Medicinal plants have long been used in traditional cultures all over the world and are increasingly becoming popular as natural alternatives to synthetic medicines. The high cost and side-effects of modern drugs, multiple drug-resistance and lack of curative treatment for chronic diseases has rekindled interest in the traditional systems of medicine. Ayurveda is the oldest and most widely practiced traditional system of India, known for its preventive, restorative and holistic mode of treatment. Many medicinal plants used in Ayurveda are effective against many chronic diseases of skin, hepatic disorders, rheumatic diseases, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, respiratory ailments, cognitive disorders and other immunological and lifestyle diseases. The traditional uses of many medicinal plants have been scientifically authenticated by several experimental studies on model animals, human cell lines and clinical trials.
The handbook provides illustrated descriptions of 30 common medicinal plants used in Ayurveda, including botanical names, names of the family, common English and Hindi names, the plant parts used, brief description of the plants, major phytochemicals, therapeutic potential and medicinal uses. The introductory chapter deals with the importance of medicinal plants in Traditional systems of medicine and gives a brief overview of the concepts and terminology of Ayurveda system of medicine. A special feature is a glossary that defines the medical terms that have been used in the book for easy comprehension. The handbook provides the reader valuable information about the traditional as well as current uses of selected medicinal plants. It is addressed to undergraduate and postgraduate students of botany, teachers, academicians, researchers, practitioners of traditional and alternative medicine and all those interested in herbal medicine. The book will generate interest in the rich diversity of medicinal plants used in the Ayurveda system of medicine and the importance of preventive, holistic healing in management of health and disease.