Secretary for National Council for Science and Technology Development of Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine, Dr. Mohammad Hassan Assareh, explained about the achievements in medicinal plants and traditional medicine in 2015.
Referring to the valuable steps taken in respect to the science and technology in terms of medicinal plants and traditional medicine, Dr. Mohammad Hassan Assareh said, “Among the activities that can be named in this field are, supporting the innovative and technological plans, developing the industrial cultivation and mass production of strategic medicinal plants, promoting the theoretical capacity of the productions of plant extracts and essential oils in the country as well as considerably developing the active companies in this field.”
He also pointed out some of the other achievements of this young industry in Iran, such as the increase in the quality and quantity of human and livestock plant-based drugs, the boost and development of the contents of traditional medicine and traditional pharmacy faculties, the increase in the specialist PhD students of traditional medicine, registration of botanical data, completion of research on domestication of medicinal plants species and improvement of Iran’s rank in the region in terms of the number of herbal drug production.
The Increase of up to 1600 Items of Permits Issued for the Production of Herbal Medicine
Secretary for National Council for Science and Technology Development of Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine referred to the rise in the number of herbal medicine production in the recent years and said, “The permits issued and herbal medicine and natural-based products manufactured have risen up to 1600 items.”
He said, “In 2005, 134 items of drugs and natural-based products were on the official list of Ministry of Health and Medical Education; however, the number of drugs and natural-based products went up to more than 1,200, last year and this year, we are witnessing some more rise.”
Considering people’s increasing tendency towards the consumption of herbal medicine, he stated, “Since people have greatly received these items, there needs to be a proper insurance support, so that people can continue using herbal medicine with more peace of mind.”
“Iran’s rank in the region in terms of the number of plant-based drugs production, has improved,” he said, “this is due to the diligence of researchers and the appropriate measures taken by the officials.”
Secretary for National Council for Science and Technology Development of Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine, Vice-presidency for Science and Technology, indicated that there is a rise in the capacity of human and livestock plant-based drugs, in the current year, and said, “The theoretical capacity of the human and livestock plant-based drugs in the form of tablets, ointment, syrup and capsules, has risen from 300 million to 570 million.”
He added, “Some of the important proceedings that have been accomplished in the present year are, the addition of more than 95 knowledege-based companies to commercialize and manufacture 586 technology-based products, growth and expansion of more than 400 active companies in medicinal plants, herbal medicine and natural and traditional products.”
Compilation of Medicinal Plants National Document Road Map
“The science and technology road map concerning the National Document of Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine with the collaboration of all the beneficiaries included in this Document, is in the final stage of preparation, and we are hoping to unveil it before the end of 2016,” he said.
He further stressed, “The road map of this Document will indicate that in the remaining years of 1404 Perspective Document, how much needs to be accomplished for the goals of this Document to be met.”
The National Document of Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine, referring to section five of Iran’s Comprehensive Scientific Plan, was approved by Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in 2013. This document which consists of 7 articles and 6 clauses, has been passed in compliance with the arrangement of activities and interaction among the trustees.
According to this Perspective Document, the necessary proceedings for the development of activities in the field of medicinal plants and traditional medicine have been taken in to account by 2025.
Secretary for National Council for Science and Technology Development of Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine stressed the need for industrial cultivation development and medicinal plants mass production, then added, “Industrial cultivation and mass production of strategic medicinal plants will be annually increased up to 10,000 hectares.”
Assareh said, “The area under the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants, including products such as saffron, barberry and jujube, are about 180 thousand hectares, which should reach to 360 thousand hectares by the end of the Sixth Plan.”
Referring to the support of 408 innovative and technological projects by the council, he went on to say, “This council has shown its support for 172 innovative projects in private companies as well as 236 technological plans in research centers of public sectors.”
He continued, “In the current year, there has been a promotion of medicinal plants laboratory networks in the country, consisting of 132 lab units, aiming to improve the quality of laboratory service.”
Among some other achievements in the present year, Assareh mentioned the following; the promotion of theoretical capacity of plant extracts and essential oils in the country to the amount of 175,000 tonnes in 183 areas of production and industrial units, the development of traditional medicine and traditional pharmacy faculties up to 8 faculties, the increase of specialist PhD students of traditional medicine from 170 to 429 and finally the addition of research centers for traditional and complementary medicine, approved by universities, to 9 centers.
He named several national achievements such as, preparation of 20 entrepreneurship packages in the relevant fields, the increase of up to 20 traditional health care institutes, putting together a comprehensive atlas of medicinal plants in more than 10 provinces of Iran, aligned with the advantages and preservation of plant species in order to save the genetic resources as well as to revive the written heritage of traditional medicine through collecting, verifying, comparing, translating, publishing and circulating the Iranian scientists manuscripts or published works.
Completion of More Than 160 Medicinal Plants Species Domestication Research
Secretary for National Council for Science and Technology Development of Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine stressed the need for domestication of medicinal plants in the country and added, “The domestication research of more than 160 medicinal plants varieties and species with economic potentials was completed in the current year.”
He further noted that domestication of medicinal plants species is one of the most important research projects of the country, through which more and suitable active compounds can be extracted from these plants.
Assareh went on to say, “Strengthening and development of gene banks of endemic medicinal plants as well as those plants likely to be extinct, preservation of 1400 plant species, description of 134 job standards in 7 main sectors of medicinal plants and traditional medicine value chains and in the end the registration of 2300 medicinal plants botanical data, are the most important tasks fulfilled in the current year.”
Mentioning the importance of culturalization in this field, Assareh said, “Culturalization and transference of medicinal plants and traditional medicine technology have occurred via holding two national technomarkets and several national and regional technical exhibitions.”