Saturday, January 31, 2004

Herbal remedies 'threaten plants'

The growing demand for herbal remedies is threatening to wipe out 10,000 of the world's 50,000 medicinal plant species, conservation group The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says.

In Europe alone, more than 1,300 medicinal plants are used commercially, and about 90% are taken from the wild.

A report released on Thursday by the Plantlife International group urges suppliers to ensure ingredients are cultivated or harvested responsibly.

The British Herbal Medicine Association says the problem has been exaggerated.

But Plantlife International says the plants are harvested wastefully far too often.

They say the bearberry - used to treat kidney and digestive problems - has become rare in much of Eastern Europe because whole plants are uprooted even though only the leaves are used.

Source BBC News


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