English (en) | Change Language
By: Stacy Swartz
Published: 2022-04-12

ECHO often gets requests for information about medicinal plants. Although ECHO does not focus on researching or experimenting with the medicinal traits of tropical plants, many of the tropical crops promoted by ECHO for other purposes also have medicinal value. In the past, ECHO has directed interested network members to the work of ANAMED, an international non-profit organization with over 30 years of experience with medicinal plants. It was recently brought to our attention that the World Health Organization also has resources on medicinal plants in a four-volume set. Volumes are organized by scientific name of the plant and include a great deal of information. While some information may not be what most of ECHO’s network is looking for, such as the chemical composition and detailed description of the plant appearance, there are sections under each plant description that may be very useful. For each plant the following topics of potential interest are presented in detail if available: 

  • Plant material of medicinal interest
  • Clinically tested medicinal attributes
  • Anecdotal reports of medicinal attributes
  • Warnings/adverse reactions/precautions
  • Pathway or explanation of medicinal activity

The volumes contain information about the following plants that are familiar to ECHO, many of which are offered from our Global Seed Bank: 

  • Onions (volume 1)
  • Senna (volume 1)
  • Calendula (volume 2)
  • Passionfruit (volume 3)
  • Neem (volume 3)
  • Jujube (volume 3)
  • Cucurbita (volume 4)
  • Guava (volume 4)

Volumes 3 and 4 have cumulative indexes so you can use these to see what the current volume you are reading contains, as well as content of previous volumes. There is also a cumulative index for plant part (instead of plant name) such as fruit (fructus) and root (radix). Unfortunately, the monographs do not include an index by ailment. 
Find these WHO Monographs on selected medicinal plants and other information about medicinal plants at http://edn.link/qettfp.