Indian Herbal Drug Industry: Challenges and Future Prospects

  • Musadiq H. Bhat
  • Ashok K. Jain
  • Mufida Fayaz


Natural plant products are a source of new chemical compounds and are the choice of today’s human race. There is strong evidence that natural plant products play a significant role in the livelihoods of the rural poor population of the world especially tribal communities in many countries like India. There have been increasing trends in the trade of plant products and their extraction at industrial level, particularly that of medicinally important products. A high trade status of natural plant products at global, national as well as regional level can improve the economy of a nation. It is estimated that 25% people of the most of the countries depend on the plant resources for their livelihood. About 80% of the people living in developing countries depend on non-timber plant products, the most used being medicines and edibles. India is a major exporter of medicinal plants and is estimated that raw materials and drug from medicinal plants of 860 million are exported annually from India. In India, more than 41 million tribals and forest dwellers derive their earnings from these products. India is one of the major exporters of crude drugs mainly to the six developed nations (about 75% of the total exports). The present study gives the detailed account of dependence of rural people especially forest dwellers on medicinal plants for their livelihood in India which are supplied to pharmaceutical industries for the development of various drugs and highlights the present scenario of drug trade in India.


Forest dwellers Livelihood Medicinal Economy 



The authors are highly thankful to Jiwaji University, Gwalior, for providing financial support in the form of Research Scholar Fellowship.


  1. Areki F, Cunningham AB (2010) Fiji: commerce, carving and customary tenure. In: Laird SA, RJ ML, Wynberg RP (eds) Wild product governance: finding policies that work for non-timber forest products. Earthscan, London, pp 229–242Google Scholar
  2. Asfaw A, Lemenih M, Kassa H, Ewnetu Z (2013) Importance, determinants and gender dimensions of forest income in Eastern highlands of Ethiopia: the case of communities around Jelo Afromontane forest. For Policy Econ 28:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Babulo B, Muys B, Nega F, Tollens E, Nyssen J, Deckers J, Mathijs E (2009) The economic contribution of forest resource use to rural livelihoods in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. For. Policy Econ. 11:109–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bouri T, Mukharjee A (2013) Documentation of traditional knowledge and Indigenous use of non- timber forest products in Durgapur forest range of Burdwan district, West Bengal. In: Paper presented in National Seminar on Ecology, Environment & Development 25–27 January, 2013, organized by Department of Environmental Sciences. Sambalpur University, SambalpurGoogle Scholar
  5. Department of AYUSH (n.d.) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Available from
  6. Export Import Bank of India (1997) Indian medicinal plants: a sector study (Mumbai: Export Import Bank of India, Occasional Paper No 54)Google Scholar
  7. Friedman M et al (2007) J Food Sci 72:M207–M213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ghate U, Dube P (2014) Medicinal Plants Study in Madhya Pradesh (M.P.) State (Trade, Farming & Livelihoods) for biodiversity friendly development planning, Final Report of the supported by the M. P. State Biodiversity Board, BhopalGoogle Scholar
  9. Hegde R, Enters T (2000) Forest products and household economy: a case study from Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Southern India. Environ Conserv 27:250–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hunzai K, Gerlitz JY, Hoermann B (2011) Understanding mountain poverty in the Hindu Kush–Himalayas: regional report for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, NepalGoogle Scholar
  11. IMS Health Information and Consulting Services India Pvt. Ltd (n.d.)Google Scholar
  12. Indian Pharmaceuticals 2015, A Mckinsey & Company ReportGoogle Scholar
  13. Jodha NS (2005) Economic globalization and its repercussions for fragile mountains and communities. In: Huber UM, Reasoner MA, HKM B (eds) Global change and mountain regions. Springer, Dordrecht, the Netherlands, pp 583–591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kaimowitz D (2003) Not by bread alone: forest and rural livelihood in Sub-Saharan Africa. In: Oksanen T, Pajar B, Tuomasjukka I (eds) Forest in poverty reduction strategies. European Forest Institute, Joensuu., ISBN: 952-9844-96-4, pp 45–64Google Scholar
  15. Killman W (2003) “Non-wood News”, March 2003, p. 1Google Scholar
  16. Mahapatra AK, Albers HJ, Robinson EJZ (2005) The impact of NTFP sales on rural households’ cash income in India’s dry deciduous forest. Environ Manag 35:258–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mahesh B, Satish S (2008) Antimicrobial activity of some important medicinal plant against plant and human pathogens. World J Agric Sci 4(Suppl. 1):839–843Google Scholar
  18. Malhotra KC, Bhattacharya P (2010) Forest and livelihood. CESS Publisher, Hyderabad, p 246Google Scholar
  19. Marshall E, Schreckenberg K, Newton AC (2006) Commercialization of non-timber forest products: Factors influencing success: lessons learned from Mexico and Bolivia and policy implications for decision-makers. UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge Scholar
  20. NTFP-Exchange Programme for South and Southeast Asia (2011). Annual report. p 11Google Scholar
  21. Pandey AK, Bhargava P, Negi MS (2011) Sustainable management of non-timber forest produce through joint forest management. Indian Forester 137:105–113Google Scholar
  22. Rasul G, Karki M, Sah R (2008) The role of non-timber forest products in poverty reduction in India: prospects and problems. Dev Pract 18(6):779–788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rasul G, Kollmair M (2010) Sustainable livelihood promotion through agricultural development in the hills of South Asia. In: Fonseka H (ed) Hill agriculture in SAARC countries, constraints and opportunities. SAARC Agriculture Centre, Dhaka, pp 167–182Google Scholar
  24. Saha D, Sundriyal RC (2012) Utilization of non-timber forest products in humid tropics: Implications for management and livelihood. For. Policy Econ. 14:28–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Saxena NC (2003a) Livelihood diversification and non-timber forest products in Orissa: wider lessons on the scope for policy change? ODI Working Paper No. 223, Overseas Development Institute, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Saxena NC (2003b) Livelihood diversification and non-timber forest products in Orissa: wider lessons on the scope of policy change. Livelihood Strategy Paper. Department for International Development and Overseas Development Institute, LondonGoogle Scholar
  27. Shackleton CM, Pandey AK, Ticktin T (2015) Ecological sustainability for non-timber forest products: dynamics and case studies of harvesting. Routledge, London., ISBN-13: 978–04157285 91, p 294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shackleton S, Campbell B, Lotz-Sisitka H, Shackleton C (2008) Links between the local trade in natural products, livelihoods and poverty alleviation in a semi-arid region of South Africa. World Dev 36:505–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sharma A, Shanker C, Tyagi LK, Singh M, Rao CV (2008) Herbal medicine for market potential in India: an overview. Acad J Plant Sci 1(2):26–36Google Scholar
  30. Tiwari DD, Campbell JY (1997) Economics of non-timber forest products. In: Kerr JM, Marothia DK, Singh SK, Ramaswamy C, Bentley WB (eds) Natural resource economics: theory and application. India Book House, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  31. Vantomme P (2003) Forest products division. Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization, RomeGoogle Scholar
  32. Wymann von Dach S, Ott C, Klaey A, Stillhardt B (2006) Will international pursuit of the millennium development goals alleviate poverty in mountains? Mt Res Dev 26(1):4–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Musadiq H. Bhat
    • 1
  • Ashok K. Jain
    • 2
  • Mufida Fayaz
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Studies in BotanyJiwaji University GwaliorGwaliorIndia
  2. 2.Institute of ethnobiologyJiwaji UniversityGwaliorIndia

Personalised recommendations