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Medicinal Plants and Aromatic Herbs— Therapeutics
Development of High Value Therapeutic Agents
An improved processing technology has been developed for isolation of 10-DAB from Taxus wallichiana on 1 kg dry needles/batch scale. Process for the isolation of silymarine from Silybum marianum has been scaled-up to pilot plant level (40 kg seeds/batch). An improved scaled-up process (10 kg/batch scale) has been developed for the isolation of camptothecin from the twigs and stem of Nothapodytes foetida.
Salient Features

Ex-situ conservation, characterisation and agrotechnology
Fifty eight accessions of Nagarmotha (Cyperus scariosus) and 30 accessions of motha (C. rotundus) collected from different locations in the country have been maintained in the gene bank at Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre (FFDC), Kannauj, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Agrotechnology for cultivation of elite accessions with good essential oil yield have been developed.
Field evaluation of the performance of tissue-culture raised rose scented geranium (Pelarganium graveoleus) in Maharashtra state continued jointly by Kelkars’ Education Trusts (KETs) Scientific Research Centre, Mumbai and Vidhya Pratisthan School of Biotechnology, Baramati. A total area of 20 acres under geranium cultivation has been covered in selected blocks in Baramati.
The farmers from selected blocks in Baramati were provided with geranium planting material for commercial cultivation in their fields. The foliage from these fields was brought to the nodal centre for oil extraction and analytical studies. Thereafter, the buyback of essential oil was commenced by Kelkars’ Biotech Pvt. Ltd., Mulund (W), Mumbai.
Field demonstration of cultivation and processing of selected aromatic crops in Dhar Block of Punjab has been continued jointly by KETs Scientific Research Centre, Mumbai and Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, Chandigarh. During this year’s planting season, an additional area of 12 acres in farmers’ field has been covered with elite varieties of lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) and citronella (C. winterianus).
The research trials to fine tune agro-technologies for cultivation of five aromatic crops viz. lemon grass, palmarosa, citronella, geranium and patchouli are also in progress at Regional Research Station of PAU, Gurdaspur, Punjab.
Under a network project implemented jointly at UAS, Dharwad (College of Forestry, Sirsi), UAS, Bangalore and Research and Action for Natural Wealth Administration (RANWA), Pune, Nothapodytes nimmoniana (source of camptothecin) has been introduced to seven different agroforestry systems across three states. Over 3,500 plants are currently growing in these systems.
Ninety-one genotypes of Stevia rebaudiana (source of non-calorie natural sweeteners) characterised at morphological, chemical and molecular level. Molecular characterisation of these lines suggests the three major gene pools operating in the genotypes. Chilli leaf curl India virus (a begamovirus) has been found to infect Mentha spicata in mint growing areas of Uttar Pradesh. Work on developing a quick and reliable diagnostic kit is in progress.
Development of standardised and safe herbal products
A multi-institutional programme has been initiated for developing a herbal product for inflammatory arthropathy. Projects for developing herbal products for osteoporosis from the leads available in traditional system are being supported.
Based on leads already available, a project has been recently initiated to develop a standardised and safe herbal product from Terminalia arjuna for left ventricular dysfunction. Clinical trials is an integral component of this project.
Projects for developing standardised herbal products for hepatoprotection and diabetes – Type 2 are in progress.
Novel bioactive agents and herbal formulation
Studies have been completed on double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial to study the add-on efficacy of a standardised preparation of water extract of T. arjuna in 100 patients with left ventricular dysfunction, already receiving standard drug regimen at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Unblinding of the code and data analysis are in progress.
Methanolic and aqueous extracts of Ocimum sanctum have been found to decrease the expression of IL-1, TNF- and COX-2 proteins and also shown chondoroprotective potential jointly at the Interactive Research School for Health Affairs (IRSHA), Pune in collaboration with an industrial partner –Natural Remedies, Bangalore. Sub-acute toxicity and reproductive toxicity studies are in progress.
A model of atherosclerosis has been successful developed by rIL-18 administration for one month in stock diet fed Apo E-/- mice jointly at PGIMER, Chandigarh and NII, Hyderabad.
Aqueous extract of T. arjuna bark has been found to be significantly effective not only reducing atherogenic lipids, particularly TG, but also effectively increased HDL-C levels. The histopathological studies revealed that the extract has been found to be effective in regression of atherosclerotic lesions in descending aorta.
Curcumin has been found to suppress gelatinase B-mediated norepinephrine induced stress in h9c2 cardiomyocytes, which may contribute in the prevention of cardiac hypertrophy at Jaypee Institute of Information Technology (JIIT), Noida. Based on the leads obtained in an earlier project, studies on developing standardised, efficacious and safe herbal product for urolithiasis from Tribulus terrestis have been recently initiated at Jaypee University of Information Technology (JUIT), Solan.
A novel fused octahydro-benzo[d]imidazole analogs has been found to be a potential anti-Herpes Virus (HSV) agent jointly at ICMR Virus Unit, Kolkata and Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Ranchi, in Jharkhand state, eastern India. Methonolic crude extracts of Momordica charantia, Syzygium cumini and Gymnema sylvestre showed significant anti-diabetic and anti-adipogenic activity at Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu in southern India.
New projects have been initiated on developing a standardised herbal extracts against urinary tract bacterial infections, anti-obesity agents from Piper species, prophylactic potential of the bark extract of Terminalia arjuna in preventing osteoporosis and development of oral bioavailability enhancer for selected anti-HIV drug using Indian herb.