Nica Richards
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
23 Jun 2020
5:15 am

Medicinal plant industry under threat due to booming trade

Nica Richards

The increased use of medicinal and aromatic plants could come to an end if the wild plant trade is not prioritised, conserved and made more sustainable.

An Aloe ferox, used in traditional medicine. Picture: Twitter

Dubbed “the invisible trade”, the harvesting and selling of wild plants have almost tripled in the last 10 years. But if the industry does not become more sustainable, it runs the risk of threatening the health of plants and people. Experts estimate that the Covid-19 pandemic will likely result in an increase in the trade of wild plants, a new report released by conservation organisation TRAFFIC has revealed. The harvesting and selling of wild plants, many of which face extinction, is valued at $3.3 billion (about R57 billion). Trade in medicinal and aromatic (MAP) plant species has been thriving, with...