Cultivation of Endangered Medicinal Herbs

The American Herbal Products Association just released its most recent tracking report on the use of threatened medicinal species, summarizing ongoing survey data on the use of wild vs. cultivated herbs from the late 1990s onward. While it is difficult to draw clear and definite conclusions from this report, there are indications that the trend in the herbal products industry is towards a greater use of cultivated botanicals.
One of the main confounding factors is the overall trend in the whole industry - that is, across-the-board demand for all herbs. There seems to have been a peak in the 2001-2003 years for overall medicinal herbal demand, with a quick taper and a small resurgence recently. Accounting for this trend across the board, you can begin to see that herbs such as Goldenseal and Echinacea are more and more available through cultivated sources (although overall cultivated tonnage is less than in 2003 for some plants).
We can only hope that this trend is for real, and that it will continue. Additionally, the report doesn't go into detail on whether the cultivation is organic or not (as we know, commercially grown medicinal herbs, with their pesticide, fungicide, and fertilizer residues probably do more harm than good). In the meantime, you can help by getting involved with United Plant Savers.

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