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Medicinal plants: Rescuing a global heritage

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  • Medicinal Plants
  • Medicinal Plants
    Rescuing a Global Heritage
    John Lambert
    Jitendra Srivastava
    Noel Vietmeyer
    Copyright © 1997 The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/THE WORLD BANK 1818 H
    Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20433, U.S.A.
    All rights reserved Manufactured in the United States of America First printing March 1997
    Technical Papers are published to communicate the results of the Bank's work to the development community
    with the least possible delay. The typescript of this paper therefore has not been prepared in accordance with the
    procedures appropriate to formal printed texts, and the World Bank accepts no responsibility for errors. Some
    sources cited in this paper may be informal documents that are not readily available.
    The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the author(s) and
    should not be attributed in any manner to the World Bank, to its affiliated organizations, or to members of its
    Board of Executive Directors or the countries they represent. The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of
    the data included in this publication and accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any consequence of their use.
    The boundaries, colors, denominations, and other information shown on any map in this volume do not imply on
    the part of the World Bank Group any judgment on the legal status of any territory or the endorsement or
    acceptance of such boundaries.
    The material in this publication is copyrighted. Requests for permission to reproduce portions of it should be sent
    to the Office of the Publisher at the address shown in the copyright notice above. The World Bank encourages
    dissemination of its work and will normally give permission promptly and, when the reproduction is for
    noncommercial purposes, without asking a fee. Permission to copy portions for classroom use is granted through
    the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc., Suite 910, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, Massachusetts 01923, U.S.A.
    ISBN 0−8213−3856−0 ISSN: 0253−7494
    John Lambert is an agriculture consultant at the World Bank. Jitendra Srivastava is Principal Agriculturist in the
    World Bank's Agriculture and Natural Resources Department. Noel Vietmeyer is Senior Program Officer at the
    National Research Council.
    Library of Congress Cataloging−in−Publication Data
    Lambert, John, 1938
    Medicinal plants : resucing a global heritage / John Lambert,
    Jitendra Srivastava, Noel Vietmeyer.
    p. cm. — (World Bank technical papers, no. 355)
    Includes bibliographical references.
    Medicinal Plants
    Medicinal Plants 1
  • ISBN 0−8213−3856−0
    1. Materia medica, Vegetable—China. 2. Materia medica,
    Vegetable—India. 3. Medicinal plants—China. 4. Medicinal plants—
    India. I. Srivastava, Jitendra, 1940II. Vietmeyer, Noel,
    1940 . III. Title. IV. Series.
    RS180.C5L35 1997 96−52234
    615 .32 0951—dc21 CIPbreak
    Table of Contents
    Foreword link
    Abstract link
    Acknowledgments link
    Executive Summary link
    1. The Global Background link
    Economic Issues link
    Policy Issues link
    Regulatory Issues link
    Social Issues link
    Traditional Knowledge link
    Women's Role link
    Enhancing Social Capital link
    Generating Income link
    Conservation Issues link
    Preserving Wild Genes link
    In−Situ Conservation link
    Ex−Situ Conservation link
    Agricultural Issues link
    Forestry Issues link
    Veterinary Issues link
    The International Research Base link
    2. China link
    Production and Trade link
    Notable Chinese Medicinal Plants link
    Ginseng link
    Eucommia link
    Medicinal Plants
    Table of Contents 2

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Medicinal plants: Rescuing a global heritage

This report gives a global view of the importance of medicinal plants in international development. It examines issues that are economic, political, legal, and social; and covers fields in human and animal health and medicine, agriculture, and forestry. The experiences and efforts of China and India are highlighted. During the past decade, dramatic sales increases attest to a renaissance of both medicinal plants and the traditional health practitioners who prescribe them. Over the last five years in China, sales have more than doubled, while during the last decade in India, exports have soared almost three-fold. This booming trade -most of it fueled by citizens of the developing world but some of it serving affluent customers in wealthy nations- is damaging the supplies. A number of medicinal plants are so overharvested that they feature high on the lists of threatened or endangered species. Unless action is taken, more are headed towards extinction. At the same time, the global clamor for more herbal ingredients created possibilities for the local cultivation of medicinal crops as well as for the regulated and sustainable harvest of wild stands. Such endeavors could help raise rural employment in the developing countries, boost commerce around the world, and contribute to the health of millions. However, creating a regularized production of these species also raises many difficult issues. Some of these issues relate to medical efficacy and its proof. Some relate to the protecton of fragile tropical habitats. Yet others relate to local empowerment, gender equity, regulatory measures, and the rights to traditional knowledge.

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