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close this bookMedicinal plants: Rescuing a global heritage (WB, 1997, 80 p.)
close this folder3. India
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentProduction and trade
View the documentNotable Indian medicinal plants
View the documentGovernment initiatives
View the documentLinks to modern medicine
View the documentLinks to agriculture
View the documentLinks to forestry
View the documentLinks to veterinary medicine
View the documentProtecting medicinal-plant biodiversity

(introductory text...)

Medicinal plants in India have been collected from the wild and cultivated for millennia. The Rig veda, written in India between 4800 and 1600 BC is the earliest record (in India) of the use of tree, shrub, herb, and grass combinations for curing ailments. Since then, thousands of books and papers have been written extolling the therapeutic value of Indian medicinal plants. In the Indian commercial market, it is generally accepted that nearly 95 percent of the medicinal plants in use are obtained from the wild. For the rural poor that figure is probably 100 percent.

The Indian Subcontinent contains about 25,000 species of vascular plants, of which at least half are endemic to the region. The 7000 medicinal plants used by the various traditional medical systems account for 28 percent of the region's flora--a very high percentage.