In an audacious move, China had moved to patent the health benefits of pudina, but this bid was foiled by India, the Union health ministry has confirmed.
This confirmation follows a Times of India report on the matter. The European Patent Office (EPO) upheld the Indian claim that the medicinal properties of pudina was a part of the traditional medical system in the country and that the herb was used for flu and fever.
"M/s Livzon Pharmaceutical Group Inc, Guangdong, filed a patent application No: EP1849473 titled Chinese traditional medicine composition for treatment of avian influenza, method for preparation, and application thereof on January 19, 2007," MoS health S Gandhiselvan said in a written reply.
He added that on February 25, EPO after examination conveyed their intention to grant the patent to M/s Livzon. "On April 27, TKDL made a submission to EPO on the basis of available prior art references from ayurveda and unani text books the details of four medicinal formulations where pudina and kalamegha have been used for the treatment of influenza, epidemic fever, stating that these uses have been known for hundreds of years in the ayurveda and unani systems of medicine," the reply stated.
The issue was finally solved when 34 million A4 size pages of ancient text was made available in English, Japanese, French, German and Spanish.