A Herbal Medicinal Garden spread across an area of 10 hectares is coming up in Leh to help conserve valued medicinal plants from the Trans Himalayan region. The project is expected to help in research of medicinal plants for usage in treating human ailments and enriching human lives, the Ayush Ministry said on Thursday.
The announcement was made during the laying of foundation stone for the new NISR complex at Saboo Thang area in Leh on Thursday by Union Ayush Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
“The strength and immense potential that the traditional Indian medicinal practices possess must be fully utilised to help people recover from their ailments and help them enjoy a quality life. Our rich heritage has given us practices like Sowa Rigpa which has benefitted people from the Himalayan region since time immemorial,” Sonowal said while speaking at the occasion.
The new NISR infrastructure is expected to provide a much-needed modern platform for propagating the rich India medicinal heritage from the Himalayas, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday. It said the new complex will be developed in an area of 120 kanal by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) and will act as the premier centre of Sowa Rigpa in the country.
To be built at a cost of ₹ 25 crore in the first phase, the revamped NISR complex will be developed with hospital block, hostels, staff quarters, etc, it added.
The ministry said the planned investment along with eventual boost to the faculty strength at NISR is aimed at developing the institute as a Centre of Excellence to Sowa Rigpa locally, nationally and globally. The academic block is scheduled to be completed by 2023.
According to the ministry, the NISR was set up as per the decision of the Union Cabinet, under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on November 20, 2019. It was formally registered on 13 April, 2020.
What is Sowa-Rigpa?
According to the Ayush Ministry, Sowa-Rigpa is one of the oldest, well documented and living medical traditions of the world. It has very strong roots for public health and socio-cultural system of Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Ladakh and other trans-Himalayan regions.
Sowa-Rigpa has great potential in promoting health and wellness, nutrition, pharmaceutical and cosmetics needs of people which in turn can act as a multiplier of economic growth of the region.
Study on Sowa Rigpa
The ministry further stated that the NISR has already signed MoUs with IIM (CSIR), TKDL (CSIR), FHRI, ICFRE, Amity University and MorajiDesai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) and started collaborative research work on Sowa-Rigpa and Medicinal Plants of Trans-Himalayas.
It said the NISR has also started Under Graduate courses for students aspiring to study Sowa Rigpa from academic year 2021-22. The Bachelor of Sowa Rigpa Medicine & Surgery (BSRMS) is a 5.5 years course affiliated to University of Ladakh. A total of 10 students, selected through NEET exam, have already enrolled in this programme.
NISR is conducting research on Sowa Rigpa literatures, formulations, disease, demographic study, medicinal plants survey, documentation and conservation.
Cultivation study on Rhodiola plants
The ministry stated that a cultivation study of Rhodiola plants was carried out successfully by the institute at its herbal garden. A collaborative study by NISR, with the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR) Jammu and Amity University, is also initiated to explore its scientific potential. Plants like Rhodiola have potentials to contribute for rural economy of Ladakh.
Free Sowa-Rigpa treatment and therapy
The ministry stated that thousands of patients are benefited every year with Sowa-Rigpa treatment. NISR is also providing Sowa-Rigpa treatment and therapy for general public free of cost in its Hospital in Leh and Zanskar and through Mobile Medical Camps under TSP projects.
The event was also attended by MoS for Ayush and WCD Dr Mahindrabhai Kalubhai Munjpara and MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Pramod Kumar Pathak, special secretary, Ministry of Ayush; Advocate Tashi Gyalson; chairman of LAHDC; principal secretary, health and medicinal education, Govt of Ladakh; and Dr Padma Gurmet, Director, NISR among other senior officials of the Ayush Ministry.