Sign up to our newsletter:

Herbal Medicine Investment Stepped Up

CHINA
10 July 2006

From SciDevNet 

 Xishuangbanna BG

 Botanists at Xishuangbanna Botanical Garden
investigate medicinal plants
Image © BGCI

China, the world's main producer of traditional and herbal medicines, has launched an international project to modernise in the field of herbal medicine.

Yesterday (4 July) the Ministry of Science and Technology pledged an initial 100 million yuan (US$12.5 million) for projects that focus on developing new treatments for diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.

It is the first time that China has initiated a multinational research project of this kind, which it hopes will provide an opportunity to boost health research in developing nations.

Jin Xiaoming, a senior ministry official says it is likely that China will launch research on artemisinin — a herbal medicine regarded as the best treatment for malaria — with African countries such as Kenya and South Africa.

The scheme has already attracted countries including the United States, Japan and Singapore, says Shang Yong, vice minister of science and technology.

The first 50 programmes, which will be selected by the ministry and matched with international partners, are due to start by the end of the year.

China hopes the project will help increase its share of the global market for traditional medicines.

Until now, traditional medicine's entry into global markets has been hampered by a lack of consensus in how to measure its efficacy. Thus the project will also include efforts to develop international standards for traditional remedies.

"It is much cheaper to develop a new herbal medicine than a Western one," says Shang. "So our programmes will have a strong appeal for transnational companies."

Such companies will be able to express their wish to participate through their embassy or their home country's science administration.

Shang added that companies, rather than colleges or research institutes, would play the major role in each programme, with an aim to "foster domestic pharmacists".

Chinese drug companies will gain extra funding and access to advanced facilities in developed nations to help them develop their traditional medicines.



Plants for Life: Medicinal Plants Under Threat

BGCI has published the findings of a year-long investigation into the state of medicinal plants around the world.

Read more...



Back to Archive

Related Gardens

China - Yunnan - Jinghong
Chinese Herbal Medicine
This book does not debate the value of Eastern or Western medicine but brings together Chinese herbal lore and Western scientific methods in a current, comprehensive treatise on the pharmacology of Chinese herbs. Covering 473 herbs, it records everything from the chemistry to the history of each.