Social Science Baha

Himalayan Plants as a Source of Crude Drugs

Rajendra Gyawali

Traditional healers in Kavre, Lalitpur, Makawanpur, Rasuwa and Dolakha  districts of Nepal have been utilizing the medicinal plants available in these areas which provides immense scope for the detailed study on their therapeutic properties. The research has been carried out on the medicinal plants collected from different geographical locations of Nepal, and twenty two medicinal plants were evaluated for their phytochemical profile, antimicrobial properties against human pathogenic microorganisms, cytotoxic properties. Essential oils of R. anthopogon, C.  glaucescens and Z. armatum oils possessed higher sensitivity to, S. aureus, E. coli and K. pneumonia respectively. Cytotoxic evaluation of these oils showed that R. anthopogan oil was found to be more toxic than C. glaucescens and Z. armatum. Synergistic effect with standard antibiotics and C. glaucescens oil on E. coli and R. anthopogon oil on S. aureus shown positive response.  Astilbe rivularis extract showed effective antibacterial activity towards E. coli. Similarly plant Wikstroemia canescenon showed the potentiality cytotoxic effect and could be used as anticancer agent. Alliumwallichii and Allium sativum were rich source of terpenoids and flavanoids. Methanolic extract from both plants showed broad spectrum of activity against human pathogenic microorganisms and cytotoxic property.  Himilayan Juniperus indica,rich interpenoids, flavanoids and tannins, possesses slight antimicrobial and less cytotoxic properties. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of volatile organic compounds of three medicinal plants of Nepal showed that several bioactive compounds; camphor, borneol, capric acid, furfural, myrtanal, a-pinene, a-terpeniol, perillaldehyde, 2-carene, butyrophenones, furfural, b-caryophyllene, 2-nitropropane  etc were detected with various proportions. Since, high altitude medicinal plants of Nepal possess several phytochemicals with anticancer and antimicrobial properties, utilization of such herbs by ethnic people should be promoted and it is urgent to empowering to all stakeholders of MAPs for resource commercialization.

Keywords: Medicinal plants, crude drugs, phytochemical properties, Rhododendron anthopogon, Nepal