Indian Scientists Grow Anti-malarial Plant

by Gopalan on Dec 1 2008 11:44 AM

Indian scientists have successfully managed to grow anti-malarial plant Artemesia. A drug made from this plant is more powerful in treating malaria than chloroquinine.

The World Health Organization has recommended the use of Artemesinene in malarial drug after sudden outbreak of epidemic (malaria) in African countries few years ago.

Dr Nripendra Chauhan, scientist at CAP (Centre for Aromatic Plant) in Uttarakhand, northern India, said that leaves of Artemesia are being used to prepare anti- malarial drug worldwide. But its major cultivation was done in China and India used to import it from there. Now CAP has succeeded to produce 40 Tonnes Artemeisa this year, which is likely to earn revenues worth Rs 70 lakh.

Chauhan added,'' Though, since 1989 CIMAP (Central Institute Of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants) scientists have started its experimental cultivation in various small pockets in Jammu and Kashmir but the species failed to grow there owing to harsh climatic conditions. After that CIMAP initiated its cultivation in nearby areas of Lucknow but the species was comparatively low standard containing only 0.3 percent of Artemesinene. On contrary CAP has succeeded to grow genetically improved variety, Aertemesia annua, with considerably high (0.7 percent) content of Artemesinene''.

Moreover it has given the livelihood to 125 farmers in the state who are growing Artemesia on their field as cash crops.

Dr. Aditya Kumar, Vice Chairman, State Medicinal Plant Board, said that India Glycols Limited, a pharmaceutical company is also planning to install a factory at Selaqui in Dehradun for processing the drug. ''It will provide ample of employment opportunities to local people,'' he said.