Scientists warning on climate change and medicinal plants

Wendy L. Applequist*, Josef A. Brinckmann, Anthony B. Cunningham, Robbie E. Hart, Michael Heinrich, David R. Katerere, Tinde Van Andel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The recent publication of a World ScientistsÊ Warning to Humanity highlighted the fact that climate change, absent strenuous mitigation or adaptation efforts, will have profound negative effects for humanity and other species, affecting numerous aspects of life. In this paper, we call attention to one of these aspects, the effects of climate change on medicinal plants. These plants provide many benefits for human health, particularly in communities where Western medicine is unavailable. As for other species, their populations may be threatened by changing temperature and precipitation regimes, disruption of commensal relationships, and increases in pests and pathogens, combined with anthropogenic habitat fragmentation that impedes migration. Additionally, medicinal species are often harvested unsustainably, and this combination of pressures may push many populations to extinction. A second issue is that some species may respond to increased environmental stresses not only with declines in biomass production but with changes in chemical content, potentially affecting quality or even safety of medicinal products. We therefore recommend actions including conservation and local cultivation of valued plants, sustainability training for harvesters and certification of commercial material, preservation of traditional knowledge, and programs to monitor raw material quality in addition to, of course, efforts to mitigate climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-18
Number of pages9
JournalPlanta Medica
Volume86
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Fingerprint

Climate Change
Medicinal Plants
Climate change
Community Medicine
Harvesters
Certification
Insurance Benefits
Pathogens
Biomass
Population
Medicine
Ecosystem
Sustainable development
Conservation
Raw materials
Health
Safety
Pressure
Temperature

Keywords

  • climate change
  • ethnobotany
  • medicinal plants
  • sustainability
  • traditional knowledge
  • traditional medicine

Cite this

Applequist, W. L., Brinckmann, J. A., Cunningham, A. B., Hart, R. E., Heinrich, M., Katerere, D. R., & Van Andel, T. (2020). Scientists warning on climate change and medicinal plants. Planta Medica, 86(1), 10-18. https://doi.org/10.1055/a-1041-3406
Applequist, Wendy L. ; Brinckmann, Josef A. ; Cunningham, Anthony B. ; Hart, Robbie E. ; Heinrich, Michael ; Katerere, David R. ; Van Andel, Tinde. / Scientists warning on climate change and medicinal plants. In: Planta Medica. 2020 ; Vol. 86, No. 1. pp. 10-18.
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Applequist, WL, Brinckmann, JA, Cunningham, AB, Hart, RE, Heinrich, M, Katerere, DR & Van Andel, T 2020, 'Scientists warning on climate change and medicinal plants', Planta Medica, vol. 86, no. 1, pp. 10-18. https://doi.org/10.1055/a-1041-3406

Scientists warning on climate change and medicinal plants. / Applequist, Wendy L.; Brinckmann, Josef A.; Cunningham, Anthony B.; Hart, Robbie E.; Heinrich, Michael; Katerere, David R.; Van Andel, Tinde.

In: Planta Medica, Vol. 86, No. 1, 01.2020, p. 10-18.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Van Andel, Tinde

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Applequist WL, Brinckmann JA, Cunningham AB, Hart RE, Heinrich M, Katerere DR et al. Scientists warning on climate change and medicinal plants. Planta Medica. 2020 Jan;86(1):10-18. https://doi.org/10.1055/a-1041-3406