The state of Manipur is situated in the north eastern border of India lies between 23°47’N and 25°41’N latitudes and 93°61’E to 94°47’E longitudes. The state covers an area of about 22,327 sq.km. of which the mountains cover about 91.75% and the valley about 8.25% of the total geographical area of the state. The State is rich in her plant resources distributed among various agro-climatic zones. Invariably, the rich flora meets the day to day needs of the people living therein. Over the ages, the bounty of nature has enriched the arts and culture of the people.
The plant resources of Manipur with a forest cover of 78.01 percent of the total geographical area (about 17418 sq. km.) lies under explored amidst different types of climatic zones ranging from Tropical to Mountain Temperate forests, including the elements of adjoining Myanmar flora in the eastern boundary, inaccessible drainage forests of the western Manipur. Made picturesque to perpetual perfection by divinely diversified flora and heavenly hedged to fancied fauna’s heaven, Manipur is home to a host of species hard to spot elsewhere. One who makes an overture at tourist adventure in this state will be greeted with pleasant surprises ranging from virgin forests to cascading water falls, freezing Mao’s chill to melting Moreh’s heat, breath-taking hill-sites, valley-view and streams flowing to lakes leveled by shades of emarald. It is thus blessed with amazing varieties of fauna and flora. Depending upon the altitude of hill ranges, the climatic condition varies from tropical to sub-alpine. One comes across wet forests, the temperate forests and pine-forests in different regions of the state and they together sustain a host of rare plant and animal species. Some of the most beautiful and precious blooms, orchids and flowers find their natural habitat in Manipur. Their beauty and colour dazzle the eyes of the beholders. There are 500 varieties of orchids which grow in Manipur of which 472 have been identified. “Siroy Lily”, the only terrestrial lily, is grown on the hill-tops of Siroy hill in Ukhrul district of Manipur.
The North Eastern States of India are very rich in Bio-resources. The Indo-Burma border is considered as one of the bio-diversity hot spot. Apart from the Indo-Burma bio-diversity hot spot all the hills surrounding the valley area of Manipur are very good source of Medicinal plants. But due to lack of management of record of the identified medicinal plants and survey of the resources available the medicinal plants are growing without any use. If the medicinal plants are recorded in a database, it can be very useful for research Scientists not only in the State but also in the Country. At present the Ayurvedic/Homeopathic Doctors are also producing good valued medicines out of herbs and plants. The database will certainly be helpful to the researchers for bringing out many important drugs which can cure various ailments.
There are hundreds of medicinal plants available in the forests of Manipur which need to be explored and well documented for the reason that deforestation is taking very fast threatening to a number of rare species which in turn become extinct. The State is inhabited by 29 ethnic groups of people. The plant resources of Manipur are depleting fast. The most serious biotic factor to influence the vegetation is the man himself. The most harmful are the practices of shifting cultivation commonly called Jhumming, felling of trees for timber and fuel-wood and for the preparation of land for terrace cultivation or agro-horticultural practices, particularly for which the hill-slopes are depleted of the natural vegetation. It is necessary to document all the information related to resources through scientific investigations for a detailed database information system of medicinal plants and their uses.
The people of Manipur even today are conventionally using herbs and vegetables as folk medicines along with the mystic incantation (mantra) and oracles (Laiphao) of the local traditional physicians known as Maiba (male) and Maibi (female). In fact, herbal medicines are vital and usually administered in several ways, depending on the type of the plant and nature of ailments. It is worth mentioned that healthy condition of the average people shows a strict co-relation between medicinal plants and food habit. People in the remote villages used to prefer herbal medicines prescribed by the village traditional physicians to the modern therapeutic treatment. Manipur has its own identity which is completely ethnic in character and culture. The village traditional physicians(Maiba – Maibi ) can also read the pulse and diagnose the causes of various diseases and treatment has been done using the traditional applications of herbal medicines.
In the implementation of the project the following methodology was adopted.
Formation of Local Project Advisory Committee (LPAC):
A Local Project Advisory Committee was constituted to monitor the progress of the project and to advice from time to time for successful implementation of the project. The Committee members comprised of experts from various Academic, R&D institutions, Departments etc. in the state with representatives from the funding organisation.
Survey for Data Collection:
For collection of data from the local traditional medical practitioners as well as from the published sources a questionnaire was developed in consultation with the LPAC. Surveys were conducted in various places of all the districts of Manipur and more than 20 traditional medicinal practitioners were consulted/interviewed and the informations collected from them were in corporated in the database.
