Herbal drug formulations have been an integral part
of traditional system of medicines for centuries. In the last some portion of
twentieth century, Western Nations understood the significance of customary
drug frameworks as the one that has greatest evacuation of wellbeing sicknesses
with least antagonistic impacts in a biological system (Sharma et al., 2008; Tovar et al., 2009). Knowledge explosion
through globalization has made tremendous use of traditional medicines. Which
thus has ended up synonymous with rich social legacy of South East Asian
nations extraordinarily India and China as specified generally in the Vedic literature
(Jain et al., 1991). However, the mode of utilizations of the diverse
restorative entities is deficient. Mostly the underground parts of  medicinal plants Rhizome/tuber/roots are being
utilized for curing diverse diseases. Out of many medicinal herbs of Himalayan
origin some species of the genus such as Aconitum,
Angelica, Berberis, Dactylorhiza, Nardostachys, Picrorhiza, Podophyllum and Zanthoxylum has also become rare and
endangered. Such herbs are now badly demanded in the global markets. Thus,
there is an urgent need to focus such herbs for the benefit of humankind. However,
ethno botany has emerged as an important branch of scientific study which
concentrates on the utility of various plant species and their properties as
sustenance, medication and different uses (Allen
et al., 1990; Cotton et al., 1997). North western area of
Himalayas spreads 18% of the Indian subcontinent represents more than half of
India’s woods and contains 30% of India’s endemic species. The range harbors
around 8,000 types of higher plants of which 1,748 are utilized for therapeutic
purposes (Samant et al., 1998, Gaur et al.,
1983). There are numerous remote
ranges in the Indian Himalaya that contain a rich conventional information on
the utilization of restorative plants which is currently under procedure of
documentation including advanced documentation utilizing cutting edge
instruments and strategies (Semwal et al., 2007).

Many herbs originated from higher plants are real
wellsprings of characteristic items utilized as pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and
for aesthetic values such as fragrance, food additives including cosmetics (Balandrin et al., 1988). The quest for new plant inferred chemicals ought
to in this way be a need in present and future endeavors toward reasonable
protection and sane usage of biodiversity (Phillipson
et al., 1990). In the search for
alternatives to the production of new entities from plants, biotechnological
approaches, specifically, plant tissue culture tools and techniques are found
to have potential as a supplement to modern agriculture in the industrial
production of  bioactive secondary metabolites
(Rao et
al.,  2002). Cell suspension
culture systems could be utilized for large scale culturing of plant cells from
which secondary metabolites could be extracted. The benefit of this method is
that it can ultimately provide a continuous, reliable source of natural
products (Mulabagal et al., 2003).  

The World Health Organisation appraises estimates
that around 80% of the developing world human population relies on customary
pharmaceuticals and that, of these, 85% plants or their concentrates utilized
as the active substances (Sheldon et al., 1998). This implies near 3
billion human population depend on plants for their health.. Most plausible scenarios
today recommend that human beings are liable to lose as much as half of an
estimated total of 10 million species of living life forms before this present
century’s over (Ehrlich et al., 1981; Gadgil et al., 1986). Almost 25% of the evaluated 250,000 types of vascular plants
on the planet may get to be wiped out inside the following 50 years (Raven et
al., 1987; Schemske et al., 1994). Since such a loss will
be irreversible it is clearly a matter of prime human worry to turn away it (Kala,1999).

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India is one of the 12-mega biodiversity centers’
having about 10% of the world’s biodiversity wealth, which is circulated
crosswise over 16 agro-climatic zones. Out of 17,000 types of higher plants
answered to happen inside India, 7500 are known not restorative uses (Shiva et
al., 1996 ).

