Scientists' fraternity in Uttarakhand has successfully managed to grow Artemesia, which is in near future expected to provide a fillip to production of malaria-related drugs in the state. Research has shown that drug made from this plant is more powerful in treating malaria than chloro-quinine.
It is noteworthy that the demand of Artemesia has abruptly shot up, after World Health Organization recommended the use of Artemesinene in malarial drug after sudden outbreak of epidemic (malaria) in African countries few years back.
Dr Nripendra Chauhan, scientist at CAP (Centre for Aromatic Plant) informed 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.
Elaborating about the medicinal value of Artemesia, Chauhan explained that this plant contains a particular chemical known as "Artemesinene" which is extracted from its leaves and prepared as Art-methar and Art-ether. The content ratio is more than two times higher than its other species.
According to Dr. Aditya Kumar, Vice Chairman, State Medicinal Plant Board, state that now 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.
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.