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Cover page of the Journal of Health Sciences
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-19

Medicinal plants and related developments in India: A peep into 5-year plans of India

Independent Public Health Researcher, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Janmejaya Samal
C/O, Mr. Bijaya Ketan Samal, Pansapalli, Bangarada, Gangapur, Ganjam - 761 123, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2349-5006.183698

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Medicinal herbs/plants or the herbal drugs refer to the use of plant and plant-based products for the management of common ailments. World Health Organization has defined herbal medicines as finished labeled medicinal product that contains an active ingredient, aerial, or underground parts of the plant or other plant material or combinations. In India, more than 70% of the population uses herbal medicine for their health-related problems. Many of the institutions adopt “reverse pharmacology” approach to study the clinical efficacy of medicinal plants and their pragmatic utility in healthcare. Moreover, the herbal therapeutics constitutes a major share of all the officially recognized Indian systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH). However, there is evidence of spurious drugs, irrational use, and adverse drug reactions of herbal drugs which should certainly be monitored with governmental patronization. Furthermore to be accepted as a viable alternative to modern medicine vigorous method of scientific and clinical validation must be applied to prove the safety and effectiveness of these herbal products. However, the clinical trial of herbal drugs is difficult owing to some of the obvious reasons. Around 20,000 medicinal plants have been identified for their medicinal properties; however, only 7000–7500 medicinal plants are being used by traditional practitioners. Similarly, the export of AYUSH-related items has increased from 2011 to –2012 and 2012 to –2013 and decreased in 2013–2014; however, import has been consistently increased during these years. Given this background, a brief review was carried out to assess the medicinal herbs and their development in India primarily through 5-year plan documents of India.

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