Challenge for Europe

Alternative healing methods face an impressive revival. Discussions on how our health care system can be financed in the future additionally heat up the remarkable evolution of herbal medicine. More and more people learn again about how they could heal themselves. At the same time those who originally profited from their traditional knowledge about medicinal herbs are increasingly excluded from the use and commercialization of their local resources due to strict laws. It’s not only that they have to meet strict hygienic standards that often involve expansive structural measures but also that more and more plants are restricted to medicinal use only so that they can no longer be used in local products like e.g. teas. On the other hand products on the basis of local plant resources have become an important economic pillar especially for small farmers. Apart from the economic aspect initiatives like the UNESCO convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage demonstrate that this kind of activities also have a significant importance for the safeguard of cultural heritage and traditional knowledge. In order to meet the UNESCO’s goals and in order to enable the use of local plant resources it is of intrinsic importance to support the local population in going on to produce herbal products of a high quality standard. It’s the product which keeps the knowledge alive, otherwise it will disappear in some databases….

Proposals

The use of medicinal plants may not be restricted to medicines only.

Medicinal plants which have proven their usefulness during centuries of local application and use may not disappear from the official pharmacopeia.

The system of subsidies should foresee special regulations in order to support small farmers who are producing herbal products

The system of subsidies should foresee specific support to those who contribute to the preservation of local traditional cultural knowledge and heritage

A European wide network should be established which brings together all stakeholders involved in the local production and use of medicinal and aromatic plants

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