India is virtually an epicentre of biodiversity as it has around 10,000 species of higher plants, which are used systematically for treatment of a wide spectrum of human ailments, Prof Chandrakant Kokate, vice-chancellor of KLE University, Belagum, has said. He was speaking at the international conference and exhibition on pharmacognosy here on Monday. About 20,000 different medicinal of plants are grown in India totally, he said.
A three-day Pharmacognosy-2013 conference will deliberate on herbal medicine, trends and drug discovery from natural products. Over 200 researches from 15 countries will present papers at the conference. Biotech and herbal companies and leading universities are also participated in the meet. Pharamacognosy is a science of medicine derived from natural sources.
Prof Kokate said plant-derived drugs constitute major share of different systems of healthcare practiced in India. “Indian herbal drugs is the fastest growing sector. Europe leads the world market, followed by Asia and North America. The global market for this industry is $70 billion, with an average growth of 10 to 12 percent,” he said.
Expressing concern at growing extinction of medicinal plants, Nobel Laureate S Mohan Jain of the University of Heilsinki, Finland, said it was difficult to imagine future cures for diseases. “Hundreds of medicinal plants are at the risk of extinction, which will have detrimental effects. Cures for diseases such as cancer and HIV may also become extinct. And, 30 to 50 percent biodiversity faces the danger of extinction,” he said.