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First Indian National Conference and Workshop on Ethnopharmacology

Volume 2 Number 3 - May 1994
Professor P. Pushpangadan

The first Indian National Conference and Workshop on Ethnopharmacology was held at Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala State, southern India, 24-26 May 1993. The Conference was organised by the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI), Palode, Thiruvananthapuram, sponsored by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and co-sponsored by the State Committee on Science, Technology and Environment (STEC), Government of Kerala. It was attended by 200 delegates from India and abroad. The delegates consisted of tribal, traditional, folkloristic and modern medical practitioners, pharmacologists, phytochemists, ethnobotanists and practitioners of Indian systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Amchi.

Sri. K. Karunakaran, Hon. Chief Minister of Kerala, inaugurated the Conference. Prof. M.G.K. Menon, President, International Council of Scientific Union, delivered the presidential address. Prof. Ulf Nyman, Royal Danish School of Pharmacy, Copenhagen, Denmark, Shri. K.N. Johri, Director, Centre for Science and Technology for Non-Aligned and other Developing Countries, New Delhi and Shri. K. Chandrasekhara Varier, Managing Director, International Institute of Ayurveda, Coimbatore, India, facilitated the Conference. Dr R. Ravikumar, Chairman, STEC, welcomed the delegates and Dr P. Pushpangadan, Director, TBGRI proposed the vote of thanks.

The Conference was divided into six lecture and one poster session. A total of 17 review and 57 original research papers were presented. The central themes of the conference were:

  1. Theoretical and conceptual foundations of traditional systems of medicine (Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Amchi)
  2. Integration of traditional and modern systems of medicine with special emphasis on pharmacological aspects
  3. Ethnomedicobotanical, ethnomedico-zoological and folkloristic studies
  4. Ethnopharmacological and pharmacochemical investigations
  5. Development of newer methodologies for ethnopharmacological studies
  6. Ethnopharmacology and future drug development.

Tribal and traditional physicians participated in the conference, demonstrating living specimens of little-known or hitherto unknown medicinal plants from the forests, together with the preparation and application of several herbal drugs. A special session in vernacular languages, i.e.. Malayalan and Hindi, was conducted to encourage the active participation of indigenous physicians.

The proceedings of the conference will be available by March 1994. For further details kindly contact the Director, Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Palode, Thiruvananthapuram - 695562, Kerala, India.