Herbs and medicinal plants have caught the imagination of Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences authorities.
The city-based health hub, in association with Ayush, the department of Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, Unani, siddha and homoeopathy of the Union health ministry, is developing a first-of-its-kind herbal garden in the state. Coming up on 1.5 acres on the IGIMS campus, the garden would help tap the curative, purifying and therapeutic properties of the plants.
The garden, with 108 varieties of herbal plants brought from Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and other states, will open to the public by the end of November this year. Till a few years ago, the garden site had drains.
IGIMS director Arun Kumar said: "The herbal garden would acquaint people with the medicinal values of such plants." He added that tulsi (basil, botanical name Ocimum sanctum) could be easily found in every household but apart from religious importance, the plant can cure diseases such as cough, cold and even cancer. Similarly, ashwagandha (botanical name Withania somnifera) acts as a power booster and increases energy.
The director said the herbal garden would aim to encourage the clinical trials with the help of extracts from these plants and document their medicinal values.
Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Growers' Association of Bihar secretary Krishna Prasad, looking after the project, said: "Boards carrying the local and botanical names of the plants and information on their medicinal values will be put up to educate the public."
The biochemistry, pharmacology and pathology departments of the IGIMS will jointly conduct research on the medicinal value of herbal plants.
Prasad added that efforts were on to tie up with the health and education departments to bring students to the garden on tours to teach them the medicinal importance of herbal plants. Sources said in the first phase, around Rs 2.5 lakh would be spent on developing the garden.
Kumar, the IGIMS director, said: "The hospital authority would take consent from patients' relatives before administering them herbal medicines. It would keep records of how the patients respond to herbal medicines."
A distillation unit would be set up at the garden, where serum would be extracted from plants to make medicines.