Sustainability and Chinese Herbs


Nina Zhao-Seiler

part one first published in Journal of Chinese Medicine (jcm) No 101, Feb 2013, part two first published in jcm 112, Oct 2016.

This article discusses the current challenges in the production of Chinese medicinal herbs in China and how they have developed in recent years, in particular the dramatically increasing excess of demand over supply for many herbs and the decline in or inconsistency of quality of many cultivated herbs as well as wild-gathered ones. It also looks at ideas and initiatives to tackle these problems.

Demand for Chinese medicinal herbs has grown rapidly over past decades. Practitioners are starting to be concerned not only about the quality of the herbs they use, but also about their sustainability. This article discusses some of the complex relationships and divergence of interests among herb-market participants and looks at initiatives that can work towards a sustainable future for Chinese medicinal herbs.