HU LAB GROWS HIGH QUALITY MEDICINAL PLANT RISHYAGANDHA USING NANO-BIOTECHNOLOGICAL APPROACH
Banaras Hindu University offers a unique amalgamation of education and research in traditional Indian knowledge and modern sciences at one place. This specialty makes BHU truly the capital of knowledge, not only in India but all across the globe. As a result, scientists and researchers at BHU keep coming up with new studies that prove beneficial to the society as a whole, ultimately serving the larger cause. Keeping true to its name, scientists at Banaras Hindu University have grown high quality medicinal plant Rishyagandha in their lab by uitlizing nano-biotechnological approach. This is a latest example of integrating technology in research in Ayurveda, the need of the hour, in taking the ancient medical science of India to the masses. In Ayurveda, Rishyagandha is acknowledged as an important medicinal plant, which is commonly known as Paneer flower or Paneer bandha and in scientific language as Withania coagulans. It is mainly available in the dry hot climatic conditions of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Generally, its seeds are used for making paneer in dairy industry, the property present due to an enzyme protease.
For past several decades, Rishyagandha is known in Ayurveda for its use in complex health problems like diabetes and cancer. These medicinal properties are mainly dependent on present bioactive secondary metabolites like triterpenes Withanolides and Coagulinolides. But unfortunately, the plant has been included into endangered category due to indiscriminate use and various other reasons. Currently, to maintain the sustainability of this endangered plant and to improve the pharmacological efficiency with high efficacy, various researches are being carried out.
In this context, Prof. Shashi Pandey from Department of Botany, BHU, also undertook a research with her student Dr. Deepika Tripathi eight years ago. The study of Dr. Pandey suggested the potential role of Nano-biotechnology in the improvised version of Rhishygandha along with the high content of bioactive pharmacological compounds withanolides. Dr. Pandey says that initially they developed an efficient protocol to propagate this endangered plant using in-vitro plant tissue culture methods. Further, under collaboration with Prof. Gopeshwar Narayan of Molecular and Human Genetics Department, efficiency of green synthesized nanoparticles were also studied using laboratory grown plant extracts as a potent drug against cervical cancer. Continuing this research work, Prof. Pandey found that synthesized nanoparticles and UV-B treatment in the laboratory conditions enhanced the yield of Rishyagandha with a quantitative increase of about 50% in its medicinally useful compounds withanolides. According to Prof. Pandey, by integrating nano-biotechnological approaches we can conserve and improve the critical condition of Rishyagandha plant in nature along with its enhanced medicinal potential. Studies related to these findings have been published in the prestigious international research journals such as Material Science and Engineering C, Plant Cell Reports and Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants. New researchers of her lab are now extending this work towards finding out the effect of different exnvironment factors on the production of the compounds Rishyagandha. By recognizing her effort recently she has been elected as a member of Genome India International (GII).