A proposal to CM of Odisha and Higher Education Task Force: “National Institute of Ayurveda” is a must in Gandhamardan area

November 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

Respected Mr. Patnaik, CM of Odisha and Members of the Higher Education Task force,

I appreciate the formation of higher education task force by the state government.  Also, I am hopeful that such innovative steps will definitely sharpen the higher education of Odisha.


I would like to request the higher education task force to recommend the establishment of a “National Institute of Ayurveda” in Gandhamardan area in western Odisha. I am sure many of us are aware of the potential of Gandhamardan mountain and medicinal plants in it.

In this document, I am presenting the details about the “Gamdhamardan mountain as a reservoir of medicinal plants” with scientific references; thereby, making a case for the establishment of a National Institute of Ayurveda.

I am sure our respected CM, who is the author of the “Garden of Life: An introduction to the Healing Plants of India” will take this matter seriously. Also, I am hopeful that the higher education task force will take the necessary steps; so that, “the medicinal plants in Gamdhamardan mountain” will not get lost with time.

Please have a look on the following write-up for further details.

Thanking you with best regards,



1. “National Institute of Ayurveda” is a must in Gandhamardan area: Introduction and Analysis:

Gandhamardan mountain range is known world wide as a reservoir for medicinal plants. It is located in the western Odisha. More specifically, it is located in between Balangir and Bargarh district (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Map showing location of Gandgmardan mountain in between Balangir and Bargarh district

Many eminent scholars of life sciences have done a lot of research on the medicinal plants available in this mountain range. In fact, this hill range is legendary. It has found a place in folklore and mythology -of how Hanuman plucked Bisalyakarani, a medicinal plant, from this hill to save the life of Laxman in the battle of Lanka in “The Ramayana”. In addition, it is known to the whole world how this hill range was at the centre of one of the most prominent ecological movements, that is, the battle between environmentalists keen on protecting aryurvedic plants and the then state-owned Bharat Aluminium Corporation.

Apart from this, there are many scientific journals and books that are mentioning about the potential of medicinal plants available in Gandhamardan mountain (see the reference list)1-5. The state/central govt must establish a “National Institute of Ayurveda” in this place. Right now, both Balangir and Bargarh (Paikmal) each have one Ayurvedic College. Establishing a national level institute on Ayurvedic Medicine will help to a great extent to these colleges by carrying out research in emerging areas. Recently, research on ayurvedic medicine is attracting considerable attention in India and abroad.

It is important to note that, significant developments have boosted systematic research on different aspects of ayurveda and traditional medicine in India. They include the Golden Triangle project jointly managed by CSIR, ICMR and AYUSH; the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) of CSIR and various schemes of DST and DBT.

Additionally, ayurveda is also entering to the mainstream “Drug Discovery”. Following graph show the growing demand of research on Ayurvedic medicine.

Figure 2 Scopus citations as on 21 June 2009 for Ayurveda in ‘title, abstract and keywords’3

In addition to this, a paper by “Reddy and Pattnaik” from the Forestry and Ecology Division, National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad 500 037, Andhra Pradesh, India points out many interesting facts about “Gandhamardan hill” 4.

It states that, after analyzing and studying the plant resources of Gandhamardan hill range a total of 912 vascular species belonging to 556 genera under 142 families were found. Herbs dominate the flora followed by trees, climbers and shrubs.

Therefore, proper conservation and management plans are needed to save the natural resources, especially medicinal plants, of this sacred hill range. Many botanists fear that this reserve of medicinal plants could be lost in the next few years if proper care is not taken and the indiscriminate collection and smuggling of herbs by local villagers is not stopped. The state forest department which is supposed to guard this botanical wealth is not able to do enough to stop all these developments because they lack of the knowledge and expertise about these plants. In fact, they have no clue which are useful medicinal plants and which are not.

In addition, in these places there is no organized way of farming of the medicinal plants. They just grow in the wild. Therefore, it is very difficult to guard these species. Taking the advantage of this situation any villages or smugglers can walk into the forest and collect the herbs. It is very important that the government should takes steps to grow these plants, harvest these properly, and finally do the marketing of these medicinal plants and herbs in a well organized manner. It should take care of the cultivation and preservation of these plants like it is doing for other forest products like sal seeds or kendu leaves etc.

However, intellectually this problem can be solved by establishment of a National Institute of Ayurveda. The above discussion/ description/ scientific observation strongly suggests the establishment of a National Institute of Ayurveda near Gandhamardan mountain.

2. Following are some of my points in support of establishing a National Institute of Ayurveda in Gandhamardan area:

  • West is very much keen on establishing institute on ayurveda. One such successful institution is the National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine established by Dr. Scott Gerson, USA, (http://niam.com/corp-web/index.htm). This is an example of an institute that has carried out research into Ayurvedic practices to a great extent. In this context, we must use our native expertise. In addition, the National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine, USA can be a collaborative partner for establishing an institute Gandhamardan area.

  • This mountain is very important to all of us and to the world. We should use our natural medicinal resources very judiciously. It is also very surprising that no steps have been taken for the preservation of these high-valued plants. It is the right time to establish a National Institute of Ayurveda in this area.

