China is the country which is rich in medicinal resources with more than 6,500 medicinal herbs used in Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM). Over 600 herbs are being used to produce the Chinese medicinal raw materials. Customs figures show China exports 240,000 tons of medicines annually, of which 200,000 tons are as raw herbs. The exported raw herbs accounted for 20 percent of the country's annual harvest.The plantation has become a new source of income for some of Chinese farmers. Many provinces such as Hebei, Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Shanxi have designated traditional medicine as a pillar industry. In 2010, the output value of TCM amounted to RMB 317.2 billion (about €36.8 billion/ INR 33,285 Cr.). The net yield and profits of TCM production is much higher than the average for the country's medical industry. The total TCM market in China will rise to €96,2 billion in 2025. (Study: Traditional Chinese Medicine in China and Worldwide 2025 by Helmut Kaiser Consultancy, Germany.) Indian exports of medicinal plants and rallied products amount to about 234 Cr. in the financial year of 2009-2010. It is a huge gap and the other hand also shows great opportunity for India to take serious & concrete steps to strengthen herbal sector further.
This year I visited Qingping Market of Chinese Herbal Medicines, the only market of its kind in Guangzhou of Guangdong province. It is one of the seventeen traditional Chinese medicine markets in the country. It is also the first permitted market to run a business of the five major categories (Chinese herbs, Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese and Western medicines, medical devices and health care products). It is the biggest trade port and distribution centre of tonic herbal medicine in southern China. Business operators come from many places and products are sold to the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and other countries. Qingping Pharmaceutical Centre is the landmark building of this market.
I also visited Kangmei Traditional Chinese Medicine Market in Bozhou, which is called 'The Herb Capital of China'. The herb market in Bozhou, Anhui is the largest medicinal herb trade market in China. Bozhou is in the northwestern section of Anhui Province. More than two thousand years ago, during the Eastern Han dynasty, the famous Chinese medical doctor, Hua Tuo, established the first medicinal herbal garden in China. Since that time, the hard working and intelligent people of Bozhou have been cultivating medicinal herbs. As the need for cultivated medicinal herbs increased through the years they took full advantage of Anhui's fertile soil and convenient transportation routes. There I talked to the growers and collectors directly and learnt from them about different species, cultivation methods, difficulties in cultivation, collection and processing activities.
The third & last stop of visit was Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province in the southwest of China. Sichuan is about as large as France. In fact, Chengdu is famous for TCM Herbal medicine, partly because a very large number of medicinal plants are indigenous to the Sichuan area only and have been cultivated since hundreds of years. This market called 'Chengdu Hehuachi Chinese Herbal Mecicine Market' and it look like a big shopping mall, the building area covers about 200,000 square meters, besides, there are more than 2,000 shops in market. The operating space of Chengdu HeHuachi Chinese Herbal Medicine Market is three-story, the first floor is the management area for Chinese herbal medicines, second floor for the pharmaceutical companies, health care products, Chinese herbal medicine tablets and medical devices, the third floor is a special administrative area for Museum of Chinese Medicine, the National Medical Center and Tourism Center. At the entrance I was gritted by a big screen index of Chinese herbal medicines showing prices of herbs and trends in different markets of China. It was really a unique feature which certainly help to sellers as well as buyers. In this market more than 3000 herbs are being traded.
There is no doubt that Chinese herbal drugs have made their place in the modern world and it is a big market today. It also indicates that there is a bright future for the herbals in modern day and all the countries having a strong ethno medicinal base have a great potential for the development of herbal drugs.
Like all the earlier editions of Medherb Green Pages (MGP), this edition is also divided into three parts-India, Raw Drugs and China. In India part, first chapter deals with Traditional and Complementary Medicine and its future. This article covers most of the systems working in health. Second Chapter, covers India's export of medicinal plants & allied products in 2013-14. Exports of individual products has been provided for the last five years which gives the significance of these products over a span of last five years. Senna is a very important plant in Indian exports, a brief write up has been provided for this plant along with its trade data. Government notifications and other trade related information is provided under Medherb Information sub heading. The major part of this Directory is devoted to the listing of stakeholders-dealers, exporters, importers, extractors, manufacturers, cultivators and organizations active in the area of herbal drugs.
Section-2 of the present edition is devoted to raw herbs. About 200 photographs of raw herbs have been provided in this issue along with their botanical, Chinese, English and Indian names where ever available. Section-3 is devoted to China this section deals with Traditional Chinese Medicine as practised in China. This is the authentic information from WHO. There are above 400 medicinal plants in major trade in China, these are listed in this section most important plants in this category are, Alpinia galanga (Kulanjan), Artemisia annua (Artemisia), Carthamus tinctorius (Kusum Phool), Commiphora myrrha (Herabol), Coptis chinensis (Pili-jadi), Curcuma zedoaria (Kachura), Dactylorhiza incarnata (Salam Punja), Glycyrrhiza glabra (Mulathi), Nelumbo nucifera (Kamal Beeja), Panax ginseng (Ginseng), Picrorhiza scrophulariaeflora (Kutki), Rheum palmatum (Rewal Chini), Saussurea costus (Kuth), Terminalia chebula (Harad), Zingiber officinale (Sonth) and last but not least lot of different kinds of verities of Ziziphus jujuba (Baer).
More than 400 Chinese herbal stakeholders are enlisted in this section. Traders, Wholesalers and Manufacturers of Chinese Medicinal Plants. And off course, some of mine photographs of China visit.
I hope this edition of MGP in your hands will find your appreciation and approval. Work being very large, some discrepancies may come to your notice. Pointing these discrepancies will help us in future editions so that the herbal sector keeps its pace.
Janak Raj Rawal