Dear <<First Name>><<Last Name>>,
In case you missed the launch last month, we wanted to share with you our chapter on medicinal plants that we wrote with colleagues at Kew as part of the State of the World’s Plants report (#SOTWP).
The report seeks “to provide a synthesis of current knowledge on the world’s plants” and this year’s edition highlights new discoveries and the effectiveness of conservation actions and policies in protecting plant species and communities across the globe.
The report consists of 12 Chapters divided into three sections: Describing the world’s plants, Global threats to plants, and Policies and international trade. This year’s edition has a country focus on Madagascar.
Chapter 4 of the report covers “Useful Plants” and this year focuses exclusively on Medicinal Plants building upon data analyses made possible by MPNS’ collation of medicinal plant data from 143 reference publications and databases. The report is based upon Version 7 of the MPNS Resource which was recently released online and evidences at least 28,187 species of plant being recorded for medicinal use of which only c 16% are cited in medicinal regulatory publications. Using this data we were able to explore: the distribution of medicinal plants between plant families; which species are included in legislation; and how imprecise use of plant names can lead to miscommunication between regulators.
The report points out the diminishing number of native plants covered in pharmacopoeia in many countries and the increasing use in the west of relatively few Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM). Whilst in China TCM is increasingly being incorporated into mainstream public health systems, particularly to treat chronic conditions, in the west these products are poorly regulated and suffer from quality control issues. The value and increased use of some plants also lead to conservation threats to those species leading to supply issues exacerbating authenticity issues for products on sale. We found that of the 28,187 species recorded in MPNS, c.1,280 are under protection according to CITES. The report also highlights the continuing importance of medicinal plants for drug discovery, often based on traditional use.
The printed report can be downloaded from the website which provides further graphical features and some background materials. Also attached to this email is a supplementary PDF file with further detail on the methods used and references.
We look forward to hearing your reaction to this Chapter or indeed any other comments or suggestions regarding the wider report.
Bob and the MPNS team