Health updates

The following is new information regarding the protection of wild medicinal plants and the Amla berry (Emblica officinalis).

Wild medicinal plants to be protected under new global standard

A much needed global standard for wild medicinal plant harvesting was launched in Nuremberg at Biofach, the World Organic Trade Fair, in mid-February 200. About 15,000 species — or 21 percent of all medicinal and aromatic plant species — are at risk, according to the report by the Medicinal Plant Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union’s Species Survival Commission that set forth the new standard. More than 70,000 species of plants are traded internationally every year, and 80 percent of these are harvested from the wild.

Due to unchecked harvesting practices, many of these plants are in danger of extinction through over-harvesting and habitat loss. The new standard, known as the International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP) already is being eagerly embraced by many retailers around the world to ensure that plants used in medicine and cosmetics are not overexploited. Consumers can expect to see products with this labeling as early as winter 2007.

Amla berry: medicinal food and source of high-quality vitamin C

The Amla berry (Emblica officinalis) is a traditional food and medicine that inspires awe in the mind of the serious herbalist, due to its many known nutritional and medicinal benefits and uses. Amla has long been recognized as a famous member of the myrobalan fruit family, growing into a small or mid-sized deciduous tree with feathery leaves.

The juicy, green, fleshy fruit grows to more than two to three centimeters and has six softly defined ridges and six seeds. Amla berries have the highest amount of naturally occurring vitamin C of any ripe fruit in the world that is used as a traditional food. Numerous studies conducted suggest that it has antiviral properties and that it functions as both an antibacterial and an antifungal agent.

 

Resource: www.organicconsumers.org

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 2, April/May 2007.

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