Indian Medicinal Plants Database

There are various estimates and guesstimates of the total number of plant species in medicinal use in India. These figures range from 3000 to 8000 species. The most appropriate way to resolve the issue relating to these figures is to create a “referenced” database from the “published” sources. These published sources have to include Materia Medica publications of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Homeopathy and Sowa-Rigpa as well as floras and published papers and books on Ethno-botany. Such an effort is essential for building an authentic database on Indian Medicinal Plants with clear linkage of each species to one or more systems of India’s traditional medicine.

Such a database, in electronic form, has been developed by FRLHT with financial support from NMPB and it has been hosted on NMPB’s Portal for appropriate use by the practitioners of Indian Systems of Medicine, herbal industries, scholars, researchers, resource managers as well as policy makers. It incorporates 7263 botanical names of Indian medicinal plants and these botanical names have been correlated to more than 1,50,000 vernacular names in ten different languages of India. It also includes > 5000 authentic images of Indian medicinal plants duly linked to the specific botanical entities.

The medicinal plant species included in the database have been compiled and arranged under the six Indian Systems of Medicine namely Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Homeopathy, Sowa-Rigpa and Folk. Thus inventory of medicinal plants, used in each of these systems of medicine, has been compiled and incorporated into the database for electronic search. Within each system of medicine one can browse the data for a specific botanical name or vernacular name. Each of the botanical names has proper author citation and linkage with botanical synonyms where ever applicable.

Validation of specific botanical names has also been incorporated to establish the proper identify of the plant entity. Comprehensive lists of botanical names have been arranged alphabetically and appended to the database in respect of each of the six systems of Indian medicine. The numbers of botanical names enlisted for each medicinal system are tabulated below:

  1. Ayurveda (2559 botanical names).
  2. Siddha (2267 botanical names).
  3. Unani (1049 botanical names).
  4. Homeopathy (460 botanical names).
  5. Folk (6403 botanical names).
  6. Sowa-Rigpa (671 botanical names).

In respect of each botanical entity enlisted under any of the codified systems of Indian medicine, the relevant Bibliography, establishing its inclusion under that system, has also been incorporated.

Similarly the bibliography relating to the geographical distribution of specific plant species as compiled from the published literature, has also been included along with the facility to view the summarized comments relating to distribution.

First drop down feature is “Ayurvedic identity” which enlists the Sanskrit names of botanical drugs referred in the classical literature of Ayurveda. It has 1407 Ayurvedic drug names arranged alphabetically (also in Devanagari script). After opening this drop down feature one can click on any of the listed Ayurvedic drug name to view its correlation with specific plant species along with the related comments regarding the nomenclature correlation compiled from well-known publications of eminent scholars.

The second drop down feature incorporated into the homepage is “Shlokas” for viewing the Sanskrit sholas (verses) from classical literature. It enlists 289 sanskrit names of the most popular botanical drugs of Ayurveda and most of these are included in the material medica curriculum of BAMS. By clicking on any of the enlisted names one can view the Sanskrit Shloka/s from the classical sources, in “Devanagari” followed by their interpretation explaining the specific uses.