The University of Karachi’s International Centre for Chemical and Biological sciences (ICCBS) has launched the website, www.folkmedsindh.com.pk to promote the study and research of folk medicine.
Murad Ali Shah after inauguration of the website estimated with Rs. 23 million cost lauded the University’s step to protect the herbal medicines of the region.
Folk medicines, also known as traditional or herbal medicines, are being used by people in the rural areas for centuries and have proved effective, experts said.
“By launching the website and collecting data on folk medicines, we have protected it from being patented by Western pharmaceutical researchers,” , said ICCBS director Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary.
Dr. Chaudhry said the data has been collected through surveys on folk medicines and diseases carried out in the past four years. The researchers — who worked under the supervision of Dr Farooq Soomro, and including 12 other members who are dermatologists, chemists and biochemists – covered all 27 districts of Sindh. “The Sindh government had been very generous and cooperative throughout the project,” said Dr Choudhary. “It allocated an amount of Rs23 million for surveys and the website.”
These efforts have been made to protect our ancient herbal techniques. “The basic aim of this webpage is knowledge for the future generation, protection of knowledge against intellectual property and to spread information,” said Dr Choudhary, adding that this is the first-of-its-kind website that will prevent Pakistani knowledge from being pirated. The Indian government already has this website in 16 languages and over all 29 states, he added.
The website is currently in the English language but the ICCBS plans to translate it into Urdu and Sindhi so that more people can use it.
The use of medicinal plants for healing are as old as the mankind itself. Awareness of medicinal plants usage is a result of the many years of struggles against illnesses due to which man learned to pursue drugs in barks, seeds, fruit bodies, and other parts of the plants. Sindh, being the most ancient civilization of the world, has a vast knowledge and unbroken tradition of the use of the plants for a variety of purposes. Medicinal use of plants has been recorded in many treatises, historical documents, and travelogues of ancient Sindh.