Ocimum basilicum or the commonly called French basil, a variety of Tulsi has a high-essential oil and methyl chavicol-rich variety, which is suitable for cultivation in regions with heavy rainfall.
The improved variety of medicinal and aromatic plant and herbal formulation was developed by Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, research institute of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR-CIMAP), Lucknow, India and released by Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union minister for science and technology.
AdvertisementDr. Vardhan said that a major drive needs to be given by the user industries especially, pharmaceutical, perfumery and cosmetic manufacturers to procure the raw material from cultivated source, so that wild flora of precious plant wealth is not depleted.
Also, there are chances for the wide gene pool available in nature to be exploited by scientists in the process of developing superior varieties. These varieties may have the potential to yield comparatively higher quantities of plant parts and chemical constituents of commercial interest.
The minister mentioned that the Northeast region has great potential in medicinal and aromatic plants' development and urged the scientists to develop plant varieties, which can be grown in adverse climatic conditions. "If agri-entrepreneurship is developed there, the region could easily see a growth in jobs and upward mobility," he said.
The improved varieties of medicinal and aromatic plants developed by CSIR-CIMAP occupy an estimated area of 300,000 hectares producing different essential oils and medicinal herbs. The value of the produce is about Rs 2500 crores annually and creates employment opportunities to the tune of about 6 crores man-days every year.
"India is already a big player in the international market for medicinal and aromatic plants. The government is giving technological support through enhanced R&D. The future is very bright," he said.