The Banned Herb

Kaushal Kotwal
Nagchattri (Trillium Govanianum) kutki kar sangi saffron, an endangered medicinal herb is most sought after medicinal species of Himalayas. A native species of Himalayas is distributed from Pakistan to Bhutan.
The plant is a small herb 15- 25 cm in height with a central inconspicuous  purplish brown flower borne at the apex of stem and surrounded by leaves, the leaves are broad three in number with a conspicuous  petiole. The underground part, tuber of the plant is the key material of smuggling and trade. It is reported to contain trillarian and is used in preparation of sex harmones.
This herb is found in  Bhaderwah, Kishtwar and H.P. Inside dhauladhar  mountain range where every possible bit of this herb is searched  and uprooted. It is since last two years that its demand seems to be increasing in the market. The raw material is reported to be sold at the rate of 1,000 – 1,500. per kg dry weight. Average weight of Tuber  is 3-4 grms. The collectors  collect 8- 10 kg of tubers per day from the forest of higher heights of Himalayas.
Owing   to huge   demand of  this herb, full bags of the herb are sourced  smuggled. Though the plant is used for curing dysentery in some parts of  Uttrakhand but in our state people do not use it for that purpose. Some people who know its value smuggle it to the other parts of country through middle men and even to international market.
Recently many cases of Nagchhatri smuggling were reported and big consignments  were caught at Lakhanpur tool post and by Doda police.
The survey for generating information on current status of Nagchhatri becomes necessary as at present the species is not under cultivation.There is great scope for research as the herb is a medicinal plant and has economical potential .
It is suggested that a research team should be deputed to the areas of Himalayas and more and more information be scientifically sougul to get more knowledge  about Nagchhatri  and other precious herbs which grow in higher Himalayas of Bhaderwah, Kishtwar and H. P.