• P-ISSN 0974-6846 E-ISSN 0974-5645

Indian Journal of Science and Technology


Indian Journal of Science and Technology

Year: 2011, Volume: 4, Issue: 3, Pages: 298-301

Original Article

Patenting Indian medicinal plants and products


India possess rich heritage of valuable Fauna and hence has been considered as a ‘treasure house’ of valuable medicinal and aromatic plant species. The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India have identified and documented over 9,500 plant species considering their importance in the pharmaceutical industry. Out of these, about 65 plants have large and consistent demand in world trade. Use of plants as a source of medicine has been inherited and is an important component of the health care system in India. India has 16 Agro climatic zones, 45,000 diverse plant species out of which 15,000 are medicinal plants. The Indian Systems of Medicine have identified 1500 medicinal plants, of which 500 species are mostly used in the preparation of drugs. The Indian Systems of Medicine, particularly Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, & Homoeopathy medicine largely use plant base materials, minerals, metals, marine and products of animal origin. Our ancient texts had documented medicinal uses of a large number of plants. These plants are being used for preparation of medicines for centuries. A new trend has, however, been noticed that foreign countries have exposed interest in medicinal plants accessible in India and well documented in our books signifying the formulation in which they are used. A number of medicinal plants and their uses have been patented by foreign countries. There has been condemnation by the people on this mounting trend of patenting of our medicinal plants and their uses. Some of the well-known plants Kala Zeera, Amaltas, Indian Mustared, Karela, Brinjal, Neem, Gudmar etc. have patents. A number of of the patents have been effectively contested by India. India is behind the rest of the world in patents both quantitatively and qualitatively, even when comparison is made with our neighbour China. The persistent illiteracy and confusion about patents is a serious matter. Our pool of knowledge that is protected by patents, even in areas where we have a competitive advantage is rather poor. Take the area of herbal products, where so much emotion has been raised. The number of herbal patents (1995-1998) was 1889, out of which China had a share of 889, and the Indian share was next to nothing. This paper explores the need to document the indigenous knowledge related to Indian herbs and plants and their medicinal and other uses and convert it into easily navigable computerize data base for easy access and to secure patenting rights; to discourage other countries for patenting Indian heritage.
Keywords: Fauna, Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Homoeopathy medicine, patenting rights. 


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