Probiotics are live microorganisms that offer health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. They are often found in fermented foods like yogurt and can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, improve digestion, and boost the immune system.
Golden Rice: This is one of the most well-known examples of biofortification. Golden Rice is genetically modified to produce beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. It helps combat vitamin A deficiency, a major health issue in many developing countries.
Iron-Biofortified Beans: Iron deficiency anaemia is a widespread health problem, especially among women and children. Iron-biofortified beans are bred to have higher levels of iron, making them a more nutritious food source.
Zinc-Biofortified Wheat: Wheat is a staple crop for many people, but it often lacks essential nutrients like zinc. Zinc-biofortified wheat varieties are developed to provide higher levels of zinc, addressing zinc deficiency.
Saussurea lappa, commonly known as Kuth or Costus, is a perennial medicinal plant that holds a significant place in traditional herbal medicine systems due to its various therapeutic properties. Kuth (Saussurea lappa) is a herb belonging to the family Asteraceae. The genus Saussurea contains a range of about 300 species native to regions of Asia, Europe, and North America. The essential oil content of aromatic plants varies considerably between species, relating to growing conditions and the region where it is found. The majority of essential oil is concentrated in roots while other parts also contain a small amount of volatile oil. S. lappa has a huge demand in the pharmaceutical industry, but in the past decades, it has become more popular over the globe as endangered species.
Rheum emodi (Rhubarb) is a perineal stout herb belonging to the family polygonaceae and has been cultivated for over 5000 years for its medicinal properties. It is distributed in the temperate and subtropical regions of the world, especially in Asia and can be cultivated at an altitude above 1800m. The herb is reported to possess antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, anticancer, wound healing and immune enhancing activity and is commonly used worldwide herb and often known as “the wondrous drug” because of its extensive medicinal uses. Rhubarb contains a variety of compounds like flavonoids, anthraquinone glycosides, tannins, volatile oils and saponins and has long been used as an ingredient of purgative, laxative and stomachic. Paradoxically, although larger doses were used as a laxative, small doses were used to treat dysentery and diarrhoea. Rhubarb has also been used in jams, jelly and sauces of its tart flavour. There are three main types of rhubarbs, viz. the Chinese Rhubarb, the Indian Rhubarb, and the Rhapontic Rhubarb. Chinese Rhubarb comprises of dried rhizomes of Rheum palmatum L., and Rheum officinaleBaill. Rheum emodi, commonly known as Indian or Himalayan Rhubarb, is official in Indian Pharmacopeia
Jurinea dolomiaea Boiss., commonly known in Kashmir as dhup, is of the family Asteraceae. It is endemic to the Himalayas and is distributed from Pakistan to East Nepal between 3000 and 4300 m in open slopes (Chauhan, 1999). It is an important medicinal and aromatic herb of North Western Himalaya and is being exploited because of its medicinal value. A decoction of the roots is cordial. It is given in the treatment of colic and puerperal fever. The juice of the roots is used in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea and stomachache. The crushed root is applied as a poultice to eruptions (Chopra et al., 1956). The root extract is used as incense (Manandhar, 2002). In India, J. dolomiaea has been used as an aphrodisiac (Sekar and Srivastava, 2005). In Jammu and Kashmir, the plant is used for the treatment of eye infections and it aromatic oil from its roots is useful in gout and rheumatism (Kumar et al., 2009).
Inula royleana, commonly known as Poshgar, is a medicinal plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It has been widely used in traditional medicine systems for its therapeutic properties. The plant is native to the Himalayan regions and has gained attention due to its various bioactive compounds and potential medicinal uses.
Berberis lycium, commonly known as Indian Barberry or Kasmal, is a shrub that belongs to the Berberidaceae family. It is native to the Himalayan region and is widely distributed in countries such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nepal. Berberis lycium has been recognized for its medicinal properties and is an important component of traditional medicine systems in these regions. In recent years, scientific research has also shed light on its various bioactive constituents and potential therapeutic uses.
Angelica glauca, commonly known as Himalayan angelica or Chora, is a perennial herbaceous plant that belongs to the family Apiaceae. It is native to the Himalayan regions of Asia and is known for its medicinal and aromatic properties. Angelica glauca has a rich history of traditional uses and has also been the subject of scientific investigation due to its potential therapeutic benefits.
Ajuga bracteosa is indigenous to the high-altitude regions of the Himalayas, primarily found in India, Pakistan, and Nepal. It thrives in alpine meadows, rocky slopes, and forest clearings at elevations ranging from 2,500 to 4,500 meters above sea level. The plant’s adaptation to harsh environmental conditions has contributed to its resilience and survival in these regions.
As a poison
The roots of A. ferox supply the Nepalese poison called bikh, bish, or nabee. It contains large quantities of the alkaloid pseudaconitine, which is a deadly poison. The root of A. luridum, of the Himalaya, is said to be as poisonous as that of A. ferox or A. napellus.
Several species of Aconitum have been used as arrow poisons. Aconitum poisons were used by the Aleuts of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands for hunting whales. Usually, one man in a kayak armed with a poison-tipped lance would hunt the whale, paralyzing it with the poison and causing it to drown. Aconitum tipped arrows are also described in the Rig Veda.