CSIR-IIIM’s Janaki Ammal Herbarium (RRLH) and Crude Drug Repository (CDR)

CSIR-IIIM’s internationally recognized Janaki Ammal Herbarium is a national referral facility. CSIR-IIIM received it as a legacy from the Drug Research Laboratory, Jammu, in 1957. Dr. (Ms.) E.K. Janaki Ammal, FNA, had spent around ten years in the CSIR-IIIM, Jammu, in several capacities from 11th November 1959 to 15th April 1969. To honour the immense contributions made by Dr Janaki Ammal in the field of botanical sciences, the Herbarium of CSIR-IIIM, Jammu, was named after her. The acronym RRLH has been assigned to it, registered in Index herbarium at New York, U.S.A. The Herbarium is completely digitized and can be accessed at http://www.iiim.res.in/herbarium/index.htm

A view of a Janaki Ammal Herbarium

The original collection at RRLH comprises a rich collection from all over India by Col. Sir R. N. Chopra, Shri R.L. Bhadwar, and Dr S.L. Nayar under a scheme financed by the Indian Council of Medical Research. The Herbarium was further enriched through the collections made by Dr L.D. Kapur, Dr. S.N. Sobti, and Dr. B.K. Abrol, who were all part of Botanical Sciences from time to time. Dr Y.K. Sarin joined in 1961 as a full-time curator of the Herbarium. He, along with Shri A.K. Dutt, Dr S.K. Kapur, Dr B.M. Sharma and Dr B.K. Kapahi reorganized the Herbarium on contemporary lines. The reconstructed Herbarium with proper storage and other modern facilities was inaugurated on 1st December 1994 by Prof. Manmohan Sharma, FRS, Director, University Department of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, and named Janaki Ammal Herbarium.

Dr T.N. Srivastava, Dr B.K, further enriched the collections in Herbarium. Kapahi, Dr. Virendra Singh, Dr. S.N. Sharma, Dr. S. Kitchloo, Dr. Y.S. Bedi, Dr. Sumeet Gairola and Dr. Bikarma Singh. The preserved specimens in this Herbarium include medicinal, aromatic, and other economic plants from different parts of India and foreign countries. The flora of the North-West Himalayan region is very well represented. The collections at RRLH include specimens dating back to the 19th Century. Currently, the Herbarium houses more than 26,600 specimens representing 3,500 species of Angiosperms, Gymnosperms, and Pteridophytes.

A view of a crude drug repository.

The Crude Drug Repository (CDR) at CSIR–IIIM is a national referral facility catering to the needs of industry, academia, and scientists in identifying crude drugs. A concentrated effort was made by various scientists at CSIR-IIIM in collaboration with botanists in various laboratories of CSIR spread across India to develop a national-level referral facility. Crude drug specimens of important medicinal plants used in India in indigenous systems of medicines were collected from different ecological niches throughout India. They were collected and authenticated by experts from various CSIR laboratories and supplied to CSIR-IIIM to develop a national referral facility in the form of CDR. Moreover, from time to time, various scientists at CSIR-IIIM have added new specimens of crude drugs to this facility.

Padmashree Prof. Ranjit Roy Chaudhury inaugurated The Crude Drug Repository (CDR) on 1st December 1999. This referral facility is accessible to the pharmaceutical industry, traders, medicinal practitioners, natural products chemists, botanists, students, and academicians. The authentication service of crude drug specimens throughout India is provided through this facility. Authenticated plant material and certification of drug specimens are also provided using this facility. Permanent crude drug accession numbers are given to each specimen. Besides that, passport data about plant part, plant part code, botanical name, family, Ayurvedic/ vernacular name, received from and project from which it is received is also kept for each of the specimens. Presently, more than 4200 crude drug samples of authenticated parts of the plants used as medicine have been housed in this repository. Specimens at CDR are arranged according to various plant parts viz., root, stem, leaves, flower, fruit, seed, root & rhizome, stem & leaves, fruit & seed, stem bark, root bark, heartwood, whole plant, aerial part, gum/resin, tuber, bulb, calyx and exudes.

There are plans to further expand CDR by adding new crude drug specimens from different parts of the country. Adding ethnomedicinal, traditional, and pharmacognostic information to these specimens, up-gradation of Janaki Ammal Herbarium (RRLH) as per the current APG-4 system of classification and digitization of Crude Drug Repository (CDR) is under process. Currently, Dr Sumeet Gairola, under the leadership of Dr Srinivasa Reddy, Director, CSIR-IIIM Jammu, and Dr Dhiraj Vyas, Head, Plant Sciences and Agrotechnology Division, is managing the affairs of this Herbarium.


Sumeet Gairola
Senior Scientist, In-Charge Janaki Ammal Herbarium and Crude Drug Repository
CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu