Himalayan Medicinal Plants in IUCN Red List
Three medicinal plant species in the Himalayas have been included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. These are Meizotropis pellita (critically endangered), Fritilloria cirrhosa (vulnerable) and Dactylorhiza hatagirea (endangered).
About Meizotropis pellita
- Meizotropis pellita is commonly known as Patwa.
- It is a perennial shrub that is found only in Uttarakhand.
- The species was listed as critically endangered in the IUCN List based on its limited area of occupation (less than 10 square kilometres).
- Its survival is currently under threat because of deforestation, habitat fragmentation and wildfires.
- The essential oil extracted from the leaves of Patwa is found to have strong antioxidants.
- It can act as an effective alternative to synthetic antioxidants used by pharmaceutical industries.
About Fritillaria cirrhosa
- Fritillaria cirrhosa, commonly known as Himalayan fritillary, is a perennial bulbous herb. Its population has declined by 30 per cent over the past 22 to 26 years.
- The species has been listed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List due to the high rate of population decline, long generation length, poor germination potential, high trade value, extensive harvesting pressure, and illegal trade.
- The species is used in China for treating bronchial disorders and pneumonia.
- It is also a strong cough suppressant.
- It is popularly used as a source of expectorant drugs in traditional Chinese medicine.
About Dactylorhiza hatagirea
- Dactylorhiza hatagirea or Salampanja is a perennial tuberous species endemic to the Hindu Kush and Himalayan ranges of Afghanistan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
- The species is listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List as its survival is threatened by habitat loss, livestock grazing, deforestation, and climate change.
- It is commonly used in Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, and other alternative systems of medicine to cure dysentery, gastritis, chronic fever, cough, and stomach aches.
Reference: The Hindu
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