Verma & Sarkar (2014). Natural Products Research (In Press).

Decalepis arayalpathra (J. Joseph & V. Chandras.) Venter, an endemic and endangered ethno medicinal plant from Western Ghats, India

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Sunil K. Vermaa and Manoj K. Sarkarb,*

a Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad 500 007, India

b,* Chief Conservator of Forests, Tamil Nadu Forest Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, India.


Decalepis arayalpatra is an endemic and critically endangered plant of India. May 2014 issue of Natural Products Research publishes the findings of R. S. Verma et al. on the chemical composition of Decalepis arayalpatra. This study was conducted to characterise the root aroma of this plant for possible industrial applications. The authors suggest that due to its peculiar vanilla flavour, the plant could be explored as a potential substitute of vanillin-aroma in the flavour industry. Owing to the fact that Decalepis arayalpatra is a critically endangered plant species, and its habitat is now limited to only the protected areas and reserve forest in southern part of India; and that collecting any plant from such reserve forests for commercial activities is illegal as per the law of the country, this specific conclusion of the authors is totally un-substantiated by the law of land, hence, calls for further review.


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Verma R.S., Mishra P., Kumar A., Chauhan A., Padalia R.C., & Sundaresan V. (2014). Chemical composition of root aroma of Decalepis arayalpathra (J. Joseph and V. Chandras.) Venter, an endemic and endangered ethnomedicinal plant from Western Ghats, India. Natural Product Research, 2014:1-4 [Pubmed Link]


Decalepis arayalpathra, Endemic plant of India, Critically Endangered plant of India, Vanilla flavour

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Short Citation Verma & Sarkar (2014). Natural Products Research (In Press).

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  • Dear Friends,

    This paper is not one way a great research but it is very important paper, and I feel that I must share the story about this paper with the world.

    In August 2014 issue of ‘Natural products Research’ a paper is coming which is written by Verma R.S. et al. of CIMAP, Pantnagar. In this paper, the authors did the chemical composition analysis of a highly endangered, endemic plat of India (only found in India and no-where else) named Decalepis arayalpatra (Also known as AMRITPHALA or Sanjeevani Booti). They found that it has a flavor similar to Vanilla.

    Pubmed Link to the paper of RS Verma:

    Up to here, it was fine and great, but further the authors continued to conclude that since this plant has an aroma similar to vanilla, it should be explored in Vanilla industry as a substitute of vanilla

    How come on earth someone could be so insensitive and unreasonable that scientifically suggest to exploit that plant for commercial purposes that has already become endangered!! And that also for pity vanilla flaour in vanilla industry!! Even the Law of India does not permit to exploit (even touch) such plant which is so rare.

    We objected to this conclusion of the authors and wrote to editor that this paper should be retracted immediately since it is illegal, unscientific, thoughtless, and unethical.

    The editors of the journal rejected our Letter and denied to publish it. They objected that we have used harsh language.

    We then removed the words thoughtless, and unethical but did not remove the words unscientific’ from our letter and changed the word ‘illegal’ to ‘legally unsubstantiated by law’.

    We also recommended that the original paper published by RS Verma et al. should be subjected to further review [and then retracted immediately from the scientific archive].

    Finally, after couple of communication exchange and
    independent peer review for about 2-3 months by 4 eminent Scientists whose identities were of course unknown to us, our letter was accepted by editor-in-chief to be published in the same journal. And this is the one that you will read in upcoming issue of Natural products Research.

    You can download the full text of our letter from the link above:

    In case if you are unable to download it, please write to me (, I will send you the full text or use the form above.

    Also, I request active eminent Scholars to comment on this, and suggest a course of action.

    You are free to share this post to the world in your facebook, via email or so on….

    Note: My Co-author for this letter is Dr M. K. Sarkar; Addl Principal Chief Conservator of Forest of Tamilnadu (

    Scientifically Yours,

    Sunil Kumar Verma