The Royal Botanical Garden, KEW, London and The University of Trans-disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology, Bangalore have been on historical project “Reconciling medical knowledge communities: learning the history of colonial interpretation of traditional knowledge and the evolving science of Indian plant drugs”. It involves the study of the botanicals at Indian Museum, KEW collected during the East India Company period.
As part of this Indo-British project, the workshop was held on 19th July 2023 at TDU to review the intersection between biomedical and traditional medical systems which are in active use. In the workshop botanical and ethno-graphic data archived in KEW, UK of around 5000 botanicals that were collected by the East India Company in the 19th – 20th century were reviewed critically. These botanicals have been carefully identified by experts in KEW and TDU.
The workshop covered discussion alongside taxonomic issues, the pharmacological knowledge of medicinal botanicals as documented by East India Company officials versus the extant knowledge of their properties and uses in India during the colonial times and clinical and industrial use to date. There were discussion on the reasons for the historical differences in the understanding of knowledge communities about medicinal botanicals as well as their contemporary potential in India and the UK.