Bindu Shajan Perappadan

NEW DELHI: Having made substantial sacrifices to make space for an expanding Capital, Delhi is now finally claiming back some of its valuable lost species of medicinal plants. Initiating a reverse journey of sorts for several native and exotic medicinal plants into the city, Delhi's two bio-diversity parks in the Aravalli hills and on the Yamuna banks are now home to about 500 species of medicinal plants that have been searched, located and brought in from across India. However, what makes this ambitious plan relevant to the common man is the fact that if things work out as planned, consumers looking to benefit from alternative therapy may soon be able to buy "authentic/quality assured" medicinal plants.

Medicinal plants are no strangers to Delhi and at one point of time out of the 31 plant species which are in high demand both in national and international markets, 11 were found in Delhi. But owing to its rapid growth and accompanying deforestation, Delhi now has only an insignificant stock of medicinal plants.

"The stock that is being brought to the bio-diversity parks will ensure that the Capital can reclaim its lost medicinal plants. We are in the process of bringing back medicinal plant species that have disappeared from the city. These are plants that have proven medicinal value. We have brought in a combination of native and exotic plant species that we think would thrive in the city's weather. Currently we have species that can be used for treatment of diseases including chronic asthma, fever, arthritis and joint pains,'' says Delhi University Professor Emeritus C.R. Babu. "The most ambitious part of the project," he adds, "is the fact that we would be able to make available to the public medical plants for sale. We are looking forward to streamlining and facilitating sale counters that should serve the public.''