Ministries to develop medicinal herb genetic sources

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The ministries will compile a law on genetic source conservation which covers issues related to the development of genetic sources, knowledge about medicinal herbs and intellectual protection for remedies using traditional medicinal herbs.

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Vietnam ranks the 16th in the world in terms of genetic sources diversity

According to WHO (the World Health  Organization), about 80 percent of the population in developing countries use traditional medicine.

In China, the revenue from the herbal medicine market was reported at $26 billion in 2008, with growth rate of 20 percent per annum.
 
The figures were $17 billion in the US in 2004, $1.1 billion in Japan in 2006 and $250 million in South Korea in 2007. European citizens consumed 4.55 billion euros worth of herbal medicine in 2004.  Meanwhile, experts estimate the annual revenue of $80 billion worldwide.
 
Medicinal herbs have greater economic value than any food crop. According to WHO, there has been a growing tendency in recent years for scientists to make supplement food, cosmetics and aromatic spices from herbs.

Medicinal herbs have greater economic value than any food crop. According to WHO, there has been a growing tendency in recent years for scientists to make supplement food, cosmetics and aromatic spices from herbs.

A survey found that the large herb growing areas in Vietnam can bring income of VND100 million per hectare.
 
Growing herbs has helped many rural and remote areas escape hunger and reduce poverty, develop local economies and protect the environment. 
 
Medicinal plants, with the forest ecosystem, agriculture and rural areas, together with the close relationship between medicinal plant biodiversity and cultural diversity and traditional medicine, all create the unique cultural feature of the Vietnamese community.
 
Vietnam is one of the world’s top 10 richest biodiversity centers and ranks 16th in the world in terms of genetic sources diversity. Vietnam has many genetic sources which could be used as medicine to prevent and cure diseases.
 
Scientists have classified 3,830 plants which can be used to make medicine, accounting for 36 percent of 10,500 known vascular plant species. 
 
Compared with the 35,000 species of medicinal plants worldwide, the number of Vietnamese medicinal plants account for about 11 percent. However, the genetic sources diversity has been declining, which needs to be stopped.
 
Managerial officers and experts all agree that the compilation of a law to protect herbal genetic sources and the conservation of the sources must be implemented in cooperation among ministries and branches, because separate actions won’t bring the desired effects.
 
Dr Nguyen Duy Thuan, Deputy Director of Institute of Medicinal Materials, said the products made in accordance with traditional remedies now can be registered as supplement food, not medicine.  
 
He urged the Ministry of Health to join forces with the Ministry of Science and Technology to carry out clinical research on products so they can be recognized as remedies and used in disease treatment.
 
Thanh Nam

Source: VietNamNet

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