Ethnobotanical International Visions & Strategies

Technical support and resource services for medicinal plants

EIVS is a company providing management, technical support and resource services associated with the agriculture, scientific and commercial sectors of the medicinal plant industry.

Contact us

Home > Overview Problems > High demand from industry

High demand from industry

There is currently a very high demand for all forms and preparations of medicinal plants worldwide. The demand is increasing rapidly since 1995 in the private sector. The industrial sector is not far behind in demand. This market was estimated to be between 14 and 60 billion USD in 2004 (The Financial Express, Mar 29, 2004).

According to a WHO report in 2008 world sales of medicinal plants exceeds 20 billion - excluding the pharmaceutical industry.

Herbal treatments are the most popular form of traditional medicine, and are highly lucrative in the international marketplace. Annual revenues in Western Europe reached US$ 5 billion in 2003-2004. In China sales of products totaled US$ 14 billion in 2005. Herbal medicine revenue in Brazil was US$ 160 million in 2007.

The private sector is consuming huge amount of medicinal plants in “food supplements” and in the form of traditional medicines – mainly from China and India. The pharmaceutical sector is equally demanding high volumes of medicinal plants to make known medications and to develop new treatments.

“The valuable medicinal properties contained in certain plants are not, however, in doubt. In recent years, for example, the Chinese plant Artemisia annua, has become the essential ingredient in a new generation of anti-malaria drugs. The plant is now being grown in East African countries to supply pharmaceutical manufacturers in Europe. The bark of the tree Prunus africana is used in making treatments for prostate cancer. Sutherlandia, a native plant of South Africa, is being increasingly recognized for its value to HIV/AIDS sufferers.
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) report 07/3"

Medicinal plants are very profitable. A 1995 analysis estimated that each new plant derived drug is worth an average of $94 million to drug companies and $449 million to society (Mendelsohn and Bialick, 1995). Other estimates have reported sales ranging from $1.5 to $5.7 billion annually for non-prescription medicinal plants in the United States, and $24.4 billion in sales worldwide. The reported market value of prescription and over the-counter plant-based drugs in 1985 was $19.8 billion in the United States, and $84.3 billion worldwide (Pearce and Moran, 1994; Tuxhill, 1999).


Overview of problems in the medicinal plants industry