Apart from field survey literature surveys were also carried out for collection of secondary data from published sources available in the International, National and local publications on Medicinal Plants.
Database Format :
On the recommendation of the LPAC a database format was prepared in its 1st LPAC meeting for preparation of a computerized database of Medicinal Plants of Manipur as given in this report. A database of 400 medicinal plants have been prepared under the project in a user friendly computerized database having quary system too. The database of 400 species of medicinal plants consisting of 125 families and 293 genera is also available in the website www.mastec.nic.in
LIST OF THE LOCAL PROJECT ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS
- Member Secretary, – Chairman
Manipur Science & Technology Council, Imphal
And Commissioner (Science & Technology) Govt. of Manipur
- Dr. Rakesh Chetal, – Member
Director, NSTMIS Division
Dept. of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, New Delhi.
- Dr. A.N. Rai – Member
PSO, NSTMIS Division,
Dept. of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, New Delhi.
- Dr. H. Nandiram Sharma – Member
Retd. Reader, Dept. of Botany
D.M. College of Science, Imphal.
- Prof. M. Mohendro – Member
Retd. Prof. & Head, Dept. of Physiology
Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal.
- Dr. N. Rajmuhon Singh – Member
Prof. & Hrad, Chemistry Dept., Manipur University, Imphal.
- Dr. L. Somorjit Singh – Member
Selection Grade Lecturer, Botany Dept.,
Modern College, Imphal
- Dr. P. Kumar Singh – Member
Associate Prof. Life Sciences Dept.,
Manipur University Imphal
- Dr. H. Birkumar Singh – Member
Scientist i/c RRL, Imphal Sub Centre, Imphal
- Shri Th. Surendranath Singh – Convenor
Principal Investigator of the Project.
- Shri Ch. Sarat Singh – Co- convenor
- Shri Th. Surendranath Singh – Principal Investigator
- Shri Ch. Sarat Singh – Principal Co-investigator Scientific Officer
- Dr. (Mrs) W. Indira Devi – Research Associate
- Ms.W. Phajatombi Devi – JRF
- Shri L. Sharat Singh – Computer Operator
- Shri Th. Churjit Meitei – Computer Operator
We are grateful to Dr. Laxman Prasad, Advisor & Head, NSTMIS Division, Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India; Dr. Rakesh Chetal, Director, NSTMIS Division, Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and Dr. A.N. Rai, PSO, NSTMIS Division, Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India for providing financial support and continual support and encouragement extended from time to time in the implementation of the project.
We extend our sincere gratitude to Shri M.A. Sattar, Commissioner (Science & Technology), Govt. of Manipur for giving us valuable guidance and suggestions in the implementation of the project.
We wish to express our gratitudes to Shri A. Luikham, the then Commissioner (S&T) Govt. of Manipur and Shri L.P. Gonmei the then Commissioner (S&T) Govt. of Manipur for giving us valuable suggestions and encouragement in the implementation of the project.
We are highly indebted to all the Members of the LPAC and local experts particularly Dr. H. Nandiram Sharma, Retd. Reader, Dept. of Botany, D.M. College of Science, Imphal: Prof. M. Mohendro, Retd. Prof. & Head, Dept. of Physiology, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal: Dr. N. Rajmuhon Singh, Prof. & Head, Chemistry Dept., Manipur University, Imphal: Shri. L. Somorjit Singh, Selection Grade Lecturer, Botany Dept., Modern College, Imphal: Dr. P. Kumar Singh, Associate Prof. Life Sciences Dept., Manipur University Imphal: Dr. N. Rajendro Singh, Manager, Manipur Development Society, Imphal: Dr. H. Birkumar Singh, Scientist i/c RRL, Imphal Sub Centre, Imphal and Dr. Th. Brojendro Singh, Lecturer, Chemistry Dept., Oriental College, Imphal for their tremendous support and guidance without which the project could not have been completed successfully.
Many thanks are also due to the Local Traditional Medical Practitioners for providing huge amount of information on medicinal plants of Manipur.
We would also like to extend our thanks to all the officers and staff of Manipur Science & Technology Council (MASTEC) who help us directly or indirectly in the implementation of the project.
For and on behalf of the project team
(Th. Surendranath Singh)
Principal Investigator & Executive Director, MASTEC