Get Involved
About Us
Our Members
Indian Government Funding Medicinal Herb Gardens in Schools

The Indian government’s National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) launched a new program in 2006 to help fund the establishment of medicinal plant gardens in local schools.1 The Board is currently attempting to select at least 500 schools from all over the country for inclusion in the initial phase of this program.

According to a press release from the NMPB, the purpose of this new project is to foster a sense of belonging and interest in children toward biodiversity and its conservation, particularly of medicinal plants, which contribute to holistic healthcare in both traditional and conventional systems of medicine. Schools up to the senior secondary/intermediate level will be eligible to participate in the program.

Funding will be provided so that each school may raise an herbal garden of about 1/10 of a hectare (a hectare = 2.5 acres). The cost of establishing the herbal garden will include land development, irrigation, transportation of planting material, organic manure, barbed wire fencing, and other materials. Schools will also be given funding for maintenance of the garden throughout its second year. Each state and Union Territory in India has its own State Medicinal Plants Board (SMPB) working for NMPB, so the funding provided by NMPB will be routed through these state offices. Marketing of cultivated medicinal plant species will be made through networking of SMPBs, traditional herbal products and drug manufacturers, and other areas of commerce.

Within six months of the announcement of the new program, a total of 359 project proposals were submitted by schools interested in participating. According to a press release from the NMPB, this immediate response by country-wide schools “reflects the interest and awareness of schools in the medicinal plants. This interest will be a milestone in developing the medicinal plants sector and the conservation of biological diversity in the days to come.”1

There is growing interest in cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants used in systems of Ayurvedic, Unani, and other forms of traditional medicine. The article “India’s Foundation for the Revitalization of Local Health Traditions,” published in HerbalGram issue 68, describes the history and mission of an organization known as the Foundation for the Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT).2 This organization has established an extensive system of gene banks and conservation sites throughout India to study and protect traditionally-used medicinal plant species, which are now considered at risk due to over-harvesting, in conjunction with local communities.

  1. Herbal gardens in schools [press release]. New Delhi, India: National Medicinal Plants Board; March 23, 2007.

  2. Khan SK, Karnat NM, Shankar D. India’s foundation for the revitalization of local health traditions. HerbalGram. 2005;No. 68:34-48.