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close this bookAbstracts on Sustainable Agriculture (GTZ; 1992; 423 pages)
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts On Traditional Land-Use Systems
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on farming systems research and development
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on integrated systems
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on cropping system
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on agroecology
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on agrometeorology
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on agroforestry
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on homegardens
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on seed production
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on plant protection
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on water management
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on soil fertility
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on erosion and desertification control
close this folderAbstracts on potential crops for marginal lands
View the document1. Lost crops of the incas.
View the document2. Lesser-known plants of potential use in agriculture and forestry.
View the document3. Sorghum and millet new roles for old grains.
View the document4. Saline agriculture - salt-tolerant plants for developing countries.
View the document5. Cultivation and use of lesser-known plants of food value by tribals in north-east India.
View the document6. Conclusions of the national symposium on new crops - exploration, research, commercialization.
View the document7. Making aquatic weeds useful: some perspectives for developing countries.
View the document8. An ecological approach to medicinal plant introduction.
View the document9. Nuts: multi-purpose and profitable
View the document10. Moringa oleifera for food and water purification - selection of clones and growing of annual short-stem.
 

8. An ecological approach to medicinal plant introduction.

Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants, 3, 1992, pp. 175-199

The purpose of this review is to emphasize the ecological aspects related to the introduction and domestication of medicinal plants.

Medicinal and aromatic plant introduction began centuries ago and continues today. As the search for new plant-derived products continues, the need for the introduction and cultivation of an increasing number of these species will remain an integral process in the final processing, utilization, and availability. Approximately 50 species have been introduced and are maintained in large-scale cultivation in the temperate zone. The traditional medicinal and aromatic plant-producing appear to be making special efforts to collect and preserve wild plants and to introduce some of the economically significant species into cultivation.

The structure of medicinal plant production, however, has been undergoing substantial change during the past few years. Most apparent is the limitation in the availability of gathered plant drugs, and to some extent, a reassessment of the role of large- versus small-scale production systems. There also appears to be a trend to introduce medicinal and aromatic plants into the less favorable agricultural regions of many countries so as to develop the agricultural base of these areas by providing cash crops or export crops.

Programs such as this type have been established in Italy, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia, and in Czechoslovakia and Poland. In Greece, a country of varied physiographic conditions, 3 centers of aromatic plants have been established with the goal of producing Ocimum basilicum L. (basil), Lavandula spp. (lavender), Melissa spp. (balm), and Mentha spp. (mint).

The introduction of medicinal plants to cultivation is also increasing outside of Europe. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are producing plants of the genera Rauvolfia and Zingiber (ginger) and others. New Guinea is investigating potential cultivation of Elettaria cardamomum L. Maton (cardamom) and Capsicum frutescens L. (tabasco), and Indonesia is beginning to produce Syzgium aromaticum (L.) Merrill & L.M. Perry (cloves), Myristica fragrans Houtt. (nutmeg), and Curcuma domestica Val.
(turmeric). In South Korea, there are significant increases in the cultivation of Panax ginseng, paeonia spp., Platycodon spp., and Angelica spp. In South Africa, Artemisia spp., Tagetes spp., and Eriocephalus spp. are being cultivated. Cultivation of Duboisia spp. from India and of Heterotheca imloides from the high mountains of Mexico have been introduced to central Europe. In North America the cultivation of a wide range of medicinal and aromatic plants is being initiated.

Once the basic biological requirements of a species are understood, the agronomist, agricultural engineer, horticulturist, and plant breeder must develop the planting, machinery,and agricultural techniques that will ensure successful plant introduction from both a horticultural and economical aspect. Manageable production procedures involve plant selection and breeding, propagation, cropping systems, pest control, harvest and postharvest handling, and processing. The developing and testing of productive systems of introduced medicinal crops require the growing of the plants under environmental conditions that will simulate the field ecology. Generally, plants are first grown in small field plots and/or within the controlled environments of greenhouses or climatic chambers to establish ecological models. Production is increased as various cultivated systems prove successful in promoting economically viable crop growth, development, and product synthesis.

The introduction of medicinal plants into cultivation will probably remain a high priority and play an increasingly significant role in the quest for homogeneous, high-quality natural plant products for use in the preparation of medicines.

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Potential crops

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