The Indian army has turned to traditional herbal remedies to help combat the harsh conditions on the Siachen glacier, the world's highest and coldest battlefield.
The dispute over the territory of Kashmir has seen Indian and Pakistani troops facing off against each other on the Siachen glacier for nearly 20 years. Temperatures on the glacier can drop to minus 50 degrees Celcius.
The Army's Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Science (DIPAS) is using extracts from the aloe vera plant to treat injuries caused by the extreme cold conditions, while an exercise regime based on yoga has allowed soldiers to regulate their body temperature.
DIPAS said that clinical trials of a preparation of more than 20 herbs and minerals such as aswagandha, tulsi, brahmi, panax ginseng and ginko biloba - all of which have been used for centuries in Indian herbal remedies - have shown that it can alleviate physical and mental problems associated with serving at high altitudes.
The aloe vera extract has been used to treat more than 250 soldiers affected by frostbite and injuries caused by the cold. The treatment proved effective even with soldiers who had been advised that the best treatment was amputation, DIPAS claimed. The extract is said to reduce pain and increase blood flow and is supplemented with other herbal medicines to speed up the healing process.