Three medicinal plant species found in the Himalayas have made it to IUCN Red List of Threatened Species following a recent assessment.
Meizotropis pellita has been assessed as ‘critically endangered’, Fritilloria cirrhosa as ‘vulnerable’, and Dactylorhiza hatagirea as ‘endangered’.
Meizotropis pellita –
- Meizotropis pellita, commonly known as Patwa, is a perennial shrub with restricted distribution that is endemic to Uttarakhand.
- “The species is listed as ‘critically endangered’ based on its limited area of occupancy (less than 10 sq. km),” the study stated.
- The species is threatened by deforestation, habitat fragmentation and forest fires.
- The essential oil extracted from the leaves possesses strong antioxidants and can be a promising natural substitute for synthetic antioxidants in pharmaceutical industries.
Fritillaria cirrhosa –
- Fritillaria cirrhosa (Himalayan fritillary) is a perennial bulbous herb.
- According to the study, a decline of at least 30% of its population over the assessment period (22 to 26 years).
- Considering the rate of decline, long generation length, poor germination potential, high trade value, extensive harvesting pressure and illegal trade, the species is listed as ‘vulnerable’.
- In China, the species is used for the treatment of bronchial disorders and pneumonia.
- The plant is also a strong cough suppressant.
Dactylorhiza hatagirea –
- The third listed species, Dactylorhiza hatagirea (Salampanja), is threatened by habitat loss, livestock grazing, deforestation, and climate change.
- It is extensively used in Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and other alternative systems of medicine to cure dysentery, gastritis, chronic fever, cough and stomach aches.