Phytochemical and ethnopharmacological overview of endangered Homalomena aromatica Schott: An aromatic medicinal herb of Northeast India
Northeast India falls under the Indo-Burma mega biodiversity hotspot and is considered one of the richest repositories of aromatic and medicinal plants in the World. The region is also known for its rich ethnic diversity comprising about 130 major tribes and 300 sub-tribes or groups. Each ethnic tribal community utilizes wide varieties of plant species as food and medicine. However, of late, this rich plant diversity of the region has been threatened mainly due to ever increasing pressure of anthropogenic interferences including large scale jhuming and unsustainable collection of forest resources from its natural habitats. Homalomena aromatica Schott. is one such aromatic medicinal herb found in this region. The rhizomes are known to possess medicinal properties like antiinflammatory, analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, sedative, antispasmodic, treating joint pain, and skin infections. The rhizomes contain an essential oil having mainly sesquiterpenoids group that is used for blending of most oriental perfume. It has a high demand in perfumery and cosmetic industries. The spent material after oil extraction is largely used in Dhup manufacturing. However, despite its importance, conservation of this herb is one of the major challenges confronting the region. Large-scale indiscriminate collection directly from its natural habitat has endangered this species. This review presents a comprehensive overview of ethnomedicinal uses and phytochemical composition of the essential oil of H. aromatica. It also highlights the economic potential and future research directions towards conservation and utilization of H. aromatica.
Essential oil, Homalomena aromatica, Rhizome, Sugandhmantri
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