International Union for Conservation of Nature:
Three medicinal plant species found in the Himalayas have made it to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species following a recent assessment. Meizotropis pellita has been assessed as ‘critically endangered’, Fritilloria cirrhosa as ‘vulnerable’, and Dactylorhiza hatagirea as ‘endangered’.
These species are found in the Himalayan region spread across Nepal, India, China, Sikkim, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. IUCN is an international organisation (NGO) working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
About the three species:
- Meizotropis pellita, commonly known as Patwa, is a perennial shrub with restricted distribution that is endemic to Uttarakhand. The species is threatened by deforestation, habitat fragmentation and forest fires. The oil extracted from its leaves contains strong antioxidants and can be a natural alternative to synthetic antioxidants in the pharmaceutical industries.
- Fritillaria cirrhosa (Himalayan fritillary) is a perennial bulbous herb. “It is reasonable to conclude a decline of at least 30% of its population over the assessment period (22 to 26 years). Considering the rate of decline, long generation length, poor germination potential, high trade value, extensive harvesting pressure and illegal trade, the species is listed as ‘vulnerable. In China this species is used to treat bronchial disorders and pneumonia.
- Dactylorhiza hatagirea (Salampanja), is threatened by habitat loss, livestock grazing, deforestation, and climate change. It is extensively used in Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and other alternative systems of medicine to cure dysentery, gastritis, chronic fever, cough and stomach aches. It is a perennial tuberous species endemic to the Hindu Kush and Himalayan ranges of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.