Vijayawada: Forest authorities have refuted claims of Krishnapatnam-based ayurvedic practitioner B. Anandaiah that he is procuring medicinal plants being used in his herbal preparations for Covid cure from Seshachalam forests of Kadapa and Chittoor districts in Andhra Pradesh.
They maintained that they have so far not permitted anyone from the ayurvedic practitioner’s family to collect medicinal plants from Seshachalam forests. They pointed out that many of the plant species being used in herbal medicine of Anandaiah are not found in the Seshachalam forests. The claim that they are procuring raw material from these forests could be just to boost up their brand value, they suspect.
Foresters say there are indeed several species of plants having medicinal value in Seshachalam forests like vepa, neredu, tella jilledu, devaradange, ginger, turmeric, camphor, cinnamon, pepper, cumin, acalypha indica, anjeer and others, some of which the ayurvedic practitioner says he is using in his preparations. But these medicinal plants are also available in plenty in fields, private lands, waste lands, patta lands and other places, authorities point out.
It is learnt family members had earlier approached forest authorities and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams seeking permission to collect medicinal plants from both Seshachalam forests and forests falling under the control of TTD. Authorities then asked them for details of plants and plant material they want to collect and safety norms they would adopt to avoid any damage. But there has been no response from Anandaiah’s family yet, it is stated.
Forest authorities say Seshachalam forests are spread over about 3.75 lakh hectares in Chittoor and Kadapa districts. Except for a few plant species like neredu and others, which grow wherever there are water bodies, the forest does not have plants which are being used in the herbal preparation.
Authorities clarified that local tribals are permitted to collect forest produce like honey through Girijan Cooperative Corporation as per norms. None else is being allowed to either enter or collect forest produce from reserve forests or sanctuaries.
Tirupati divisional forest officer (Wildlife Management) G. N. Pawan Kumar said, “We have not given any permission for collection of medicinal plants for herbal preparation from Seshachalam forests to anyone. Nobody will be permitted to enter the forests without permission.” So is the case with forest under TTD spread over nearly 3,200 hectares in Chittoor district.
TTD’s divisional forest officer A. Chandrasekhar, however, said, “We will extend all support if the ayurvedic practitioner approaches us for preparing a herbal cure for Covid-19.”