Does Vietnamese herbal medicine have a chance to enter the global market?

Southeast Asia and the rest of the world view Vietnam as having significant potential for medicinal plants. About 80% of people in poor countries utilize traditional medicine or herbal remedies for health care and protection, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

When doing research to generate pharmaceutical goods for health care and economic growth, Vietnam’s wealth and diversity of medicinal resources and indigenous knowledge are priceless gifts. The domestic production of therapeutic plants has not been active, nevertheless, and they have not yet developed into a popular item.

The survey’s findings indicate that, as of 2016, Vietnam has over 5,000 species of medicinal plants on record, of which about 200 species had the potential to be exploited and farmed for local consumption and export (such as cardamom, cloves, star anise, rosemary, turmeric, artichokes, safflower, and needle primrose). Farmers’ economic efficiency is increased by growing medicinal herbs, particularly because it is three to five times greater than that of various agricultural products (such as rice, corn, cassava, etc.)
Rich and diverse medicinal resources

According to the Traditional Medicine Management Department (Ministry of Health), out of a total of over 5,000 known medicinal plants and fungi, there are many species that have the potential to be exploited to create medicinal materials to serve market demand. According to the survey results for the period 2013-2015, there are currently about 70 species and groups of medicinal plants that have the potential to be exploited with a total reserve of about 18,000 tons/year (such as lettuce, foxglove, passionflower, bitter vegetables). soil…). In particular, Vietnam is possessing many precious, rare, and endemic medicinal species such as Ngoc Linh ginseng, three halves, chau tree, and silver ginseng.
The screening, research, and development of products for the prevention and treatment of human illnesses rely heavily on this indigenous knowledge.

Additionally, the preservation, exploitation, and development of medicinal plants have produced some benefits after almost 30 years of implementation. The Red River Delta (Hanoi), the Northern Midlands (Tam Dao), the Northern High Mountains (Lao Cai), the North Central Coast (Thanh Hoa), the Central Highlands (Da Lat), the South Central Coast (Phu Yen), and the Southeast have all had networks for the conservation of genetic resources up until this point (Ho Chi Minh City). Additionally, in 7 medicinal plant gardens of the units, the industry has stored and preserved 1,531 genetic resources from 884 different species of medicinal plants; 100% of the genetic resources were initially evaluated, and 30% are being evaluated in-depth according to growth and development criteria. In particular, 11 medicinal plants, including Crinum latifolium L., artichokes, morning glory, bitter gourd, cloves, bitter melon, pot grass, fenugreek leaves, fenugreek seeds, string tea, and precursor needles, are currently grown in accordance with the guidelines and standards of “Good practice in cultivation and collection of medicinal plants” (GACP-WHO).

Huge market
About 80% of people in poor countries utilize traditional medicine or herbal remedies for health care and protection, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Vietnam, therefore, offers a variety of chances to support the growth of the home pharmaceutical sector, in addition to the potential and strengths of natural resources and medicines.

The medicinal herb and product markets in Vietnam are enormous. There are currently 63 public traditional medicine hospitals in the system of traditional medical examination and treatment; 92.7% of provincial general hospitals have a traditional medicine department; about 80% of commune health stations offer traditional medical examination and treatment, and nearly 7,000 private traditional medicine practice establishments use herbal ingredients in traditional medical examination and treatment. The public traditional medicine hospital block employs over 300 different varieties of medicinal herbs at a rate of roughly 3,000 tons annually, indicating a very high demand for them (about 10%/year).
In addition, as of December 2016, the whole country has about 226 manufacturers of herbal and traditional medicines (including 131 industrial-scale production facilities) using over 300 different types of medicinal herbs with different ingredients. About 80 types of medicinal herbs are commonly used.

The country currently has 1,440 functional food production facilities with an estimated demand for medicinal herbs of 20,000 tons per year. Statistically, the export volume of medicinal herbs reaches nearly 5,000 tons, bringing in a value of over 6 million USD per year.

In addition, the world is tending to reshape research methods to find new drugs instead of focusing on chemical synthesis in the laboratory with many difficulties, many toxicity, and great costs. about $700,000 million for new drug development). Pharmaceutical scientists and large pharmaceutical corporations are now focusing on screening from nature to find new biologically active substances with stronger, less toxic, and low research and development costs. than chemical synthesis.

Currently, in the world, active ingredients from medicinal herbs have been bringing in tens of billions of dollars in revenue each year such as cancer taxon from red pine; shikimic acid cures flu since anise; vinblastine and vincristine for cancer treatment from periwinkle… Therefore, the unique genetic resources and knowledge of our country are important advantages to accessing the market, helping to strongly support this initial screening process.

Another strength of Vietnam is the large and rich land area with an abundant workforce, which is very suitable for the cultivation and collection of medicinal herbs. In particular, the economic value brought from growing medicinal herbs is much higher than that of other food crops (5-10 times higher than rice cultivation). Specifically: planting dong quai can give income from 90-100 million VND/ha/year, artichoke trees earn from 60-80 million VND/ha/year; while rice only gives income from 20-40 million VND/ha/year. Therefore, the development of medicinal herbs is and will be a sustainable and stable direction, contributing to poverty reduction for many regions in the country. In particular, the 2016 Law on Pharmacy, which has just been passed by the National Assembly, has introduced many major policies, creating an important premise for the development of Vietnamese medicinal herbs in the current period.

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