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Picrorhiza kurrooa Royle ex Benth., an Endangered Himalayan Elixir- Medicinal Importance and Exploration of Biotechnological Approaches in Picroside Production

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Although the history of P. kurrooa Royle ex Benth., popularly known as “Kutki or Kadu” dates back to the Vedic era, it has only been about 69 years since research has focussed on exploring its pharmacological properties. It is a small perennial medicinal herb that belongs to the Scrophulariaceae family. Found primarily in the north-western alpine Himalayan region at the altitudes of 3000-4300 meters (amsl), the plant has immense therapeutic and medicinal properties. Uniquely gifted, the plant holds its reputation in the modern system of medicine in the treatment of liver disorders. The species has earned an endangered status lately due to various issues like unawareness on its conservation, harvesting methods, and cultivation besides others. Therefore, various new scientific methods are being developed for its propagation and conservation. This article provides an overview of the therapeutic properties, various mode of propagation as well as the molecular aspects of P. kurrooa. Also, the metabolic engineering strategies to modulate its secondary metabolite picrosides are also discussed.
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Keywords: P. kurrooa Royle ex Benth; medicinal herbs; metabolic engineering; pharmacological properties; picrosides; propagation

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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