Many traditional Nepalese herbs have been shown to have medicinal, cosmetic, cultural,and nutritional values among different ethnic communities. The extracts, oils, resins,ash or plant parts are used to prepare the medicines, supplements and cosmetics due to their properties for various ailments of the skin, hair, stomach, liver and dental care. The prospect of herbal product development in Nepal in this era is very challenging due to limited technology, policy issues, research funds, experts and market values. But current initiation can generate new opportunities for future directions of international standard product development within the country. The private sectors, particularly the Ayurvedic industries of Nepal, are heavily involved in developing value-added products that claim to be highly effective for daily usage and avoid side effects. Out of the highly traded 300 medicinal plants of Nepal, approximately 85% plants are exported in crude form to more than 50 countries worldwide. Bulk amounts of medicinal plants are mostly exported to India. It is agreed that, improving traditional medicine, standardizing raw materials quality, isolation of active molecules, or new innovations opens the doors to improved financial avenues. Pharmaceutical, agribusiness, cosmetics, personal care, fragrance, botanicals, food and beverage industries are currently doing bio-prospecting of Nepalese medicinal plants. However, there is a significant gap in terms of patenting and sharing the knowledge gained from the specific domain. Most of the academic institutions in
Nepal are working on medicinal plant-based research in different perspectives. Only
a few are focusing on herbal product development, commercialization, and revenue
generation through the finished products. National level trainings, industry-academia
linkage, development of Nepalese herbal pharmacopoeia, medicinal plants export policy, biotechnology, research and development (R&D) facility, formulation development, and product standardization are few key components that should be prioritized for promotion of herbal products within the country. To accomplish this target, researchers, scientists, academicians, industry professionals, and students should collectively work on a common platform from the conceptualization of value-addition ideas to detailed revenue collection from both domestic and international markets. Local medicinal plants can be developed into various dosage forms such as tablets, capsules, ointments, creams, gels, microspheres, transdermal patches, and so on using ethno-botany knowledge from Nepal’s indigenous cultures. The phytochemical and common pharmacological strategies such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, wound healing, analgesic, antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory etc. of plants might lead to the early discovery and commercialization of local herbs.
Keywords: Bioprospecting, Ethnobotany, Herbal formulation, Plant biology, Technology