2020 Indigenous Communities Fellowship


Protect Medicinal Plants

To protect, to preserve, and to honor Indigenous environments and people.

Team Lead

Richelle Thomas

SA SA Sturm Andrew

Medicinal plants are globally valuable sources of herbal products, and they are disappearing at a high speed. This article reviews global trends, developments and prospects for the strategies and methodologies concerning the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plant resources to provide a reliable reference for the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants. We emphasized that both conservation strategies (e.g. in situ and ex situ conservation and cultivation practices) and resource management (e.g. good agricultural practices and sustainable use solutions) should be adequately taken into account for the sustainable use of medicinal plant resources. We recommend that biotechnical approaches (e.g. tissue culture, micropropagation, synthetic seed technology, and molecular marker-based approaches) should be applied to improve yield and modify the potency of medicinal plants.


JW JW Jason Wight

Conservation of medicinal plants can be accomplished by the ex-situ i.e. outside natural habitat by cultivating and maintaining plants in botanic gardens, parks, other suitable sites, and through long term preservation of plant propagules in gene banks (seed bank, pollen bank, DNA libraries, etc.)


Janelle Knox-Hayes

In response to What is your solution?

Would it be possible to also quantify the toxicity of medicinal plants in the environment where communities collect and utilize the plants?

Richelle Thomas

This would be possible to an extent. These plants grow in distinct areas and during certain times of the year. For the Salvia, considering that they are essentially scarce in the traditional picking areas, it makes it a little more difficult to harvest these plants. Considering that we want to ensure the continued usage and practices of these areas by traditional practitioners and community users. It could be possible though. Thelesperma might be easier to harvest in the environment than Salvia.

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