Ayurveda Current Affairs

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Neurocalyx calycinus plant possesses medicinal values

Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) have confirmed the multiple therapeutic properties of Neurocalyx calycinus, a medicinal plant endemic to the southern parts of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka

The therapeutic properties of the plant were discovered based on traditional knowledge of Cholanaickan tribe, (one of the particularly vulnerable groups in Kerala) used it to treat inflammations and wounds.

Key Facts
  • The herbal drug formulation derived from Neurocalyx calycinus possesses burn-healing, wound-healing, anti-cancer, analgesic, immuno-enhancing, anti-inflammatory, platelet-augmentation and anti-oxidant effects.
  • Animal trials have proved that the leaves of this medicnal plant possess wound-healing properties comparable to the standard drug Povidone/Iodine in the early phase of inflammation.
  • The anti-inflammatory activity of the leaves was found comparable to the drug diclofenac sodium. The pre-clinical trials also have confirmed the therapeutic effects of N.calycinus against burn wounds and pain.
  • The presence of high Vitamin E content and potent cytoprotective activity in cell lines has also enhanced the prospects of developing an anti-cancer drug. Besides it also has immuno-enhancing, platelet augmentation, and anti-oxidant potential.

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Kerala to seek Union government’s approval for using deer antlers in Ayurveda medicines

The Kerala Government has approached the Union Government for allowing use of antlers of spotted deer and sambar of Ayurveda medicines.

In this regard, Kerala State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) under chairmanship of CM Pinarayi Vijayan has forwarded proposal to National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and Ministry of Environment and Forests.

SBWL is seeking suitable amendments to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for using the antlers for medicinal purposes.

What are Antlers?antlers

Antlers are the extensions of the deer’s skull. There are three deer varieties deer, sambar, and barking deer having
antlers and are found in Kerala. They shed their antlers annually. It is believed that antlers have medicinal values and are mainly used for invigorating spleen, strengthening bones/muscles and boosting blood flow. 

What is the issue? 

The Kerala SBWL had approved a request from the state-run Oushadhi to collect and use antlers shed by spotted deer and sambars in zoos for preparing ayurvedic medicines. However, the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 prohibits (bans) sale and use of antlers in India. Tonnes of antlers are kept in the stores of Department of Museums and Zoos as the sale and use of antlers are banned. SBWL is seeking suitable amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act for using the antlers for medicinal purposes.

What Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 says?

The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, has included antler in the definition of wildlife trophy that may be whole or any part of any captive animal or wild animal. Section 39 of the Act prohibits person from acquiring or keeping trophies in his possession without the previous permission of Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorised officer. Wildlife and wildlife trophies are considered to be owned by the government. The Act prescribes imprisonment up to 3 years and a fine of Rs. 25,000 for offences involving wildlife trophies.

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