The division was co-established with the Centre in 2006. The division started its activities with the creation of "Database for medicinal plants of Western Ghats", based on the data collected by ICMR through a multi-centric task force study. The database was released in 2010 in the form of a CD and further, it was made available online at http://nitmmedplantsdb.in/. The other two initial activities of the division were establishing the "Herbal Garden for Medicinal Plants of Western Ghats" and "Museum for Ethnomedicinal Plants of Western Ghats", funded by the National Medicinal Plants Board and Central Council for Research in Ayurveda, respectively. The established garden has more than 350 species of medicinal plants, whereas the museum harbors 450 drug samples, photographs of 700 species, and 1500 herbarium specimens of 600 species of medicinal plants.
The documentation of traditional practices from the region is the core activity of the Division. In addition, efforts are being made to develop quality control parameters for the Ethnomedicinal plants. In the process of validation of traditional practices, the preparations for arthritis, ulcers, fever, and abdominal colic pain have been evaluated. The division is also working on cultivation and processing methods of medicinal plants, as mentioned in Ayurveda, to provide a scientific basis for these methods. Workshops, field visits, and hands-on training programs related to plant identification, herbarium and pharmacognosy techniques are being organized regularly, along with Ph.D., Masters Dissertation, and training programs. The division is providing services like taxonomic identification and authentication of plants, helping in the collection/processing of medicinal plants to the other divisions of the Centre, and several neighbouring institutes in the region.