Medicinal plants, especially the aromatic species, are the key to solving numerous interrelated global issues. Their benefits can be summarized into four major categories: healthcare, sustainable economies, environmental protection and ecological restoration, and preservation of ethnobotanical wisdom. When the full potential and possibilities of these benefits are considered, it becomes apparent that medicinal plants are one of humanity’s greatest natural resources.
The first global benefit of medicinal plants is nontoxic, affordable, locally available healthcare. Botanical medicine is the oldest form of healthcare, and remains the primary source of preventive and curative treatment for 80 per- cent of people in developing countries.
Aromatic plants and their essential oils play an important role in the world’s present and future healthcare systems. Many oils create an environment that bacteria find inhospitable. A small number of oils can be used for a large number of common challenges, especially in restoring comfort, health and balance of the skin, respiratory, and digestive systems. Many of the common aromatic culinary herbs and spices used throughout the world have significant therapeutic value and are used extensively in traditional medical systems such as Ayurveda.
The economic benefit of medicinal plants has two primary aspects. The first is the income derived from the cultivation, processing, and sale of medicinal plants and their products. Medicinal plants have provided livelihood for innumerable people in every part of the world for millennia. Now, as demand for medicinal plants increases and supplies diminish, their economic value is rising, making them more lucrative as cash crops. Many species of medicinal plants are now the world’s most expensive legal crops; as the global market expands, more communities can begin producing herbal products as a way of lifting themselves out of poverty.
Herb cultivation and essential oil production are helping to economically revitalize and sustain poor rural areas around the world. By supporting farmers and distillers engaged in these activities, we help them continue their age-old livelihoods. Herb cultivation projects protect communities from the destructive trends of corporate agribusiness and allow people to continue living on the land. Organic agriculture is difficult and labor intensive, but for many people throughout the world the only alternative is migrating to the slums of large cities.
The second economic benefit is the availability of affordable medicines for local populations. Locally grown or wild-harvested herbs are relatively inexpensive compared to allopathic treatments and pharmaceutical drugs, and provide a foundation for nutritional enhancement and preventive therapy. Most of the important oils that create inhospitable environments for contagion, such as tea tree, eucalyptus, oregano, and thyme, are relatively inexpensive, since the plants grow prolifically and produce abundant amounts of oils. These oils require only simple distillation equipment and methods, and minimal investment is needed to start a local industry.
The low cost of the oils, combined with their high effectiveness, offers an important alternative to expensive imported antibiotics in developing countries.
The third global benefit of medicinal plants is ecological and environmental preservation and restoration. When a community cultivates high quality organic plants or manages an ecosystem that provides secondary forest products such as wild-harvested herbs, the biodiversity of the region is protected, restored, and maintained.
Herbs are now being used in projects to make forests and wilderness areas economically viable, and thus protect them from logging and other destructive practices.
Another ecological benefit of some medicinal plants is phytoremediation, the use of plants to purify environmental toxins and regenerate ecosystems. Several medicinal plants that are important for ecological restoration, such as neem trees, thrive in barren and degraded lands; some, such as vetiver grass, are sources of aromatic oils.
Ethnootanical traditions can be preserved when communities are supported by plant-based economies that protect ecosystems. The long history of accumulating knowledge about plants is one of humanity’s greatest legacies, and the foundation of culture itself; ethnobotanical wisdom is intimately linked with ceremony, diet, agriculture, art, and innumerable other aspects of traditional earth-based lifestyles.
The botanical knowledge preserved within indigenous cultures is not only the basis of local healthcare, but is also valuable in the development of new medicines and herbal products.
✓ Расширение сознания и повышение чувствительности: плющ, камфара, мускат, ныробек, тополь, ладан.
✓ Ясновидение: алоэ, арника, плющ, мускатный орех, тополь, ладан.
✓ Приём космической энергии: алоэ, плющ, семена рябины, бузина, камфара, древесина сандала, корни фиалки.
✓ Успокаивающие: арника, лаванда, мирра, пижма.