Cancer cure: BHU scientists develop new variety of Rishyagandha

New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS)
Banaras Hindu University (BHU) scientists have developed a new variety of medicinal plant Rishyagandha which has the properties to treat all types of cancer, especially cervical.
After eight years of long research, the new variety was developed using nano-biotechnology. The research done on the basis of Indian Ayurveda is now being approved by scientists of many countries.
Rishyagandha is mainly available in the dry hot climatic conditions of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
Rishyagandha is commonly known as ‘Paneer flower’ or ‘Paneer bandha’ and in scientific language as ‘Withania coagulans’. Generally, its seeds are used for making paneer in dairy industry, as it has enzyme protease.
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’.
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.
Prof. Shashi Pandey from Department of Botany, BHU told IANS, “scientists at Banaras Hindu University have grown high quality medicinal plant Rishyagandha in their lab by uitlising nano-biotechnological approach. This is a latest example of integrating technology in Ayurveda research and taking the ancient medical science of India to the masses.”
Prof. Shashi Pandey 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.
Prof. Pandey said 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 synthesised nanoparticles were also studied using laboratory grown plant extracts as a potent drug against cervical cancer.
Continuing this research work, Prof. Pandey found that synthesised nanoparticles and UV-B treatment in the laboratory conditions enhanced the yield of Rishyagandha with a quantitative increase of about 50 per cent in its medicinally useful compounds withanolides.
Prof. Pandey told IANS: “By integrating nano-biotechnological approaches, we can conserve the plant in nature along with its enhanced medicinal potential.
New researchers of lab are now extending this work towards finding out the effect of different exnvironment factors on the production of the compounds Rishyagandha.”
Recognising Pandey’s effort, recently she has been elected as a member of Genome India International (GII).
“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,” Prof. Pandey added.

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