Vol. 10 No. 2
A review on endangered medicinal plants of India and their conservation
Author(s): S. Sharma and R. Thokchom
Abstract: India has a very rich plant biodiversity, many of which are medicinally useful. The rich resource is disappearing at an alarming rate as a result of over-exploitation. Therefore, the management of traditional medicinal plant resources has become a matter of urgency. An ever increasing demand of uniform medicinal plants based medicines warrants their mass propagation through plant tissue culture strategy. Tissue culture technology is potent and has opened extensive areas of research for biodiversity conservation. Plant in vitro regeneration is a biotechnological tool that offers a tremendous potential solution for the propagation of endangered and superior genotypes of medicinal plants which could be released to their natural habitat or cultivated on a large scale for the pharmaceutical product of interest. Tissue culture protocols have been developed for a wide range of medicinal plants, which includes endangered, rare and threatened plant species. Some of these endangered medicinal plants are Saussaurea lappa, Picorrhiza kurroa, Ginkgo biloba, Swertia chirata, Gymnema sylvestre, Tinospora cordifolia, Salaca oblonga, Holostemma, Celastrus paniculata, Oroxylum indicum, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Tylophora indica, Bacopa monnieri, Rauwolfia serpentina. The conventional means of propagation takes a long time for multiplication and also clonal non uniform. Conventionally, there are two methods of conservation: in situ and ex situ conservation, both are complementary to each other. In situ methods allow conservation to occur with ongoing natural evolutionary processes ex situ conservation via in vitro propagation also acts as a viable alternative for increase and conservation of populations of existing bioresources in the wild and to meet the commercial requirements. A review highlighting various in vitro protocols developed for selected rare and threatened plant species of India has been done to highlight the significance of ex situ conservation in cases where regeneration through conventional methods is difficult to undertake and species are left with low population in the wild. Thus in vitro cell and tissue culture methodology is envisaged as a mean for germplasm conservation to ensure the survival of endangered plant species, rapid mass propagation for la
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