India Region

Ashwagandha is an Immunity booster medicinal plant with entrepreneurial possibilities: Prof. B.R. Kamboj

Report By Jag Mohan Thaken 

12 March 2024, New Delhi: Prof. B.R. Kamboj, the Vice Chancellor of Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University addressing a workshop organized on the subject of the Ashwagandha campaign in the Agriculture College of the University said, “There is a need for farmers to cultivate Ashwagandha and make others aware about it.”

This workshop was organized by the Medicinal, Aromatic and Potential Crops Section of the Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding of the University with the support of the National Medicinal Plants Board, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India. 

Prof. B.R. Kamboj said that Ashwagandha is a valuable gift of nature. Due to its unique properties like Immunity Booster, it has also been given the name of ‘royal herb’. Given the increasing demand for this medicinal plant in the modern era, scientists should do more and more research on Ashwangdha and develop new varieties of it. 

While addressing as Chief Guest, Prof. B.R. Kamboj said that in India, 65 percent of the population especially in the rural areas use Ayurveda and medicinal herbs to meet their primary health care needs. Ashwagandha is one of the most popular Ayurvedic medicinal herbs known for its strong tonic action for the entire human body. Roots of ashwagandha are utilized in more than 200 formulations in Ayurveda and Unani medicine systems. In the Indian ancient system of medicine, it was used in the treatments of various physiological disorders like tumors and tubercular glands. It also possesses antibacterial, antifungal, and antitumor properties to kill or restrict their growth and development.

One of the famous withanolides, withaferin-A has a very important anti-cancer therapeutic property. World Health Organization (WHO), reported the international market of herbal products is around $6.2 billion, which is expected to grow to $5 trillion by the year 2050. The annual production of ashwagandha roots is around 1123.6 tonnes whereas the present-day requirement is 3222.4 tonnes. Therefore, keeping in view the wide gap between the demand and supply there is excellent scope for farmers to cultivate ashwagandha at commercial scale. Its roots are hard and could be stored for a long time after proper drying. The USA is the largest buyer of Ashwagandha from India accounting for exports of USD 779,111, followed by Australia (USD 84,946) and China (USD 80,407). 

The chief guest also mentioned that in the coming Kharif season, the university will also provide 2 lakh saplings of improved varieties of Ashwagandha to the farmers to promote the cultivation of Ashwagandha. Also, in the present time, the details of Ashwagandha should be included in the curriculum. 

Dean College of Agriculture, Dr. S.K. Pahuja was the keynote speaker and shared the details about the scope of cultivation of the Ashwagandha in Haryana.  Dr. Pawan Kumar, head of the MAP section, presented a detailed report on various competitions, programs, and activities under the Ashwagandha campaign. Senior scientist Dr. Rajesh Arya mentioned the properties of Ashwagandha through poetry. The chief guest also released books entitled ‘Ashwagandha Immunity Booster Medical Plant’ and ‘Ashwagandha Cultivation’. The stage was conducted by Dr. Ravi Beniwal. 

On this occasion, officials of the University, Deans, Directors, Heads of Departments, scientists, researchers, and a large number of farmers and students of various schools and colleges were present. During the Ashwagandha campaign, the immense possibilities of Ashwagandha cultivation and entrepreneurship were discussed in detail.

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