Country’s highest herbal park inaugurated near Indo-China border in Uttarakhand

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India’s highest altitude herbal park situated at a height of 11,000 feet was inaugurated on Saturday at Mana village close to the Indo-China border in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, officials said.

Mana is the last Indian village in Chamoli bordering China and is adjacent to the famous Himalayan temple of Badrinath.

The research wing of Uttarakhand’s forest department has developed the park over three acres of land given by Mana Van panchayat, under the central government’s CAMPA, or Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, scheme.

The herbal park has around 40 species found in high altitude alpine areas in the Himalayan region, Chief Conservator of Forest (research) Sanjiv Chaturvedi said.

Many of these species are endangered and threatened as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list as well as the State Biodiversity Board. It includes many important medicinal herbs also, he said.

The park is divided into four sections.

The first section contains species associated with Badrinath (lord Vishnu), which includes Badri Tulsi, Badri Ber, Badri Tree, and sacred tree of Bhojpatra. Badri Tulsi, which is scientifically named as Origanum Vulgare, is found in this area and forms important part of offering to lord Badrinath. Various researches have established its multiple medicinal benefits.

Badri Ber, which is scientifically known as Hippophae Salicifolia, and locally called as Amaesh, is another nutrition-rich fruit and used widely, Chaturvedi said.

The second section is dedicated to Ashtavarga species which is a group of eight herbs found in the Himalayan region namely Riddhi (Habenaria Intermedia), Vriddhi (Habenaria Edgeworthii), Jeevak (Malaxis Acuminata), Rishbhak (Malaxis Muscifera), Kakoli (Fritillaria Roylei), Ksheer Kakoli (Lilium Polyphyllum), Maida (Ploygonatum Cirrhifolium), and Maha Maida (Polygonatum Verticillatum), which are the most important ingredients of Chyawanprash, he said.

Out of these, four herbs belong to the lily family and four belong to the orchid family, he added.

The third section consists of Saussurea species and includes Brahmakamal (Saussurea Obvallata) which also happens to be the state flower of Uttarakhand. Other Saussurea species at the park are Phemkamal (Saussurea Simpsoniana), Nilkamal (Saussurea Graminifolia) and Koot (Saussurea Costus), the official said.

The fourth section consists of assorted alpine species including Ateesh, Meethavish, Vankakdi, and Choru, all of which are important medicinal herbs and are in great demand, he said.

Besides, trees of Thuner (Taxus Wallichiana), whose bark is used in making cancer drugs, Tansen and Maple trees have also been grown in the park, Chaturvedi said.

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