  • As we know this mountain range is a reserve for medicinal plants. Therefore, it will provide adequate environment for cutting edge research/studies in different areas of ayurvedic medicine per international standard.

  • Establishment of a National Institute of Ayurveda will help for organized way of farming the medicinal plants; which just grow in the wild. This will also help in preserving different rare species of plants.

  • This Institute will provide a boost to the ongoing research/academic activities by Ayurvedic College Balangir and Shri Nrusinghanath Ayurved College Paikmal, Bargarh on this area. Along this line, establishing a National Institute of Ayurveda will make this place a leader in this area of science in national/international level.
  • This step will attract companies like Dabur, Ayur, and others to set-up labs/companies in this area.

  • From the above discussion it is very clear that research fundings are already available from the leading agencies of India like CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), DST (Department of Science & Technology), and DBT (Department of Biotechnology). So, there will be no problem in setting up labs and developing infrastructure.
  • There is a lot of synergistic research going on between Ayurvedic, Homeopathic and Allopathic branches of medicine. This is very clear from our day-to-day life as Allopathic doctors often prescribe medicines of Dabur, Neem, etc. Therefore, establishment of such an institute will further enhance the research between this National Institute of Ayurveda with other institutes viz. VSS Medical College, SCB Medical College etc. of the state.

3. The following steps need to be taken to establish a National Institute of Ayurveda in Gandhamardan

  • Immediately, the state govt. should present a proposal to the HRD Ministry for establishing National Institute of Ayurveda in Gandhmardan area.

  • Along the line of the above institutes, the state govt. in collaboration with govt. of India must establish a National Institute of Ayurveda in Gandhamardan area.


1. Netra Bhanu Pradhan, Gandhamardan – A treasure House of Medical Plants, Navaratna Journal, Jan-Feb, 2008, 41-44.

2. Ayurveda: scientific research and publications, Current Science, 2009, 97( 8), 1117-1122

3. C. Sudhakar Reddy and Chiranjibi Pattanaik, An Assessment of Floristic Diversity of Gandhamardan Hill range, Orissa, India. Bangladesh J. Plant Taxon. 16(1): 29-36, 2009

4. Following are some of the research papers taken from the reference list of the paper 3 (Papers only with the name Gandhamardan are taken)

Brahmam, M. and Saxena, H.O. 1990. Ethnobotany of Gandhamardan hills – Some noteworthy folk medicinal uses. Ethnobotany 2: 71-79.

Brahmam, M. and Saxena, H.O.1990. Phyto-chemical screening of the plants of Gandhamardan hills of Orissa (India) for tannins, saponins, flavonoids and alkaloids. Asian J. Plant Sci. 1: 71-79.

Misra, R.C. 2004. Therapeutic uses of some seeds among the tribals of Gandhamardan hill range, Orissa.Indian J. Traditional Knowledge 3: 105-115.

Misra, R.C. and Behera, G. 1998. Ecological status of Gandhamardan forests using remote sensing techniques. In: Biodiversity Conservation: Problems and Prospects. Proc. National Seminar on Biodiversity Conservation, Bhubaneswar, India, pp. 75-80.

Misra, R.C. and Das, P. 1998. Vegetation status of Nrusinghanath – Harishankar complex, Orissa. J. Econ.Taxon. Bot. 22: 547-554.

Mishra, R.C. and Das, P. 2003. Wild poisonous seeds: Some notable species from Gandhamardan Hill ranges of Orissa. J. Econ. Bot. 27: 513-518.

Misra, R.C. and Das, P. 2004. Vegetation stratification of Gandhamardan hill range, Orissa using remote sensing techniques. J. Econ. Taxon. Bot. 28: 429-438.

Mishra, R.C., Panda, P.C. and Das, P. 1994. Lesser known medicinal uses of plants among the tribals of Gandhamardan hill ranges, Orissa. In: Gupta, B.K. (ed.), Higher Plants of Indian Subcontinent, Vol. III, Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh Publications, Dehra Dun, India, pp. 135-142.

Mishra, R.C., Panda, P.C. and Das, P. 2001. A taxonomic study of the ferns and fern allies of Gandhamardan hills, Orissa. J. Econ. Taxon. Bot. 25: 577-590.

Panigrahi, G. 1963. Gandhamardan Parbat, Orissa – A potential source of important indigenous drugs. Bull. Reg. Res. Lab. 1: 111-116.

Pattanaik, C. and Reddy, C.S. 2007. Medicinal plant resources of Gandhamardan hill range, Orissa: An urgent need for conservation. Natl. Acad. Sci. Lett. 30: 35-38.

Raju, D.C.S. 1960. Vegetation pattern of Gandhamardan hills. Bull. Int. Soc. Trop. Ecol. 1: 21-22.

Saxena, H.O. and Brahmam, M. 1995. Vascular flora of Gandhamardan hills. J. Econ. Taxon. Bot. 19: 113-132.

5. NOTE: This is not the complete list of references. Because of time limitation I have collected as much as I can.

Entry filed under: Health Care Facility, National Institute of Ayurveda (Proposal sent to CM).

Farmers of Western Odisha in the tight grip of drought Ministry of water resources has agreed to send the proposal of lower Suktel irrigation project

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