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Experts discuss conservation strategies for propagation of medicinal plants of Ganga River Basin at international conference

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By Our Staff Reporter
DEHRADUN, 10 Sept: Sanjay Gupta, Professor and Principal, and Dr Vivek Kumar, Associate Professor, Himalayan School of Biosciences, Swami Rama Himalayan University, were invited as Expert and Key Note Speaker respectively, at the International conference held on Medicinal Plants of Ganga.
Dr Sanjay Gupta

The conference, organized by the Uttarakhand Ayurveda University, Dehradun at Gurukul Campus, Haridwar brought into focus the topic, “Medicinal Plants of Ganga River Basin and their therapeutic Importance In Indian System of Medicine.”

Held from 5th to 6th September 2022, participants discussed issues that have great relevance to naturopathy and disease management in the context of contemporary times.
Dr Vivek Kumar

Dr. Gupta delivered a lecture on, ‘Genetic diversity analysis and conservation strategies of medicinal plants of Ganga River Basin.”

“Medicinal plants have been used in healthcare since ancient times. Studies have been conducted globally to verify their efficacy and some of the findings have led to the production of plant-based medicines,” Dr Gupta elucidated. “Medicinal plants play vital roles in diseases prevention and emerging perspectives in the field of medicinal plants recommendations are proposed for strategizing the future role for medicinal plants in disease prevention,” he added.
“Some of the medicinally important plants with high pharmaceutical and nutraceutical values found in the vicinity areas of Ganges are endemic to northern and eastern Himalayan region and are found to be rich in secondary metabolites that confer them varied medicinal properties. These plants have immense medicinal and nutraceutical properties like antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, improves hemoglobin count, ulcerative properties, high ant-oxidant potential, anti-inflammatory properties, used to treat stomach related disorders etc.”
Unplanned development and mismanagement of ecosystem led to over exploitation of medicinal and commercially important plants. This not only resulted in shortage of these medicinal and commercially important herbs, but also leads to the extinction of several species in their natural habitat. In order to meet the increasing demand from industries for these plants, it becomes even more important to conserve these medicinal plant species by domestication/cultivation or adopting different ex-situ and in situ conservation strategies for their sustainable development, Dr Gupta further explained.
By systematic cultivation of medicinal plants instead of collecting the plant species from wild, many problems like unplanned harvesting and threats to the plant species can be minimized. Properly identified, certified and biochemically characterized planting material can be supplied to the harvesters. The plants can be made available by mass in vitro clonal multiplication of the plant species.
VC Swami Rama Himalayan University, Dr Vijay Dhasmana, while congratulating his team for their participation in a significant forum observed that, “The study of genetic diversity for medicinal plants is important for researches in the future. I understand that the genetic diversity study will reveal details about the most elite DNA that can be multiplied and conserved by conservation methods.”
The three basic scientific techniques of conservation of genetic diversity of these medicinal plants are legislation, ex situ and in situ conservation. As a primary method, in-situ conservation is used for the conservation of the plant species.
VC Swami Rama Himalayan University, Dr Vijay Dhasmana, while congratulating his team for their participation in a significant forum observed that, “The study of genetic diversity for medicinal plants is important for researches in the future. I understand that the genetic diversity study will reveal details about the most elite DNA that can be multiplied and conserved by conservation methods.”
The three basic scientific techniques of conservation of genetic diversity of these medicinal plants are legislation, ex situ and in situ conservation. As a primary method, in-situ conservation is used for the conservation of the plant species.
One of the most recommended techniques for the conservation in recent years is mass propagation through the plant tissue culture technique. “Different molecular markers can be further used for determining the clonal fidelity among the regenerated plantlets and mother plant. In the priority area of conservation of plant resources, preservation and maintenance of medicinal plants in the wild and their systematic cultivation outside their natural habitat of growth has assumed significance with emphasis on biodiversity analysis, phytochemical investigations and germ-plasm conservation of these plants,” Dr Gupta pronounced.
Dr. Vivek Kimar discussed about the ‘Curative Potential of Ganga Water: A blind belief or Science.’
The Ganga River has three facets: a religious, economic, and health-related one. While much is known about the river’s religious and economic implications, no in-depth studies have ever been done on how its water affects health. Notably, the Ganga River has much higher oxygen levels compared to those of any other river in the world. This is one of the causes of the River Ganga’s ability to purify itself, and the abundance of oxygen in the Ganga’s waters gives it the special capacity to stay fresh for an extended period of time. E. Hanbury Hankin, a British physician, discovered in 1896 that cholera bacteria perished in the water within three hours but thrived in distilled water. According to reports, the Ganga River’s water contains 20 different varieties of bacteriophages that are capable of fighting off the bacteria that cause diseases including tuberculosis, pneumonia, cholera, and urinary tract infections, among others. One of the most important issues affecting public health today is bacterial antibiotic resistance.