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Arogyapacha: ‘Miracle Plant’
- 24 Jun 2019
- 3 min read
Scientists from the University of Kerala have decoded the genetic make-up of Arogyapacha (Trichopus zeylanicus), a highly potent medicinal plant endemic to the Agasthya hills.
- This ‘miracle plant’ is known for its traditional use by the Kani tribal community to combat fatigue.
- Studies have also proved its varied spectrum of pharmacological properties such as antioxidant, aphrodisiac, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-tumour, anti-ulcer, anti-hyperlipidemic, hepatoprotective and anti-diabetic.
- The project is bound to open up a new window to the plant’s molecular secrets, the genome and annotation data will be a valuable resource to expedite research on Arogyapacha, particularly its secondary metabolism, genetic breeding, and comparative studies.
- Traditionally Kani tribes are a nomadic people. They are indigenous to tropical forests of the Agasthyamalai hills of the Western Ghats, a mountain range in Kerala. They have a population of almost 25,000.
- Kani has a rich tradition of using wild plants found in the region for health reasons. The tribal physicians, known as Plathi – are the exclusive holders of the traditional medicinal knowledge of the tribe.
- According to Kani tribal customs, only the Plathi have the right to transfer and disseminate their traditional medicinal knowledge.
- Agasthya hill is a 1,868-metre (6,129 ft) tall peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Western Ghats of Kerala. The peak lies on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This peak is a part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve which lies on the border between the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- The peak is named after Hindu sage Agastya, who is considered to be one of the seven rishis(Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas. It is a pilgrimage centre for devotees.
- The Thamirabarani River is a perennial river which originates from the eastern side of the range and flows into the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
- In Tamil traditions, Agastya is considered as the father of the Tamil language and the compiler of the first Tamil grammar called Agattiyam. The Malayalam language is considered to be born from Agasthya.
- Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is among 20 new sites added by UNESCO to its World Network of Biosphere Reserves in March 2016.