Plants support and sustain all living beings on earth. They convert carbon-dioxide to oxygen that is absolutely necessary for all lives. They play an important role in maintaining ecological balance and keep the atmosphere in balance. Human beings are dependent on plants for all their needs like food, clothing, shelter and medical care.
India has rich and diverse plant resources with about 20,000 species of flowering plants. Out of these, nearly 8,000 plant species have been recorded as medicinal and hence India is considered as “Emporium of Medicinal Plants”. About 70% of our population still depends upon these plants linked to traditional medical practices for their primary health care.
The medicinal uses of these species are recorded in the 4 codified Indian systems of medicine: Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Tibetan (Swa-rigpa). They are also reported in the folk traditions of different ethnic communities across the country.
Karnataka State has a wealth of medicinal plant resources due to its diverse habitats. The State has long stretch of the Western Ghats and large dry Deccan region that support rich diversity of medicinal plants. Even though Karnataka has less than 10% of India’s geographical area it harbours 4,758 plants species belonging to 1,408 genera and 178 families, constituting nearly 27% of India’s floristic diversity.
India’s wild flora is facing significant decline due to habitat loss and degradation. This decline is threatening (a) availability of these valuable plant resources and (b) the linked knowledge base resulting from the long history of traditions and experiences of medicinal use. Therefore, there is an urgent need to properly document such resources and the related traditional knowledge, for the benefit of future generations.
This book has attempted a comprehensive and condensed compilation pertaining to 100 prioritised medicinal plants of the State of Karnataka. The criteria followed for the prioritisation of the species are popular usage and ease of access to the specific plant resource.
Each medicinal plant is presented in the book in a user friendly style. Colour photos of habit, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds of each plant given in the book make identification of the plant easy in the field. Botanical, Vernacular and Common English names help in knowing the plant habitat easily. Description of each plant and its parts, distribution of the plant and brief medicinal uses, provided in the photo guide make this publication very useful.
Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT), Bengaluru