The family Orchidaceae is one of the largest flowering plant families with a cosmopolitan distribution. Orchids are profusely growing, particularly in the humid tropics and subtropics. Due to the variety of climatic conditions, India is rich in orchid flora. The Darjeeling Himalaya situated in one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world (Eastern Himalaya) is a virtual goldmine of orchids. The Darjeeling Himalayan region has a rich diversity of medicinal orchids and rich heritage of traditional medicinal practices. Folk medicinal systems like the Nepali Jadi-Buti, the Lepcha system, and the Tibetian medicine are completely based on local plants. To get the data on the traditional uses of ethnomedicinal plants, 20 key informants were interviewed. Quantitative ethnobotanical indices, i.e., fidelity level (Fl) and preference ranking (Pr), were calculated for recorded ethnomedicinal plants. The present ethnobotanical study mainly concerns about 25 species of orchids belonging to 18 genera, including 20 epiphytes and five terrestrials that have been used by the Lepchas of the Darjeeling Himalaya to treat 30 kinds of diseases. Most of the plants have high curing capacity, which could be used in pharmaceutical research in order to achieve adequate revenue. Some of the plants in the study area are facing threats due to anthropogenic activities; hence, sustainable harvesting and conservation initiatives are needed in this region. The conservation and multiplication of important medicinal orchids should go hand in hand, and people concerned with the conservation program should get economic incentives. However, no efforts have been made till date for the preservation of the germplasm, their identification, and the estimation of active compounds from medicinal orchids. So the time has come to think globally and act locally.

Full Text

Published Version
Open DOI Link

Get access to 115M+ research papers

Discover from 40M+ Open access, 2M+ Pre-prints, 9.5M Topics and 32K+ Journals.

Sign Up Now! It's FREE

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call