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Forests have been source of invaluable medicinal plants since the time man realized the preventive and curative properties of plants and started using them for human health cover. Even when no synthetic medicines existed , our forefathers had been depending on herbs and medicinal plants and their derivatives to cure common ailments. Our age- old traditional Indian system of medicine (ISM ) , one of the most ancient medicine practices known to the world, derives maximum of its formulations from plants and plant extracts that exist in the forests.

  • About 80% of worlds population depends on the plant based traditional forms of mercines for meeting their primary health care needs.
  • Even 25% of the allopathic medicines are derived from plant material.
  • Indian system of medicine namely Ayurveda, Sidha and Unani has evolved over hundreds of years.
  • Folk and Tribal system of traditional medicine is equally important.
  • 90% of medicinal flora occurs in forests. However, more than 70% collection from forests involves destructive harvesting. Consequently, there is a threat to the genetic stock and biodiversity

The general forest degradation process adversely affects the resource base of medicinal and herbal plants both in terms of quantity as well as quality. Rural poor, whose dependence on these products is very heavy, are the worst sufferer. The problem is compounded by market demand driven harvesting without any concern for regeneration and conservation. In this process, essential regenerative components of a plant like bark, roots flowers and fruits are indiscriminately collected leading to degradation and depletion and even demise of a particular species, if proper remedial measure are not taken. Many important medicinal plants like Rauvalfia serpentina, Curcuma caesia, Dioscorea spp, Chlorophytum spp. etc are becoming rare and some of them are critically endangered. It is estimated that 10% of all plant species and 21% of mammal species are currently endangered in India.

PPA is addressing the issue of health cover by evolving a feasible mechanism for in-situ / ex-situ conservation, domestication, propagation and non destructive harvesting with the active help and support from local people including traditional healers and vaidyas. The socio-cultural, spiritual and medicinal arena of the rural populace, particularly the tribals will form the backbone. It is hoped that with appropriate inter sectoral linkages; this community based conservation and utilization strategy can meaningfully strengthen the human health cover in rural areas.

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