Document Type

Journal Article


School of Chinese Medicine




In recent years, increasing numbers of people have been choosing herbal medicines or products to improve their health conditions, either alone or in combination with others. Herbs are staging a comeback and herbal "renaissance" occurs all over the world. According to the World Health Organization, 75% of the world's populations are using herbs for basic healthcare needs. Since the dawn of mankind, in fact, the use of herbs/plants has offered an effective medicine for the treatment of illnesses. Moreover, many conventional/pharmaceutical drugs are derived directly from both nature and traditional remedies distributed around the world. Up to now, the practice of herbal medicine entails the use of more than 53,000 species, and a number of these are facing the threat of extinction due to overexploitation. This paper aims to provide a review of the history and status quo of Chinese, Indian, and Arabic herbal medicines in terms of their significant contribution to the health promotion in present-day over-populated and aging societies. Attention will be focused on the depletion of plant resources on earth in meeting the increasing demand for herbs.

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Source Publication Title

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine



Start Page

Article ID 525340


Hindawi Publishing Corporation

Peer Reviewed



Copyright © 2014 Si-Yuan Pan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 31071989). The work has also been supported by Sino-Austrian Projects (Austrian Federal Ministries of Economy and Science and of Health) and the European Academy of TCM.



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