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Sustainable production of medicinal plants


Medicinal plants

The world is rapidly running out of resources. If you imagine that consuming the entire reserve of fossil fuel is bad, try thinking about the effects of losing less attractive riches like medicinal plants.

The entire flora comprising of trees, plants and herbs provide us with natural remedies for common illnesses. The consequences of having an unsustainable production of medicinal plants are catastrophic. Here are a few ways in which the global community is trying to prevent the complete depletion of curable plants:

How useful are medicinal plants

Recent medical research revealed that around 118 of the top 150 prescription drugs are based on medicinal plants. The number of over-the-counter medicines that use natural ingredients to treat common ailments is even higher. Scientists estimate that we lose one of these significant remedies every two years due to the extinction of several types of medicinal herbs.

Modern medicine has its basis in traditional healing practices. It is only normal that most of the pharmaceutical drugs derive from alternative cures that people have been using for thousands of years. Out of the 80,000 flowering plants on the planet that are used to develop medical treatments, almost 20% of them are endangered, and another 12% are expected to be extinct anytime in the next ten years. At this rate, we will soon find it difficult to treat minor illnesses like skin rashes, fungal infections or onychomycosis.

The benefits of natural diversity

Medicinal plants have been studied extensively all over the world. Almost three centuries ago, different civilizations that were scattered around the globe had different ways of treating common diseases. The Chinese used different plants than the ones used by Europeans, Africans or the native aboriginals in Oceania. The only thing that they had in common was the production of remedies from natural sources.

As the age of colonization reached its peak and the planet became over-industrialized, we lost considerable parts of the natural habitat. Wild crops of medicinal plants were slowly replaced by human-made plantations of grains, corn, and vineyards. One of the major side effects that resulted from this process was the disappearance of herbs with powerful curing effects and, subsequently, a significant number of traditional medications.

Globalization had its perks, however, and the constant communication between different cultures enabled people to exchange natural cures and herbal essences. Some illnesses that were almost untreatable on one continent found a suitable remedy on another one. For example, the Melaleuca plant, also known as “the tea tree” is native to the Australian mainland, but the oil extracted from its leaves is a potent cure for nail fungus and yellow nail syndrome.

The successful comeback of natural medicine

After a century in which people discarded traditional medications for modern drugs, more and more nations are recognizing the powerful remedial actions of natural medicine. Consumers have regained their trust in cures made from medicinal plants, herbs, and organic compounds. This trend has determined several governments to pass laws that protect and sustain the production of medicinal plants, which in turn leads to a safer and cleaner environment rich in highly-effective treatments.