The Alarming Degradation of Paris Polyphylla – A Medicinal Plant Species Of Nagaland

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Image Credit : The University of British Columbia (UBC) Botanical Garden Official Website

 

Priyanka Sarkar

Paris Polyphylla, also known as Himalayan Paris, is a significant medicinal plant found in Northeast Indian regions, especially in Nagaland. The perennial herb has found it’s application as an antitode, utilized for curing some typical diseases that have caused havoc amidst the humankind since decades. It is used to cure cancer, bacterial infections, and many others.

These herbs are widely distributed in the high altitude elevations in Nagaland.

With the loss of green cover in Nagaland, due to extensive usage of “Slash and Burn” and “Jhum” cultivation, and the forest fires have led to paris polyphylla transform into an endangered medicinal herb.

But the degradation of it’s population at an alarming rate, has mounted an immediate concern among the botanists around the world. Currently, the species are spread in small patches across the state.

According to the American Journal of Plant Species, paris polyphylla is under constant threat due to illegal trade to neighbouring countries like – Myanmar. While, snails and slugs – the key predators of the fruits causes the death of the enlarging ovary.

These biological agents are highly sensitive to sunlight, which causes the herbs to droop down. Besides, moisture content rate found in the soil was found to be a crucial feature for its growth. Water retention causing a destruction to the stem base of the species.

According to the International Journal of Conservation Science, the propagation of the herb stands to be an obstacle, due to the high level of seed dormancy, which needs to face two winters and a summer in natural environments.

Rhizomes of paris polyphylla are used as antihelmintic, antispasmodic, digestive stomachic, expectorant and vermafuge, scabies, rashes, or itching problems, and even to treat liver cancer. Meanwhile, roots of the herbs is used to fed cattle with diarrhea and dysentery.

A herb with so much utilization requires conservational approaches at the earliest. Locals should be educated about its importance and conservation.

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