In formally unveiling his energy and environmental “green team” on Dec. 15, President-elect Barack Obama signaled to the world that he’s going to take a tougher stance on curbing greenhouse gases and addressing other issues associated with climate change than his Republican predecessor. Such a position could greatly benefit the world’s medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), which are already being disturbed by changes in the planet’s climate, according to an almost 9,000-word article that will be published in February 2009 in issue 81 of HerbalGram: The Journal of the American Botanical Council (www.herbalgram.org).
Written by HerbalGram’s assistant editor, Courtney Cavaliere, the well-researched and thoroughly documented article provides an in-depth look at how climate change is affecting MAPs around the globe. In the article, Cavaliere writes: “Like all living members of the biosphere, MAPs are not immune to the effects of climate change. Climate change is causing noticeable effects on the life cycles and distributions of the world’s vegetation, including wild MAPs. Some MAPs are endemic to geographic regions or ecosystems particularly vulnerable to climate change, which could put them at risk. Concerns regarding the survival and genetic integrity of some MAPs in the face of climate change are increasingly being discussed within various forums.
“Although scientists do not know whether climate change poses a more prominent or immediate threat to MAP species than other threats, it does have the potential to exert increasing pressures upon MAP species and populations in the coming years. The effects that climate change may have on MAPs may be particularly significant due to their value within traditional systems of medicine and as economically useful plants.”
According to Nutrition Business Journal estimates, U.S. consumer sales of herb & botanical supplements grew 4.3% to $4.8 billion in 2007. This growth was largely fueled by sales of liquid, powdered and pill-form super-fruit supplements. As HerbalGram discusses in its article, super fruits are among the MAPs threatened by global climate change.
NBJ’s Nutritional Raw Material & Ingredient Supply issue, which publishes later this month, includes an excerpt from HerbalGram’s article that focuses on how recent extreme weather events are impacting botanical harvests in Europe, Africa and India. To order a copy of the issue or to subscribe to NBJ, go to www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com.