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Nature’s treat

It's a walk that leaves you both refreshed and informed. At the medicinal plants garden at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research...

Written by Parul | Published: February 16, 2009 3:33 am

The medicinal plants’ garden at NIPER offers a wealth of well-being

It’s a walk that leaves you both refreshed and informed. At the medicinal plants garden at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER),Dr AS Sandhu takes you through the amazing world of herbal plants and their powers to heal.

The Natural Products Field laboratory (NPFL) at NIPER,was recently inaugurated with the idea of initiating efforts to come up with new drugs in the field of natural products and traditional medicine. “India has 15,000 herbal plants species,and we hope to play a major role in the field of devising certification procedures and components for products of the future derived out of herbals,’’ informs Dr Sandhu ,as he explains the need to standardize existing herbal drugs and how natural drugs act as leads for further research and development of medicines.

While we all know how methi and karela are being used for the treatment of diabetes in ayurveda,the need of the hour is to have a scientific basis for every treatment and produce herbal medicines sans any metals,toxicity et al. “The herbs grown here will be converted into organic solvent free extracts to conduct further R&D,the most important is finding the active ingredient in a plant and not losing its value,’’ Dr Sandhu talks about the 250 species in the garden and their use in cure of diseases. The bark of the bottle brush is employed for various treatments in ayurveda,the basic concept of which is individual treatment. Jamun is an anti-diabetic,while the shrubby basil is used in powder,paste and liquid form as a restorative. Ashwagandha is anti-stressor and Dr Sandhu shows you brahmi,which he explains is a memory enhancer.

“Vincarosea here is used in anti-cancer modern medicines,while the cassia occidentalis has use in treatment of skin problems,while lemon grass has tremendous potential in the soap industry,’’ there are unique plants like the malabar nut (for cough), king of bitters,rauvolfia (mental problems),peppermint…”Village ecosystems have changed and there are no places which are empty,so in the future,there will be a problem of sourcing plants and we need to conserve good plants,’’ Dr Sandhu voices his concern.

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