September 8, 2020

Role of Home Herbal Garden in Health Service Delivery

Introduction: Indian people have a privileged history of traditional knowledge about nature and are as such rightful custodians of the protection, preservation, promotion, innovation and practices of natural resources used for their health care, food security, culture, religion ,environment, aesthetic pleasure. They are also the guardians of sustainable development. In India the medicinal use of plant parts like leaves, stems, roots, flowers and seeds has been practiced since ancient times by various rural and tribal communities through the system of Ayurveda, siddha, and unani and other regional or local systems for treating various ailments. In India plant based formulations for treatment of different ailments including simple injuries ,wounds ,cold ,cough, fever, stomach pain, ,fungal infections ,burns, insect bites ,swelling ,bone fracture, antidote, skin care, tooth ache, asthma and many more have a background of thousand years . They hold a sound place in the world and uncovering of traditional formulations ,ways, methods and preparations are a interested part of ongoing search for discovering novel and biosafe outcomes, as much of it has been already harvested. For the above ailments present generation is totally dependent upon allopathic chemical based medicines considered to act fast, quick and site specific ,but the parallel increasing side effects ,cost and availability issues changed for return to the plant based remedies which are being encouraged and appreciated for their low cost ,natural and safety purposes. However with the increasing population ,uncontrolled deforestation, harvesting pressures, overexploitation, land degradation and habitat destruction of medicinal plants poses a multi variant threat as number of herbal medicinal plants are becoming rare ,endangering and Threatening like viola Pilosa ,withania coagulans ,rauwolfia serpentine ,saussurea costus,swertia chirata ,artemisia amygdalina ,lotus corniculates ,Psilotum nudum, rubia cordifolia ,dioscorea deltoides, Acorus calamus and even some have became extinct which would affect the healthof economic sectors of India as there is increasing demand for medicinal herbs for the manufacture of herbal based products. Today herbal medicine is still the primary healthcare priority of about 80 % of the world’s population, especially in the developing countries like India because it is considered as safe ,natural, low cost and more importantly nontoxic ,but it is not entirely true as some may potentially prove toxic ,lethal with regard to dose, parts used and adverse reactions due to age, genetic or interference with person already under medication course . So it is better to go for a professional consultation before approaching for some unknown or firstly time used herbal remedy, and considerably there is an increasing demand for herbal based medicines and supplements in the international market. However as they are disappearing at a rapid speed the present demand and future perspectives is a big challenge to meet the continuous needs of medicinal plants. According to the government of India in 2018 around 75% of Indian households use ayurvedic products against only 67% in 2015. So to cope up with this problem the approach and efforts to home herbal gardens can just prove beneficial in more than one ways .The medicinal or therapeutic potential of herbs is attributed to the presence of antioxidants, valuable nutrients and other mineral rich components which play a vital role in smooth and accurate biological functions in the human body to strengthen our immune system sufficient enough to resist diseases and infections.
Home herbal garden provides opportunity of livelihood security and covers nutritional, economic and health priorities.
People in rural areas of India face barriers to access to quick and all-time healthcare facility due to the issues of poverty, rural residence, economic status, lower education and awareness and also social discrimination. Home herbal gardens can generate hope for these marginalized communities to make their health care better. Urban people though always take pride in comparatively better standard various aspects of life but are equally frank to appreciate the traditional ways of rural or tribal people for utilization of herbal based natural remedies. Home herbal gardens can provide a great opportunity to have the best natural benefits at home to avoid the dependency of chemically based or identity dubious consumables. Each herb has a different aroma and taste and one can choose them in cooking, assalads. The requirements for calories, proteins, minerals, vitamins and essential nutrients which help in body building and to stay healthy, herbs are good choice to meet such bio functional requirements. Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha ),Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi ),Plantago ovata (Isabagol ),Andrographis paniculate (Kalmegh ),Glycyrrhiza glabra (Liqo rice ),Asparagus racemosus (Satavari )Mentha arvensis (pudina ),Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) ,Centella asiatica (Gotu kola ) ,Ellettaria cardamomum (Cardamom) Aloe vera (Ghrit kumari )trigonella foenum-graecum (Methi),Zingiber officinale (Adrak ) Allium sativum ( Lahsun ) ,Ocimum basillicum (Basil )Thymus vulgaris ( Thyme ) ,Lavandula species ( Lavender ) Salvia officinalis ( Sage ) ,Mentha piperita (Peppermint ) , Melissa officinalis (Cemon balm ), Cymbopogon citratus (Cemon grass ), costus igneus ( Insulin plant ) ,Stevia rebaudiana (Stevia ) Trachyspermum ammi ( Ajwain ) ,Acorus calamus ( Vach ), Acmella oleracea (Ttoothache plant ), Origanum vulgare ( Oregano ), Tinospora cordifolia ( Guduchi ) are herbal plants which have various medicinal properties and could be grown in home herbal gardens. In India there are number of herbal product manufacturingr companies like Himalaya, Patanjali, Dabur, Hamdard etc and last few decades witnessed increased establishment of such companies which are engaged in production of herbal based health drinks ,fruit beverages, food , health wellness, medicines , oils ,tonics, body care products ,herbal teas ,biscuits and cookies and natural food products . Some known mono herbal products like Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera ) ,Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri ),Indian snake root Rauwolfiaserpentine) ,Hadjod(Cissus quadrangularis )Manjistha(Rubia cordifolia )Guduchi (Tinosporia cordifolia ) ,Tulsi (ocimumsp) Shatavari ( Asparagus racemosus ), herbal products are available in market in the form of tablets ,syrups etc due to their potential medicinal value and at the same time these herbs find an easy place to be grown in the home herbal garden . Growing herbal plants at home ensures the satisfaction that they are organic, pesticide cum herbicide free which cannot be guaranteed in commercially grown herbs due to their economic and profiteering interests. Coming to the potting needs it is easiest to grow herbal plants ,because we can choose a container that has ample drainage ,holes and a large enough space to accommodate the plant and the simple options are plastic bottles ,juice cartoons ,paint cans ,tin cans which reduces the cost and as such is a good step towards sustainable development .If waste material from home is used to make compost for growing it will provide multi beneficial as it reduces the burden of wastes which is being targeted mainly on roadsides ,water bodies or thrown into the fields resulting in pollution . In India national medicinal plants board(NMPB), Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MOEF&CC),Department of Science and Technology (DST),department of AYUSH and other organizations are actively engaged in conservation ,propagation ,strategies, improvement in yield and sustainable use of medicinal plants. National medicinal board has started establishment of Home ,School ,Public ,Institutional ,Sate level herbal gardens with an assistance of Rs2500.So one can also have the benefits of government sponsored schemes to establish home herbal garden. The participatory approach of growing home herbal garden will help in cultural identity, conservation of medicinal herbs, a sharp slowdown in extra exploitation of natural and forest sources . Home herbal garden provides opportunity of livelihood security and covers nutritional, economic and health priorities.
( The author is Ph D Scholar at Department of Botany, Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar. Views are his own)

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