The use of biological resources as medicine has been practiced in India since time immemorial, i.e., pre-Vedic period. This has led to a rich heritage of medical wisdom and accumulation of vast knowledge about properties of the plants, which can be used for human wellness and health care. This knowledge was further enriched with adoption and integration of exotic knowledge introduced from other cultures at different times of the history. In addition, there are plants closely associated with the traditional medicinal use by various indigenous tribes and communities. The systematic documentation of this knowledge with reasoned based application and practice led to the establishment of well recognized traditional medicinal systems, and many plants under various recognized indigenous systems of medicine, such as Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH) (www.indianmedicine.nic.in), and use of many more plants by tribes/communities/families based on experience of generations with casual description and/or no description. These documented and non-documented information’s present a repository of information on nutritional, medicinal and other economic properties/value of many plants growing in India and used under traditional medicinal systems.
Considering that these are still being used, including along with modern systems of medicine, a formal inclusion of traditional herbal medicine in clinical practice will help to achieve the target of ‘health for all’. Recognizing this, the Government of India is attempting to integrate these plants and systems in education, practice, drug manufacture, through various acts, rules, and regulations for quality control and sale. However, efforts to overcome barriers like irrational use, quality control and standardization issues, high pharmacovigilance, etc., are still lagging. Therefore, adequate knowledge about the system, proper information about the drugs and high-quality clinical trials, to ascertain their scientific effectiveness are needed for promotion of traditional medicine among common people. Mainstreaming of Indian System of Medicines along with allopathic drugs and healthy lifestyle will be helpful to provide healthcare service in the best possible way to all people not only in India but around the globe.
Identification and use of authenticated plant material is key to the success in furthering the use, development, and commercial exploitation of traditional formulations. Efforts till date in this regard have not created desired result/impact. Therefore, in the present book an attempt has been made to provide a consolidated filtered inventory of medicinal plant species as per their level of use, importance in trade, opportunities among undocumented, unexplored/underexplored, and new plants and threat to existence of many because of various reasons, particularly over-exploitation to facilitate conservation and sustained future use. Contents of book provides basic information on botanical identities, Sanskrit and other common names, natural geographical distribution, ethnomedicinal properties, and associated systems. This can become the foundation for further systematic scientific research on these plants, for elaborate description, characterization of essential features, evaluation, and validation of phytochemical properties to promote greater use. This shall help in bridging the gap in information about the commonly used plant species enabling generation of information as per the present requirement of patenting [Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)] and rational use following the international standards; scientifically examine the marginally used sister plant species and/or species being used without a science base and the new potential species in search for new or alternative product or drugs formulation to overcome various wellness and health concerns and diseases. The book may become reference handbook of medicinal and aromatic plants used in Indian Traditional Medicinal Systems for teachers, researchers, students, and entrepreneurs, listing the strength and gaps for further research and development, particularly in the areas of validation of properties, identification and greater insight about principal component(s) through biochemical profiling/evaluation and the molecular characterization, to facilitate greater development of plant-based natural products to be used as nutraceuticals, therapeutics, cosmetics etc.
It is hoped that besides teachers and students the book may also help policy makers involved in the integration of Indian Traditional Medicinal Systems and indigenous traditional knowledge associated with medicinal and aromatic plants, in the medical science curriculum, research, developing new drug formulation and their clinical trials for full integration. Thereby evolving an affordable fully integrated medical systems to serve the larger human national and global populations of rural poor.
1. Introduction, 2. Inventory of Commonly used Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) in ITMS, 3. Inventory of Sister and Potential Wild Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) Species,4. Inventory of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Species of Trade Value, 5 Inventory of Additional Plant Species Worth Scientific Scrutiny for Medicinal and Aromatic Properties and Potential Use ,6. Inventory of Important Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Species under threat, 7. Inventory of Important Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Species habitat to different Biogeographic/Ecological Regions of India, 8 Future Perspective., Appendix 1. Abbreviations, 2. Glossary of words