Vietnam’s priceless herbs now developed in scientific way
VietNamNet Bridge – At large hospitals like K and Bach Mai, physicians often receive patients in critical condition because of poisoning from herbs and supplemental food, or from counterfeit herbs.
Pham Thanh Huyen from the Central Medicinal Herb Institute said many kinds of herbs are advertised as able to treat cancer diseases. However, she said there has been no official scientific announcement that herbs can cure cancer.
Medicinal herbs are subject to intensive research to create products to support the treatment of certain diseases, including cancer.
“Herbs only have the function of supporting life by helping improve resistance or inhibiting the development of tumor cells,” Huyen said.
In order to use the medicinal herbs in the most effective way, patients need advice from physicians and pharmacists. All kinds of medicine, including herbs, may cause side effects.
Vietnam is rich in medicinal herbs with its name found among 15 countries on the world’s medicinal herb map. However, as herbal plants are plucked and uprooted massively, some kinds of plants have been extirpated and are in the red book.
Huyen said precious medicinal plants need time to grow. Ngoc Linh ginseng, which is believed to be even better than Korean ginseng in disease treatment, for example, only gives bulbs after five years of plantation, while the demand for the ginseng is high and cannot be satisfied by plants in the wild.
Ngoc Linh ginseng has been listed as one of 8 endangered flora genes in Quang Nam province. One of the other seven species is Ba Kich, also very precious, called the “ginseng for the poor”.
Huyen said in an effort to develop Vietnam’s precious medicinal plants and save them from extirpation, her institute has been carrying out herb development projects, under which herbs are planted in accordance with international standards.
GACP-WHO and European BioTrade are the most common standards in Vietnam. Since 2013, the institute has been cooperating with BioTrade project implemented by HELVETAS organization under EU funding.
According to Hoang Thi Thu Huong from BioTrade, the project supports the development of clean and safe herb growing areas. It is expected that 50 herb value chains will be developed.
Meanwhile, a number of national projects initiated by MST have been implemented in the last few years to develop herbs in 14 northwestern provinces. It is estimated that there are more than 1,500 precious herb species in the region, mostly in Lai Chau (450), Dien Bien (562), Son La (535) and Ha Giang (625).