The harvesting of medicinal plants from wild sources is escalating in many parts of the world, compromising the long-term survival of natural populations of medicinally important plants and sustainability of sources of raw material to meet pharmaceutical industry needs. Although protected areas are considered to play a central role in conservation of plant genetic resources, the effectiveness of protected areas for maintaining medicinal plant populations subject to intense harvesting pressure remain largely unknown. We conducted genetic and demographic studies of Nothapodytes nimmoniana Graham, one of the extensively harvested medicinal plant species in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, India to assess the effectiveness of protected areas in long-term maintenance of economically important plant species.