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Times of India
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India

Medicinal Plants to Get Quality Tag
India’s medicinal plants will now come with a special "good quality tag" with the government putting in place a voluntary certification scheme for medicinal plant produce based on good agricultural and field collection practices. This, the government said, will enhance confidence in the quality of India’s medicinal plant produce and make available good quality raw material to the ayurvedic and herbal drugs industry.

The step comes after Europe had placed a ban on all ayurvedic and other herbal medicines from May 1st onwards. Under the scheme, launched jointly by the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) and the Quality Council of India (QCI), any producer/collector or group of producers/collectors can obtain certification from a designated certification body (CB) and will be under regular surveillance of the certification body.

An option of getting a lot inspected and certified has also been made available. India has 15 agro climatic zones and 18,000 species of plants, of which 7,000 are estimated to have medicinal usage in folk and documented systems of medicine, like ayurveda, siddha, unani and homoeopathy. Dr G J Gyani, secretary general of QCI, said, "The aim is to provide medicinal plants producers a means of differentiating themselves based on quality and sustainability and obtaining international acceptance for the scheme in the long run."

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