Every country has its traditional health care practices. These practices have evolved
based on cultutre, philosophy, geographical conditions, flora, and mineral resources. From
historical point of view it is evident that plants, metals, minerals and animal products extremely used in alleviating the wide range of disease conditions. History of use of natural products of medicinal value can be traced from remote past.
Ever since dawn of history man has been in pursuit of new substances that could
cure illness and promote health and longevity. Ayurveda, one such science that philosophises
is not merely treating the illness, but counter balancing the disequilibria that results in disease. It is the traditional system of medicine holds out to the world, the promise of healthy long life.
Ayurveda literally meaning the science of life is a comprehensive system of health
care of great antiquity, based on experiential knowledge and grown with perpetual additions.
Original dimensions of Ayurveda are in built in the ancient compendia of Indian wisdom
called Vedas, which are believed to be documented around 6000 years back. Rigveda and
Atharvaveda are replete with information on health and maladies and their management
with natural modes and modalities. The knowledge expanded further will laying down of
fundamentals and concepts of Ayurveda and systematization in classical texts like Charak
Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Astang Sangrah.
India, endowed with rich diversity in its flora and fauna is considered to be one of
the top twelve mega-diversity countries of the world. Being a subcontinent, it encompasses
15-different agro-climatic zones, 10 vegetarian zones, 25 biotic provinces and 426 biomes.
Almost all the shades of climates, from the hottest Thar desert to arctic environment in
Himalaya, with intermediate gradations, occur in India. The nature of diversity in environmental regimes and its position at the tri-junction of African, Eurasian and Oriental biotas
have enabled India to harbour over 125,000 species of living organisms, constituting about
5% of known species of the world. India probably harbors additional 400,000 living species,
especially of the microorganisms, to be discovered and documented in the near future.
This country has very rich elements of endemics in its flora. It has been estimated that
about 35% of the higher plant flora is endemic to India. Out of the 18 hot spots of biodiversity
identified in the world, India has two hot spots located in the eastern Himalaya and Western
Ghats containing, 3,500 and 1600 endemic species of higher plants respectively.
About 65% of population in India is reported to use Ayurveda and medicinal plants to
help meet their primary health care needs and the safety of this vibrant tradition is attributed
to time tested use and textual reference.
Rasayana therapy is a specialized branch of clinical medicine in Ayurveda meant for
slowing the effect of ageing and to improve intelligence, memory, complexion and sensory
and motor functions. Numerous single and compound Rasayana drugs possessing diversified
actions like immune-enhancement, free-radical scavenging, adaptogenic or anti-stress and
nutritive effects are described in Ayurveda literature for their use in health promotion and
management of diseases with improvement in the quality oflife. Many classical preparations
are in routein practices in India and outside, like famous Chavanaprasha, Aswagandha Chuma
A vast number of indigenous plant drugs coupled with innumerable claims of their
varied uses in alleviating wide range of Geriatric problems calls for scientific validation for
their attributes and principles. The present compendium comprises of information on about
thirty-five Ayurveda and Siddha medicinal plants used in Geriatric Care, common formulations, and a profile of Evidence based Research on Safety and Clinical efficacy.
I thank Dr. M. M. Rao, Assistant Director (Ay), Dr. Sobran Singh, Dr. Sulochana,
Dr. Sarada Ota, Dr. Meher, Dr. B. Das, Research Officers (Ay) and Dr. Joseph, Research
Officer (Botany) for their needful support. Thanks are also to Dr. Archana Jain, Dr.
Bharadwaj, Dr. Babita Yadav, Dr. Nikhil Jirankalgikar, Dr. Rajesh Singh, Senior Research
Fellows (Ay) for their technical assistance. Thanks also to Librarian and other staff of
library for their cooperation.
I also appreciate Dr. R.G. Agarwal, Research Officer (Chemistry), Mr. Narender, Mr.
Upendra from Publication section for their tireless efforts in bringing out this publication.
The services rendered by Miss. Meenakshi and Miss .Neha, Data Entry Operator for their
untried efforts in providing secretarial Assistance.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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