New Delhi, April 25 : The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved two agreements between India and African island nation Sao Tome and Principe to cooperate in traditional medicine and medicinal plants.
"The Union Cabinet ..has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Sao Tome and Principe for cooperation in the field of traditional systems of medicine and homoeopathy," said an official statement.
The MoU, signed in March, will promote and globalize traditional medicines like ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha, sowa-rigpa (known as Tibetan system of medicine) and homoeopathy, the statement said.
The Ministry of AYUSH has signed similar agreements with countries like Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Hungary, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, Mongolia and Iran.
Another MoU is proposed to be signed with Sri Lanka, it said.
India is blessed with well-developed systems of traditional medicine including medicinal plants, which hold tremendous potential in the global health scenario, it added.
A second MoU between the two countries for cooperation in medicinal plants was also approved, said another statement.
"There is global resurgence in traditional and alternative health care systems resulting in world herbal trade which stands at (Dollar) 120 billion and is expected to reach (Dollar) 7 trillion by 2050.
Moreover, there are a large number of medicinal plants, particularly those found in tropical region, which are common to the two countries given similar geo-climatic factors," it said.
India has a rich bio-diversity with 15 agro-climatic zones.
Of the 18,000-odd species of flowering plants, around 7,000 have medicinal usage in folk and documented systems of traditional medicine.
The statement said about 1,178 species of medicinal plants are in trade of which 242 species have annual consumption levels in excess of 100 metric tonnes per year.
"Medicinal plants are not only a major resource base for the traditional medicine and herbal industry but also provide livelihood and health security to a large segment of Indian population," it said.