Medicinal plants can be a big business in Kashmir
Mother of Herbs, J&K can be Superpower Medicine and Perfumes
Jammu: More than 5000 aromatic/medicinal plants have been discovered in Jammu Kashmir till date. Scientific observations reveal that the state could become the super power in the future for Herbal Medicine and perfumes if the huge resources are exploited properly and effectively. Scientists have so for prioritized over seven hundred medicinal plants yielding high quality chemicals and other ingredients used in life saving medicaments and aromatherapy and in cosmetics.
People in the west have craze to spray their bedding with flavors before going to sleep. Aromatherapy is gaining laurels the world over with Kashmir Lavender being the crown in the world of aroma. How many people know world’s best aroma is produced in Gulmarg?
Rose of Tangmarg (Rosa Domascena) is the best rose of the world. This rose is resistant to all diseases and as such is the craze for aromatic industries. (Source: Dr. Bashir Ahmad, Gazetteer of India, State Gazetteer Unit, State Editor)
A plant commonly called as Soungul/Pooes-Tul (Taxus Baccata) collected by Dr Bashir is believed to yield some alkaloids that are used as anti-cancer drugs in the world of ailments. The plant needs to be studied seriously.
Vanwangan (Podophyllum Emodi) is found growing all over Kashmir from 6000-10000, especially in Fir forests of Gulmarg and Gurez valley. The root of the plant yields Podophyllum resin, which is very popular in modern medicine. It is a powerful purgative and its action somewhat corresponds to that of mercury, hence it is named Vegetable Calomel.
Dr Chopra of the Calcutta School of tropical Medicine comments on the Kashmir plant. “The resin obtained from the specimen sent from Kashmir generally looks somewhat different from that of the imported drug, but physiologically it is quite as effective. The percentage of resin obtainable from Kashmir rhizome is 10 to 12 percent as compared to the foreign varieties, which contain only 3 to 4 percent. The rhizome analyzed is of excellent quality and the possibilities of manufacture of the resin on commercial scale would be considering.” Dr Chopra made these observations in 1928. SN Kaul in his book Forest Products of Jammu Kashmir writes, “The drug was in great demand some time ago and large quantities were put into the market which resulted in considerable reduction in price. Kashmir has been exporting large quantities of the drug to England. The drug is so plentiful in Kashmir that the total demand of the market can be met from Kashmir alone.”
Another important plant is Kuth (Saussurea Lappa). The Sanskrit name of Kuth is Kashmirja, which means “produced in Kashmir”. Even today its growth is limited to Kashmir.
Kuth is used as an aromatic, stimulant, as a medicine for cough, asthma, fever, dyspepsia and skin diseases. It is also used in stimulating mixtures for Cholera and prescribed as a stomachic, tonic, for ulcers and in rheumatism. It is also used as a depurative and aphrodisiac.
According to Kaul, Kuth is a plant of great economic value. Stewart in his book on Punjab plants published in 1864 states that in the year 1837 7000 maunds of Kuth were exported via Calcutta to China.
The government has banned unauthorized possession of Kuth for obvious reasons. However, experts suggest extraction and export of the drug on a large scale for economic upliftment of the state.
Experts accuse the government of failure for ignoring these resources. They believe that Jammu Kashmir can find a place in the economic map of the world if appropriate measures are taken before it is too late.