Governance Now Visionary Talks Series

Alarm sounded over sustainability of wild plants used to treat Covid-19

TRAFFIC report about the essential but invisible trade: India among the top exporters

GN Bureau | June 19, 2020


#Covid-19   #coronavirus   #healthcare   #economy   #trade   #environment   #biodiversity   #IUCN  
Jatamansi (Nardostachys) in Lamteli Community Forest, Jumla, Nepal (Photo courtesy: ANSAB through TRAFFIC)
Jatamansi (Nardostachys) in Lamteli Community Forest, Jumla, Nepal (Photo courtesy: ANSAB through TRAFFIC)

Wild plant species used in herbal treatments of Covid-19 are set to come under heightened harvesting pressure, as a result of both increased demand and more people turning to wild harvesting as an alternative source of income during times of high unemployment and economic crisis, says a new TRAFFIC report.

From around the world, there are reports of herbal products containing wild plant ingredients being used to prevent and treat COVID-19 in South America, Africa, Europe, USA, and Asia, the organisation said in a press release from Cambridge on Thursday.

In China, official traditional Chinese medicine (‘TCM’) formulations used in the Covid-19 response utilise over 125 plant species, a selection of them wild harvested in China and beyond. They include Liquorice root (Glycyrrhiza spp), a protected species in parts of its Chinese range and several species whose international trade is regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) such as ginseng root Panax spp, Chinese Agarwood Aquilaria sinensis, and Golden Chicken Fern Cibotium barometz.

“Humankind’s dependence on wild plants for essential health care and well-being has never been more apparent than during the current Covid-19 pandemic,” said Anastasiya Timoshyna, TRAFFIC’s senior programme coordinator – sustainable trade, and co-chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Medicinal Plant Specialist Group.

“However, there is a complete lack of attention to the issues of sustainability in wild plant supplies.”

The new report, ‘The Invisible Trade: Wild plants and you in the times of COVID-19 and the essential journey towards sustainability’, draws attention to the economic, livelihood and conservation importance of the trade in wild plants alongside issues of the sustainability of supplies.

Around 26,000 plant species have well-documented medicinal uses globally. Around 3,000 of them are traded internationally, the majority (60–90%) believed to be wild-collected, says the report. But more than one in ten of the 19% of the species whose threat status was been assessed are at risk of extinction in the wild according to IUCN.

The minimum estimated value of the global trade in medicinal and aromatic plant species has almost tripled in recent years (from $1.3 billion in 1998 to $3.3 billion in 2018), according to the latest available UN Comtrade data. The world’s top exporters are China, India, Germany, USA and Hong Kong SAR, while the USA, Hong Kong SAR, Germany and Japan are the top importers.

The long-term availability of plant ingredients to support human health – through medicines, food and well-being products – is dependent on prioritising the conservation and sustainable use of the source species. The report identifies priority actions and recommendations to consumers, businesses, governments, as well as conservation and academic stakeholders.

Biodiversity conservation is critical in the ongoing preparation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and the sustainable and equitable trade in wild plant resource has the potential to provide a conservation and livelihoods “win-win” scenario.

Many common consumer products — herbal remedies, food, drink, cosmetics, supplements, and even furniture — come from wild harvested plants. Since 2008, TRAFFIC has partnered with the FairWild Foundation to promote the sustainable use of wild plant ingredients by applying the FairWild Standard throughout the herbal products supply chain.

Next week (June 22-26) is FairWild week, an annual online event to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable and equitable trade in wild plant ingredients. Taking part will be the FairWild Foundation and TRAFFIC alongside businesses such as Traditional Medicinals, Pukka Herbs and Neal’s Yard Remedies, whose products include several with FairWild certified ingredients, as well as educational and conservation organisations, including the Sustainable Herbs Program of the American Botanical Council, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, and WWF.

“Next week is a celebration of wild plants, the FairWild approach, and the tangible benefits that sustainable use brings to impoverished harvesting communities, to businesses responding to the rising consumer demand for sustainably sourced products and for conservation of the wild plants themselves. We hope you will join us on social media using the hashtag #FairWildWeek to shed light on this invisible but essential trade and support calls for action by businesses, governments and consumers,” said Timoshyna.

Comments

 

Other News

TRP-driven model bred irresponsibility: Sudhir Chaudhary

News profession is organic in nature, requires responsibility and discipline, and there is no room for mistake. To maintain high standards of accuracy you need discipline and hygiene in the newsroom. Sudhir Chaudhary, editor in chief of Zee News, Zee Business and Wion, has said that a TRP-driven business m

This Mumbai NGO empowers children with skills

When Dharmendra Pandey, a fruit-seller had to leave Mumbai after the imposition of the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, and return to his village in Uttar Pradesh, he was staring at economic uncertainties ahead. Little did he know that his 16-year-old son, Mahavir, had acquired skills that would come

Masks: Awareness: near-total, compliance: half-way

Wearing a face mask is the first line of defence against the novel coronavirus, along with maintaining social distance and frequently washing hands with soap. More than six months after the outbreak of Covid-19, nearly 90 percent of people in India have become aware of the necessity of wearing a face mask,

Covid-19: Daily recoveries cross 1 lakh mark, new cases far fewer

Is India finally gaining an upper hand over the Covid-19 pandemic? After weeks of new cases hitting 90,000-plus every day, the tide seems to be turning, as the number came down to 75,083 on Tuesday, and the recoveries were not only higher than that but crossed the 1 lakh mark too. The countr

A travelogue of an inner pilgrimage

Sit Your Self Down A Novice’s Journey into the Heart of Vipassana By Gayatri Jayaraman Hachette India, 212 pages, Rs 399   As stress and strife increase in daily life, more and more people are turning to meditation as an all

Vote in the time of Covid: EC hosts global webinar

On completion of one year of the chairmanship of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB), the Election Commission (EC) of India on Monday hosted an international webinar on the theme of “Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting  Elections during COVID-19 : Sharing Country



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter