650 kg 'Zakhm-e-Hayat', rare Himalayan herb worth Rs 5.5 lakh seized in Doda

A rare medicinal herb worth Rs 5.5 lakh was seized while it was being smuggled from Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday morning, a forest official said.

Acting on a specific input, sleuths of territorial forest department launched an operation on interstate Bhadarwah-Chamba road, connecting Doda with neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, and recovered 650 kg of Zakhm-e-hayat (Bergenia ciliata) worth Rs 5.50 lakh, said an official.

He said the endangered herb was being illegally transported to the Chamba town of Himachal Pradesh and was found dumped in thick bushes.

“We have been getting information regarding smuggling of banned herbs to the neighbouring states. Last night after receiving information about the consignment being smuggled to Chamba through interstate road, we managed to seize the huge consignment packed in 24 gunny bags hidden in the bushes at Bhaderwahi Goth on interstate border, about 51 km from here,” said DFO Bhadarwah, Chander Shekhar.

On June 30th, 500 kg of the same herb was seized from the same area while it was being smuggled to Chamba town.

The rare herb is found in the altitude of 2,500 to 3,800 meter in Himalayan region. Its root is believed to be used to treat kidney stones, crystalluria and renal failure, vertigo and headache, the official said.

The plant, reportedly is in high demand in China and Nepal and also acts as astringent, tonic and has anti-inflammatory effect and is applied as poultice for stiff joints, boils, abscesses and skin infections.