Extinction of medicinal herbs leading to poor-quality Ayurvedic drugs

Availability and quality of Ayurvedic medicines is being adversely affected as many species of medicinal plants are rapidly disappearing from Himalayan hills, experts have said. According to the Uttarakhand Ayurveda and Unani department, 50 medicinal plants in the state fall in the category of ‘endangered species’ as notified by the ministry of Ayush Government of India. These include Nardostachys jatamansi, gentuana kurroo royle, riddhi, vridhi, kaakoli, kshir-kakoli, and mahameda among others. Also several herbs like Ashtavarga and Dashamoola are on the verge of extinction.


Lack of availability of many medicinal plants has led to adulteration of drugs, which has caused a spike in the number of legal cases against the Ayurveda pharmacies in Uttarakhand. The herbs are fast disappearing due to lack of thrust on cultivation. Additionally, only private companies and labs are preserving the endangered species through plant tissue culture while government labs are mostly inactive. Climate change and smuggling are also among the factors leading to the disappearance of the herbs from Himalayan hills, according to the experts.

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