Himalaya harbours about 500 species of medicinal plants and these are used for curing illness from time immemorial. Anthology reveals that the life saving drug "Sanjivani" was taken from the Himalayan by 'Hanuman' on the direction of a celestial physician "Dhanvantari' and saved the life of a prince as narrated in the epic Ramayana which dates about 3000 years back.
The ethno-cultural diversity in the Himalaya is quite pronounced and folk medicinal practices of each group are expected to have been evolved in a parallel using the native medicinal plant species. Some of these folk medicinal practices have been institutionalized, viz., Chagpori Tibetan Medicinal practice, while a majority of them have remained as such.
The heral medicinal resources have been extracted for modern medicinal uses in the recent years at a large scale from all over the Himalaya which has caused alarming situation on the existence of most of the precious ones. This demanded an immediate attention towards documentation of the status, usage and potentials of these medicinal plants. Sikkim Himalaya is very rich in the diversity of these plants and are relatively less affected, hence the Institute initiated the present effort from this part of the Himalaya.
This work is based on preliminary studies and covers a wide spectrum from history, extractions, environmental implications, marketing channels, institutional efforts, folk practices and to the possible future programmes of the medicinal plants from the Sikkim Himalaya. I am sure that this document will be useful to all sections of both public and private sectors associated.
- Background: Sikkim Himalaya: a historical sketch-the land-the people
- The different groups and elements: components of medicinal plant groups-Aconitum ferox to Zanthoxylum alatum
- Government/voluntary bodies: directorate of Cinchona and other medicinal plants-SASAC-programmes of forest and agriculture departments-Chagpori Tibetan Medical Institute
- Some local practices: Nepali system of herbal-Lepcha system-Tibetan herbal system
- Origin, channel and markets: collection areas-system personnels-transportation
- Environmental implications: availability record-extraction procedure
- Future programmes: research-domestication