Continuous abuse of few medicinal plant species from
the wild and substantial loss of their habitats during the previous couple of
years have brought in the population decline of numerous high esteem medicinal
plant species throughout the years. (Planning
Commission, 2000; Kala et al.,2003).
The essential dangers to therapeutic plants are those that influence any sort
of biodiversity utilized by people (Rao et al., 2004). The weakening of
customary laws, which have managed the use of natural resources, is among the
causes undermining therapeutic plant species. (Kala et al., 2005). These
customary laws have regularly ended up being effortlessly weakened by current socio-economic
strengths (Belt et al., 2003). There are
numerous other potential reasons for irregularity in medicinal plant species,
for example, the escalated and expanding commercial collection often
concentrated in few areas, habitat specificity, narrow range of distribution,
land-use disturbances, introduction of non-natives, habitat alteration,
climatic changes, destructive harvesting techniques, the largely unmonitored
trade heavy domesticated livestock grazing, blast of human population, discontinuity
and debasement of population, trade structure changes in countries, population
bottleneck and genetic drift (Kala et al., 2000; Weekley et al., 2001; Oostermeijer et al., 2003; Lange et al., 2004; Kala et al.,
2005). The quantity and efficacy of a herbal drug formulation is influenced
due to the presence of desired contents and combination of major chemical
constituents, which in the vast majority of the case are secondary
metabolites. Plant secondary metabolites are highly diverse in their chemical
structures and are arranged into three major groups: terpenoids, phenolic
compounds such as flavones and nitrogen containing alkaloids. More than 36,000
terpenoids, 12,000 alkaloids, and 10,000 flavonoids have been found, although
this represents only a fraction of what exists in nature (Chen et al.,
2007;  Fang, 2011).

kurroa Royle ex. Benth. is a critical therapeutic herb (Family:
Scrophulariaceae) predominantly found in the Western Himalayan region, between the
elevation of 3000-5000 m (Hooker et al., 1885, Chopra et al., 1934, Blatter, 1984; Jain, 1996;
Agrawal, 2003). It is valued as a hepato-protective, immunomodulator, anti-
periodic, anti-inflammatory, stomachic, anti-oxidant, anthelmintic, carminative,
expectorant, cardio-tonic, laxative etc. (Chopra
et al., 1934, Uphof, 1959, Singh et al., 1983; Kapoor, 1990; Kapahi et al., 1993; Bhatt et al., 1996; Gaddipati et al.,
1999; Prajapati et al., 2003).

Aqueous rhizome extracts of P. kurroa have demonstrated hepatoprotective and antioxidant
properties on CCl4 induced
liver toxicity in albino rats (Shivraj et al., 2011), antioxidant and
anti-neoplastic activities (Rajkumar et al., 2011) and a iridoid
glycoside isolated from the roots was an effective immmuno modulator particularly
to enhance macrophage capacity amid contaminations (Sidiq et al., 2011),
Recently rhizome extracts of P. kurroa
have have likewise appeared to have hostile to malarial action (Singh et
al.,  2011; Irshad et al., 2011). The vast majority of the medicinal plants either do not produce
seeds or seeds are too little and do not  germinate in soils. Therefore, cultivation  of such medicinal herbs is becoming a common problem
and as a result exploitation from natural habitat cannot be avoided.  However, the P. kurroa propagates vegetatively through stolons, which at first
emerge as a young bud, develop to a full grown stolon and then eventually into
a rhizome with independent shoots and roots (Raina et al., 2010). Biotechnological
tools are imperative for augmentation and hereditary improvement of the medicinal
plants by embracing systems, for example, in
vitro regeneration and genetic transformations. It can also be harnessed
for generation of secondary metabolites utilizing plants as bioreactors. In vitro propagation of plants holds tremendous
potential for the generation of splendid plant-based pharmaceuticals (Murch et
al., 2000). Micropropagation is the practice of rapidly multiplying
stock plant to create an extensive number of descendants’ plants, using modern
plant tissue culture techniques which has favorable circumstances over traditional
strategies of vegetative propagation (Nehra
et al., 1994). With micropropagation, the multiplication rate is greatly
increased along with the production of   healthy planting  material (Tripathi
et al., 2003).  

Numerous sub-culturing have some adverse effect on quantity/quality
of secondary metabolites and in order to maintain or enhance  quality/quantity of secondary metabolites the
experiments have been designed to study the effect of various elicitors during in vitro cultures. We have to analyse if
the elicitors have positive or negative effect on secondary metabolite
production. Accordingly large scale isolation and production of medicinal
principles at pilot/industrial level can be designed. Elicitors refers to
chemical/biochemical compounds/substances from different resources, that can
trigger a reaction in living creatures bringing about different secondary metabolites.
Elicitation is procedure of impelled or improved amalgamation of secondary metabolites
by the plants to ensure their competitiveness and survival ingenuity.

Keeping in view the medicinal importance of P. Kurroa, it is necessary to take
current study with the following objectives:


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