Indian scientists find a ‘wonder herb’ in the high Himalayas
LEH: In the high and hostile peaks of the Himalayas where sustaining life is a challenge in itself, Indian scientists say they have found a "wonder herb" which can regulate the immune system, help adapt to the mountain environment and, above all, protect from radioactivity.
Rhodiola, a herb found in the cold and highland climate, has led India's leading scientists to wonder if it is the end to the quest for "sanjeevani", the mythical herb that gave renewed life to Ram's brother Lakshman in the epic Ramayana.
Locally called "solo" in Ladakh, the qualities of Rhodiola were largely unknown so far. The leafy parts of the plant were used as vegetable by locals. However, research by the Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) is exploring the therapeutic values of the herb that shows it can do wonders for the troops posted in difficult high altitude areas like the 5,400m-high Siachen glacier.
"Rhodiola is a wonder plant that has immunomodulatory (enhancing immune), adaptogenic (adapting to difficult climatic condition) and radio-protecting abilities due to presence of secondary metabolites and phytoactive compounds unique to the plant," RB Srivastava, director, DIHAR, told IANS.
“红景天是一种神奇的植物, 其体内独一无二的次生代谢产物和光合物，使它具有免疫调节（增加免疫）、生理调节（适应艰难环境条件）和防止射线的功能，” '高海拔研究国防学院'院长RB 斯里伐斯塔伐告诉印亚通讯社说。
Srivastava said the herb can mitigate the effects of gamma radiation used in bombs in biochemical warfare.
"A concerted effort involving conservation, propagation and sustainable utilization of this unique medicinal herb will surely result in rediscovery of sanjeevani for the troops deployed in extreme climatic condition along Himalayan frontiers," said the director.
The Leh-based lab of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the world's highest agro-animal research laboratory, has been researching on this wonder plant for more than a decade.
这个设在列城的'国防研究开发组织'的实验室 - 世界上海拔最高的农业、动物研究所，10多年来对这神奇的植物进行了持续的研究。
"While its adaptogenic qualities can help the soldiers in adjusting to the low pressure-low oxygen environment, the plant has also been found to have anti-depressant and appetizer properties," said Srivastava.
In the barren glacier of Siachen where white is the only colour visible for miles, depression is a problem troops face. The high altitude and harsh climate also make them lose appetite.
DIHAR has already developed herbal adaptogenic appetizer, and herbal adaptogenic performance enhancer that improves performance in extreme high altitude conditions, and has been highly appreciated by the Army.
Rhodiola is also found in other parts of the world with other countries like the US and China engaging in research on the wonder herb.
The plant has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to combat high-altitude sickness, while in Mongolia physicians prescribed it for tuberculosis and cancer.
Researchers in Russia studied its impact on athletes and later on cosmonauts.
Some other qualities the plant is found to be containing in studies across the world include fast recovery after heavy workout, memory enhancement, and cardiac stress reduction.
"Our research reveals its potential for anti-aging, tissue regeneration, protecting neurons during lack of oxygen, and cognitive improvement," said Sunil Hota, who is working on investigating medicinal properties of the plant at DIHAR.
OP Chaurasia, ethnobotanist with DIHAR for nearly two decades, told IANS that they have successfully established a field gene bank and Rhodiola plantation of nearly two acres in the premise of the laboratory.
"We are trying in vitro propagation of the plant to increase its population," added Chaurasia.
rajan loknathan (chennai / trivandrum)
Great discovery if true. Now the foreign pharmaceutical companies will come and take it and get patent for it while we will still think and talk about it.
It is reinventing the wheel. Rhodiola is well known in Russia and has become popular in the Western world also for a decadfe or so. Then what is new about it.
Gehendra Dhakal ()
Great to know now indian population isn't going to decrease
A great discovery !!
Suchita Ghosh Mitra (New Delhi, India)
A great achievement. Keep it up.
if Chinese are already using this herb as medicine then why the article is say that Indian scientist discovered it.. May be the author wants to say that Indian scientist found this medicine in India too..
Name (Location) replies to natasha
A wide range of organs from wild animals, oceans, flora and fauna are used by Chinese. If Columbus invented India, Chinese invented Rhodiola.
Satish Khot (Unknown)
Is it really a "sanjeevani"?
reetika berry (New Delhi)
Kudos to our scientists....keep up the good work (Rhodiola - the wonder flower)
Dinesh Kumar J (goa) replies to Satish Khot
There are many chemicals present in very ordinary looking plants which are not yet fully analysed or understood.Our ancient savants knew far more about plants than we do today.There is the story of the great Jeevak,who as a student was told by his teacher to find something totally devoid of medicinal properties.Well,Jeevak disappeared into the forest and vanished for several days.His acharya,along with his entire contingent of disciples found him wandering around,clothes torn and dishevelled muttering,"Naiv anaushdham Kaschit." Roughly translate,"There is nothing that does not have medicinal properties." Jeevak,by the way,lived 500 Years B.C.!
样子非常普通的植物里存在许多化学物质，对它们我们或者没有做过彻底分析, 或者不了解。我们古代智者对植物远比我们知道得多。有个关于圣人吉伐克的故事。他为学子时，师父叫他去找些完全没有药用价值的东西。于是吉伐克没入丛林，失踪了好多天。他宗师和一大帮弟子找到他时，他正四下徘徊，衣衫褴褛不整，喃喃自语：“Naiv anaushdham Kaschit.” 大意为，“世上没有无药用价值的东西。” 顺便提一下，吉伐克生活在公元前500年！
finding out is not just a goal...We need to make it useful before any other country like China gets the patent over it..
You just blew it up! Now China will not just find but use all the benefits mentioned...
Name (Location) replies to Rohan
we are all humans, let anyone use what they want to use. we will not die if china uses it , nor they will live for ever.
thomas cheenath (India) replies to Name
Gods are jealous of their creations since none of the Gods allow man to live for ever
in our vedas / ayurveda / traditional medicine which are all based on plants are most effective without giving serious side effect . china is spending big money investigating their traditional herbal medicine and also training doctors . chinese herbals have achieved acceptance in the west with many practitioners . india needs to do same . create databank of all traditional medicine utilised in whole of india . have reseach labs to prove effecy of these plants . train doctors specialising in this field . promote it overseas . drug manufacturers will hate you for doing this as it will hurt their multi billion dollar industry .