World is endowed with a rich wealth of medicinal plants. The variety and sheer number of plants with therapeutic properties is quite astonishing. It is estimated that around 70,000 plant species, from lichens to towering trees, have been used at one time or another for medicinal purposes. The herbs provide the starting material for the isolation or synthesis of conventional drugs. In India, medicinal plants have made a good contribution to the development of ancient Indian Material Medica. During the past one century there has been a rapid extension of the allopathic system of medical treatment in India. It generated commercial demand for pharmacological drugs and their products in India. Efforts have been made to introduce many of these drug plants to farmers. Several research institutes have undertaken studies on the cultivation practices of medicinal plants, which were found suitable and remunerative for commercial cultivation. The publication of Agros Dictionary of Medicinal Plants marks the birth of treatise covering about 4000 plants at one place. The major objective of launching this publication is not to replace other authoritative dictionaries/glossaries but to highlight the economic uses of medicinal plants along with their vernacular names.
Medicinal plants have curative properties due to the presence of various complex chemical substances of different composition, which are found as secondary plant metabolites in one or more parts of these plants. These plant metabolites, according to their composition, are grouped as alkaloids, glycosides, corticosteroids, essential oils, etc. During the past decade, a dramatic increase in exports of medicinal plants attests to worldwide interest in these products as well as in traditional health systems. In the last 10 years, for example, India's exports of medicinal plants have trebled. The pharmaceutical industries have made massive investment on pharmacological, clinical and chemical researches all over the world in past five decades. Efforts have been made to discover still more potent plant drugs. In fact, a few new drug plants have successfully been passed the tests of commercial screening. The benefits of these efforts would reach to the masses in future if farmers initiates commercial cultivation of medicinal plants. In fact, agricultural studies on medicinal plants, by its very nature, demand an equally large investment and higher priority. India, in particular, has a big scope for the development of pharmaceutical and phytochemical industry. We hope that such wide-ranging coverage of medicinal plants will certainly benefit growers, pharmaceutical and ayurvedic herbal companies, extractors, exporters, importers, large and small-scale organic cultivators, seed production companies, farmers, nursery men, scientists of various research institutes, consultants, planters associations, herbal hospitals, etc.