KARACHI: Getting information on folk medicines used for centuries in the provinces has become easier with a new website that lists all such alternative medicines.
The University of Karachi's International Centre for Chemical and Biological sciences (ICCBS) launched the website, www.folkmedsindh.com.pk, on Wednesday to promote the study and research of folk medicine.
Folk medicines, also known as traditional or herbal medicines, are being used by people in the rural areas for centuries and have proved effective, said ICCBS director Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary. "By launching the website and collecting data on folk medicines, we have protected it from being patented by Western pharmaceutical researchers," he said.
The data has been collected through surveys on folk medicines and diseases carried out in the past four years starting 2011. The researchers — who worked under the supervision of Dr Farooq Soomro, and including 12 other members who are dermatologists, chemists and biochemists - covered all 27 districts of Sindh. "The Sindh government had been very generous and cooperative throughout the project," said Dr Choudhary. "It allocated an amount of Rs23 million for surveys and the website."
All these efforts have been made to protect our ancient herbal techniques. "The basic aim of this webpage is knowledge for the future generation, protection of knowledge against intellectual property and to spread information," said Dr Choudhary, adding that this is the first-of-its-kind website that will prevent Pakistani knowledge from being pirated. The Indian government already has this website in 16 languages and over all 29 states, he added.
The website is currently in the English language but the ICCBS plans to translate it into Urdu and Sindhi so that more people can use it.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2015.
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