A. Máthé
Herbs, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) have maintained their tradi-tional basic curative role while new trends seek natural alternatives with lesser side effects to using conventional drugs. Besides their traditional culinary and food industry uses, MAPs are intensively consumed as food supplements (food additives). In animal husbandry, feed-additives are used to replace synthetic chemicals and production increasing hormones. Nearly unlimited and increasing huge demand have led to the overexploitation of natural resources, thus endangering not only plant species but incomes, even livelihoods, especially in developing countries.
A New Look, a different holistic focus and R+D action is needed to sustain an energetic and socio-economically sound MAPs sector. Guided by international standards (e.g., ISSC-MAP, GA(C)P, FairWild), the sustainable exploitation and management of MAP natural resources have become an imperative from both environment protection and socio-economic points of view. The raw material supplies should be secured by conserving and improving the germplasm of cultivated species, and using both in situ and/or ex-situ technologies. There is a strong demand on the domestication/introduction into cultivation of presently wildcrafted species. Sophisticated in vitro propagation and breeding (selection) technologies aided by advanced phytochemical and molecular biological analytical techniques can further assist this progress. There is also a need to ensure the quality of medicinal plant products by using modern control techniques and applying suitable standards. Based on the already available modern sample preparation techniques (e.g., SPME, SFE, PLE, MAE and SME), the study of the plant metabolome has already yielded successes. Advances in plant genomics and metabolite profiling, also seem to offer unprecedented possibilities in exploring the extraordinary complexity of plant bio-chemical capacity. State-of-the-art genomics tools can be used to enhance the production of known target metabolites and/or to synthesize entire novel compounds in cultivated plant cells by the so-called combinatorial biochemistry.
Ultimate goal of these efforts should be to help improve the traceability and safety (reliability) of natural products, as well as the appropriate policies and legal frameworks to guide the protection, production (including organic production), trade, and applications of medicinal and aromatic plant materials.
Máthé, A. (2011). A NEW LOOK AT MEDICINAL AND AROMATIC PLANTS. Acta Hortic. 925, 13-20
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.925.1
collection, cultivation, efficacy, quality, safety, standards, sustainability, technology, trends

Acta Horticulturae