MEDICINAL AROMATIC PLANTS OF THE ARID REGION: CALL FOR INTENSIVE CARE

by Suzan Shahin

desert cotton or snow bush
Desert Cotton or Snow Bush (Aerva javanica)

In the desert regions, where natural conditions are severe and resources are so limited, each water drop is precious and should be used in the best possible way. Global phenomena such as climate change and global warming are additional stressful conditions, adding to the sharply growing global population leading to more complications and to further challenging consequences.

Sustainability is a definition merged in every single life aspect, and in arid regions this concept is questionable. Regional and international efforts at all levels are focusing on adoption of the best practices and strategies that ensure the continuity and sustainability of the natural resources, while mitigating and adapting the global concerns, like climate change.

Medicinal aromatic plants of the desert were always Bedouins’ rescuers in past times. Where hospitals did not exist, the traditional herbal practices using the medicinal aromatic plants were always the magical solutions to the acute and chronic health symptoms.

However, today with the urbanization activities and the land-use changing patterns the number of many desert medicinal aromatic plants has been declining, and many species have become threatened and endangered. Additionally, as people today become more dependent on modern medications, the vision related to the medicinal aromatic plants has been dramatically changed, and the values of their applications are mostly underestimated.

There is an obvious gap between the old herbal practices and the modern therapeutic ones. The mindset of the young generations should be changed and their vision of medicinal aromatic plants should be upgraded. The same is necessary to conserve the earth’s resources and to have a healthy sustainable future.

Awareness and education related to the expensive values of the medicinal aromatic plants are necessary as the same are the main resources of therapeutic phytochemicals, as well as, main resources of today’s industries (pharmaceuticals, fragrance, flavor, preservatives, etc.).

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