Medicinal plants are valuable resources for our health care system since ancient period. These natural herbs are important source of drugs for alternative medicine systems like Ayurveda, homeopathy, Unani and even allopathy. They are thought to constitute 80% of total drugs used by humans.
These natural healing herbs are used in treatment of many diseases and disorders. Their specialty is advantages like better compatibility in the body, easy metabolism, low side effects and also less expensive than synthetic drugs.
Further they are not harmful to environment after disposal. They don’t require heavy manufacture, expensive analysis and storage facilities. They retain their potency for long period if stored well.
Many of them can be used as home-made preparations, during emergency or can be bought as over the counter drugs without physician prescription.
These medicinal plants come under different types of plants and not restricted to one family or type of plants..
So below chart gives an idea of the List of Medicinal Plants and uses..
List of Medicinal Plants, their uses & growth places in India
|Sl.No.||Name of plant||Source(scientific)||Uses||Place of growth|
|1.||Aconite||Aconitum ferox –plant root||Leprosy, cholera,catarrh||Presently used in homeopathy only. Himalayas|
|2.||Ashwagandha||Withania somnifera-roots & stem bases.||Rheumatism, gout, hypertension, cancer||Subtropics of India|
|3.||Belladonna||Atropa accuminata-leaves & flowers||Anti-spasmodic, anticholinergic, antidote for chloral hydrate & opium poisoning||Jammu Kashmir|
|4.||Castor oil||Ricinus communis-seed’s fixed oil||Catharatic (in constipation), hair growth promoter||AP, Gujarat and Karnataka|
|5.||Corkwood||Duboisia myoporoides-dry leaves||Parasympatholytic, antidote in physostigmine and pilocarpine poisoning.||India|
|6.||Egyptian Henbane||Hyoscyamus niger-leaves & flower tip||Relieve spasm of urinary tract & gripping effect of purgatives||India|
|7.||Indian Senna||Cassia angustifolia-dried leaflets||For purgation of bowels.||Madurai, ramanthapur-TN, cudapa-AP, Kutch of Gujarat & rajasthan|
|8.||Ipecac||Cephaelis ipecacuanha-dried roots & rhizomes||To induce vomiting (emetic)||Darjeeling of West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam|
|9.||Isapgol||Plantago ovate-||To relieve constipation (laxative)||Gujarat, Punjab, southern Rajasthan|
|10.||Opium poopy||Papaver somniferum-dry latex having Morphine , codeine etc.||To relieve severe pains, cough, & also as hypnotic||MP,UP,Rajasthan|
|11.||Papin||Carica papaya (papaya plant-unripe fruit latex.||One of anti inflammatory herbs||Maharashtra|
|12.||Peruvian bark||Cinchona ledgeriana-dried bark||Anti-malarial drug||Annamali-coimbatore, nilgiri hills-TN, Darjeeling-WB|
|13.||Pyrethrum||Chrysanthemum cineraria folium-flower heads||As an insecticide to kill insects (All Out) mosquito repellant||Jammu & Kashmir|
|14.||Rheumatism root||Dioscorea composite-dried tubers||For rheumatic arthritis||Jammu Kashmir, Goa, Karnataka, TN|
|15.||Serpentina||Rauwolfia serpentine-Dry roots||As a Anti-hypertensive agent||Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, TN, WB|
|16.||Solanum khasianum||Solanum-dried berries||For steroid production||Maharashtra, Assam, Manipur, Sikkim|
|17.||Turmeric||Curcuma longs-dry rhizomes||Anti-septic, anti-oxidant, condiment||AP, TN|
|18.||Vinca||Catharanthus roseus-entre plant||medicinal plants for cancer treatment, anticancer herbs||AP, TN, Maharashtra, Karnataka|
|19.||Yew||Taxus baccata||Dry leaves, bark & roots.||Himalaya|
|20.||Benafsha||Viola odorata||Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, in fever, as expectorant (to remove phlegm)||Chamba-himachal, Kangara-Kashmir|
|21.||Black pepper||Piper nigrum-unripe fruits||As stomachic (enhances hunger), carminative (enhances eructation)||South India|
|22.||Cardamom||Elettaria cardamomum-dry-ripe fruits||Expels gas by eructation (carminative)||Karnataka, Kerala, TN|
|23.||caraway||Carum carvi-dry-ripe fruits||Expels gas by eructation||North Himalaya, Uttaranchal, Kashmir|
|24.||Ceylon Cinnamon||Cinnamomum zeylanicum||carminative (enhances eructation)||Malabar coast of India|
|25.||Clove||Eugenia caryophyllus-dry flower bud||Dental analgesic, anti-septic, carminative||TN, Kerala|
|26.||Coriander||Coriandrum sativum-dry fruits||carminative||AP, Jammu Kashmir, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, WB|
|27.||Eucalyptus oil||Eucalyptus citriodara-leaf oil||Has essential oils uses like Expectorant (removes phlegm), counter-irritant.||Kerala, TN|
|28.||Fennel||Foeniculum vulgare-dry ripe fruit||Expels gas by eructation||Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP, WB|
|29.||Garlic||Allium sativum-bulbs||To enhance libido, expel phlegm, for eructation||India|
|30.||Jira||Ciminum cyminum-dry ripe fruit||Stimulant, carminative||WB, Assam, Gujarat, Rajasthan|
|31.||Lemon grass oil||Cymbopogin flexuousus-volatile oil from leaves & plant parts||Vitamin-A precursor||India|
|32.||Citronella oil||Cymbopogan nardus-volatile oil from leaves||Mosquito repellant||Kerala|
|33.||Sandal wood oil||Santalum album-volatile oil||Decreases frequent urination tendency.||Karnataka, TN.|
|34.||Palmarosa oil||Cymbopogan martini-volatile oil from leaves||Insect repellant||AP. Gujarat, Kashmir, MP, Maharashtra, TN, UP|
|35.||Vetiver oil||Vetiveria zizanoides-volatile oil from root||Relive prickly heat and itching||Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, TN, UP|
|36.||Mentha oil||Mentha piperita-volatile oil from flowers||Expels gas by eructation||Jammu Kashmir, UP|
|37.||Tulsi||Ocimum sanctum-fresh & dry leaves||Uses Of tulsi are Anti-bacterial, insecticide and immune modulator||India|
|38.||Turpentine oil.||Pinus roxburghii-volatile oil||Counter irritant (for pain)||India|
This big list of uses indicates the importance of plants. So we need to take efforts to prevent them from eradication in the name of development.
Conservation of medicinal plants is very important for future use. Due to heavy use, large plants and those plants which take long time for germination and growth are chopped off. Hence the conservation of medicinal plants be done by obtaining the medicinal plant material by agriculture methods of cultivation instead of relying on the plants grown naturally in forests. Further we need to take steps for conservation of medicinal plants by obtaining these medicinal plant drugs by tissue culture method where possible.