India's Northeast could soon turn out to be a major global herbal destination, with hundreds of herbal experts in the region staking a claim to the $65-billion world market for alternative medicines.
At least 300 tribal herbalists in Meghalaya have formed an institution - the Khasi School of Medicine - to promote and market the region's more than 500 exotic medicinal plants.
"There are herbs available in the region having cures for ailments from cancer to burns and epilepsy to paralytic strokes, besides a host of other diseases," Alka Kharsati, a woman alternative medicine practitioner in the state capital Shillong, said.
"All we need is patronage from the Indian government to make this unorganised sector grow into a full fledged industry," said Kharsati, 35.
President APJ Abdul Kalam has taken a personal initiative to market the region's rich biodiversity.