PhytoNOTE #14

"Sick-care", healthcare, prevention and medicinal plants

Our healthcare systems is reactive and designed around curing sickness rather than proactively  focusing on disease #prevention.

COVID19 made the situation worse: while emergency response plans were activated, all non-urgent, preventive procedures were cancelled - those visits were needed for prevention, as for people to stay healthy, resilient and enjoy a better quality of life, prevention is key.

BCG and HBR discuss different options for prevention, including AI, mass screening, #medicinal plants and tradicional medicine:

Medicinal plants

any plant containing substances that can be used for therapeutic purposes or which are precursors for the synthesis of useful drugs, like #Ivy, #Pelargonium, Ginseng, Eucalyptus, Rhodiola... (Sofowora 2013

Medicinal plants have been used in healthcare for thousands of years. Clinical studies, literature research work and expert evaluation of the traditional use of plants and their constituents demonstrated their efficacy and safety and helped to establish the use of botanicals in treatment and disease prevention.

Danger of extinction

As consumers are demanding more natural solutions, the vital role of medicinal plants for maintenance of good health, prevention and chronic disease management is growing. Around 80% of the world’s population is estimated to use traditional medicine, including herbal medicine, and the global herbal Medicine Market was valued at USD 84.5 billion in 2019 with a CAGR of 20.5% (Polaris).

Therefore, we have to consider the serious risk that many medicinal plants will face declines in biomass production, changes in chemical content and #extinction issues, due to over-harvesting, loss of habitat, climate change etc.  (Applequist et al., 2019 "Scientists' Warning on Climate Change and Medicinal Plants"


To prevent extinction, #cultivation is an option. However, it comes with challenges, as soil and climate affect growth and levels & ratios of key actives. Years of experience and know-how in plant cultivation are the basis to successfully grow plants outside of their natural habitat.
To satisfy the growing consumer interest in prevention and healthcare, companies should start to aquire this know-how asap to assure the supply of medicinal plants in the future.