhii - Lissi - This is a high altitude tree valued for its fruits. The fruits are used as spice and medicine. Multiplication process is done through seeds and branch cuttings. This plant is ideal for mixed plantations.
Panic Sikkimensis, Panax Spp. - Ginseng - Perennial herbs with tubers, Grows in temperate and sub temperate zones. Ideal for cultivation as under planting, the tubers of this medicine plant are highly priced and have high demand. This is a rejuvenating general tonic, whose propagation is done through seeds and tubers.
Picrorrhiza kurroa - Kutki - This is a stemless perennial herb of alpine habitats. It is in high demand for a variety of herbal medicines. This medicinal plant can be grown in open localities and grasslands. Propagation of the plant is done through seeds and suckers.
Rubia Cordifolia - Manjista - This is a perennial climber with four leaves of each node. It yields orange/red dye and is a high demand species in the medicinal plant market. Ideal for sub-tropical and temperate zones this plant is preferred in shady localities, but possible to grow in open too. The propagation of the plant is done through seeds.
Taxus Baccata - Yew - It is a temperate conifer tree, the leaves of which yield costly taxol. Ideal for cultivation in high altitudes as mixed planting and propagation of this herb is done through seeds. It is also easier to multiply through stem cuttings and has a very high demand in market.