Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 26, 2004

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 12:41 pm

Flourishing global herbal mart

There is big money in herbs, and the Malaysian Herbal Corporation is
gearing Malaysia to become a global player by 2010 to capitalise on the
local market expected to be worth RM8 billion by then.

The current value of the local market is RM3.8 billion, while the global market is estimated at US$80 billion (RM304 billion).

Gabungan Wawasan Generasi Felda chairman Tan Sri Rozali Ismail said of the current herb market of RM3.8 billion, RM2 billion went to herbal remedies, RM1.6 billion on flavours and fragrances, and RM1 billion on pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.

Annual growth was expected to be 15 to 20 per cent, he said.

The World Bank anticipates that the market will hit US$5 trillion by 2050.

The major herbal products markets are Europe, North America, China and Japan.

In 1996, the World Health Or-ganisation estimated that 3.5 billion people in developing countries relied on plants as key components of their primary health care.

“Besides aquatic animals, medicinal and aromatic plants, Malaysia has 15,000 species of flowering plants besides lower plants and soil microorganisms. Of these, 1,200 species have potential pharmaceutical value,” he said at the launch of the four-day Herbal Asia 2004 expo at the Mid Valley exhibition centre, organised by Forest Research Institute Malaysia and Gitex (M) Sdn Bhd.

Herbal Asia 2004 is the first international herbal exhibition and trade show of its kind in Malaysia, bringing together international and local farmers, planters, manufactur-ers, retailers, researchers, agri-scientists and non-governmental or-ganisations.

It showcases the industry’s herbal products, technology and services to the latest in alternative medicine, and provides a platform for producers and manufacturers, investors, health and industry-related professionals to meet, exchange ideas and promote this rapidly growing industry.

Rozali said traditional medicine continued to flourish, due also to the failure of modern medicine to treat AIDS and cancer.

“The belief is that herbal medicine is natural and bears less side-effects,” he said.

Earlier, MP for Beruas Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) had drafted plans to turn Malaysia into one of the biggest global producers of herbal raw materials and products by 2010.

In a speech read by the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Dr Abdullah Mohd Tahir, Dr Lim said the everexpanding market for herbal products had increased demand for raw materials.

The State Forestry Departments have licensed and regulated extraction and movement of medicinal and herbal plants from forests to curb indiscriminate harvesting.

To ensure continuous supply and reduce pressure on natural forest, the Forestry Research Institute of Malaysia has launched a pilot project in Maran, Pahang, to systematically cultivate herbal plants like Tongkat Ali and Kacip Fatimah.

Dr Lim said the use of herbs as alternative medicine was reflected in the increasing sales of herbal products.

To gain a foothold in the global herbal market, Malaysia must compete in terms of quality, efficacy, safety, pricing and even packaging besides meeting the requirements of the European Union, Japan and US.

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