TERI Initiates Herbal Project for Communities; Plans to Extend it Nationwide
“Herbal and Botanic Gardens are playing a key role in protecting all our plants for the future and TERI’s initiative highlights the importance of plants and the ecosystem services they provide for all life on earth, and aims to ensure their conservation.” Dr RK Pachauri, Director General of TERI.
The objective is to set up Herbal Gardens and Integrated Resource Centres to educate urban and rural households, RWAs, schools, colleges and government departments on the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants, particularly in the context of primary health care. These herbal plants are essential for all life on earth, including humans, but they are endangered by many threats, which is causing the plant population and diversity to decline. Hence the overall objective is ‘Sensitisation and community awareness on Herbal Medicine and Herbal Gardens.’
The aim is to build the capacity of the community to establish and own community herbal gardens which shall be used to administer herbal treatment as a valuable supplement to already proven medication. TERI will promote and strengthen the use of herbal medicines in order to preserve and protect indigenous tree species and their products to control environmental degradation by planting herbal tree seedlings in various communities, complexes and vacant places with the help of local authorities and most importantly Resident Welfare Associations (RWA’s).
These herbal gardens will serve as community conservation education and knowledge management centers and repositories of the regions medicinal plant resources and local health knowledge. The advantage of this program is that it is easy to supply planting material for propagation, re-introduction of native species, agronomic improvement, research and education from the network of herbal gardens. Each garden will serve as regional resource center of learning, wherein there is authentic and thorough documentation available of the natural and cultural heritage of the region relating to medicinal plants. These will also serve as training centers for rural households, schools, colleges and government departments on the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants, particularly in the context of primary health care. These areas would serve as demonstration and training sites for local entrepreneurs, NGOs, RWAs etc. where they would get exposed on cultivation and processing of medicinal plant species.
“Community gardens are key to this project’s success, and they do much more than improve the appearance of the neighbourhood: they play a key role in tackling health and social problems in the neighbourhood” says Amit Thakur, Project Officer at TERI.
TRISHA, TERI's research initiative at Supi for Himalayan advancement in district Nainital, is raising these seedlings and indigenous herbal and fruit tree species, which will be sent to these communities for their own herbal gardens.
Thus, these herbal gardens will serve as demonstration, training and sourcing sites for the progressive farmers, students and researchers, tourists, environmentalists, conservationists and RWA’s by providing the following intangible and tangible benefits in addition to the popularization of use of local medicinal and plants in the area:
• Conservation of medicinal plants for education, research and extension.
• Developing a gene-pool of indigenous and exotic plant species for conservation, propagation and development.
• Establishment of sustainable medicinal plants resource base for local communities.
• Developing a centre for tourist attraction to help popularizing Indian Ayurvedic system.
• Training of local people to popularize organic cultivation of economically viable medicinal species.
• Quality seed and seedling production for distribution to farmers and gardeners, kitchen herbal gardens, etc.
• Development of protocol for cultivation techniques for important medicinal plants as cash crops in urban as well as areas.
• Standardization of storage and process facility and conditions and enterprise development.
• Models for raising awareness in school children about medicinal plants.
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