|Medicinal Plants: An Expanding Role in Development (World Bank, 1996, 32 pages)|
|2. The resource base|
Despite the fact that not much is being done to conserve medicinal plants, a few governments are trying to protect some local species. Their efforts include improving the methods of collection as well as the deliberate cultivation of the plants. The goal is normally to ensure proper quality control and to regulate commerce for the protection of both producer and consumer. These few governments are also involved in educating their populations and in creating greater awareness of the importance of medicinal plants as a whole. Examples follow.
· Some 35,000 items of ethno-pharmacological data have been entered into data bases.
· The Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, a WHO Collaborating Centre of Traditional Medicine, in Beijing specializes in the research of medicinal plants.
· The Center of Traditional Medicine which includes a genebank and a botanical garden in Beijing, with branches in Yunnan and Hainan Islandundertakes R&D in medicinal plants. (These programs all operate under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.)
· Thailand's Primary Health Care Program recognizes and even promotes herbal and traditional medicine.
· A National Committee on Medicinal Plants has been established and charged with developing a nationwide policy. This policy will include support for ethnomedical and botanical surveys, an information system and data base, the manufacture and export of traditional medicines based on plants, and the conservation and cultivation of medicinal plants on a national basis.
· A medicinal-plant garden Hortus Medicus Tawangmanguensis) has been established at the Center for Research and Development of Industrial Plants.
· The Department of Health operates a country-wide program called "the living pharmacy" to take the benefits of medicinal plants to the various and widely scattered rural areas throughout the archipelago.
· The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic, Unani and Siddhi medicine and homeopathy undertakes R&D into botanicals.
· The Indian Pharmacopoeial Laboratory analyzes traditional healing-plant materials.
· The Indian Forestry Service and the Forestry Research Institute both have programs on the planting and encouragement of medicinal herbs in the forest understory.
· The Botanical Survey of India includes medicinals in its assessments of the Subcontinent's plant resources.
· The State Department of Tribal Welfare promotes herbal medicines because the tribal peoples tend to rely on these even more than most Indians.
· The Arya Vaidya Sala, an important center of Ayurveda medicine at Kattakkol in the state of Kerala, operates a college, hospital, factory, and research laboratory for medicinal plants. It also operated a herbal garden and two farms that cultivate medicinals.
· The Tropical Forest Research Institute at Jabalpur in the state of Madhya Pradesh emphases medicinal plants that can be grown among the trees. It cultivates and distributes plant materials to pharmaceutical enterprises.
· The newly established Research Institute on Herbal Medicines has recently been preparing a "'formulae', of traditional medicines. This formal documentbeing constructed with inputs from government, universities and private organizationswill establish protocols for evaluating traditional remedies, as well as the processing, production, licensing and marketing of medicinal plants.
· The Ministry of Indigenous Medicine has established (with WHO assistance) medicinal plant nurseries. It has also declared a number of natural areas to be "Medicinal Plant Reservations."
· The Bandaranaika Memorial Ayurvedic Research Institute undertakes research into medicinal plants as well as into the formulation of products from them.
· The Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya and several private gardens maintain living medicinal plant collections.
· Botanical surveys that include therapeutic plants are being carried out by the Wildlife Conservation and Forest Departments.
· The Biodiversity Institute (formerly Plant Genetic Resources Center) plays a leading role in getting medicinal plants into cultivation. It has a well established program of conserving plant genetic resources and is complementing its gene banks by establishing on-farm conservation. It recently established a collaborative program with regional traditional health practitioners, providing among other things land for growing medicinal plants.