Bengal’s Medicinal Plants Face Threat

The West Bengal Forest Department came out with a unique publication that provides details on 581 species of medicinal plants found in different regions of south Bengal.

  • The plants are being conserved in situ, that is, where the plants are naturally found, at four medicinal plant conservation areas (MPCA) across south Bengal — Bonnie Camp MPCA South 24 Parganas district, Kakrajhore MPCA at Janagal Mahal in the southwestern part of the State, Garh Panchkot MPCA in the Panchet foothills in the Purulia district, and Susinia MPCA located in Bankura near Raghunathpur.
  • Out of 20,000 medicinal plants listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), India’s contribution is about 5,000 species.
  • Increasing use of medicinal plants as raw materials by different pharma companies has pushed many of these species to the brink of extinction.
  • A large number of plants compiled in the book are from the Amlachati Medicinal Plant Garden, which boasts of the largest collection of medicinal plants in the country, though it is located in a small area comprising of a few hectares of land.
  • The publication lists medicinal plants in alphabetical order as per their scientific names. For instance, it provides details of three species of asparagus, a climber: Asparagus adscendens, Asparagus officinalis and Asparagus racemosus. All three species are found across south Bengal.

Source: The Hindu

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