Workshop at QAU on medicinal plants


Pakistan is the 8th leading country in producing medicinal plants and export products worth $ 6 million annually. It has a very rich resource of herbs and has almost 6,000 different types of vascular plants. This was stated by Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Masoom Yasinzai while addressing a three-day international workshop on ‘Medicinal Plants: Conservation and Sustainable Use’ here on Thursday at QAU. The workshop was organised by the QAU Department of Biotechnology, in collaboration with Pakistan Botanical Society to discuss scientific research and explore ways to establish links with the bio-industry. Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairperson Dr Javed Laghari addressed the inaugural ceremony and said the use of herbal medicine continues to increase rapidly across the world. “We need to team up for capitalising on this great science and focus on the value addition of herbal plants. We have the potential to become the world leader in this sector,” said Dr Laghari. He said HEC will continue to support research in plant sciences especially in medicinal plants.
Prof Dr Masoom Yasinzai said use of bio-medicine is on the rise even in developed countries. “In the US some 60 million people use 175 plants native to North America, collected from the wild in large quantities for commercial markets,” he said, adding that the survey had revealed the increasing trend of recommending herbal medicines as alternate health treatments. “The more we use medicinal herbs on commercial scale, the greater responsibility we have that they should come from sustainable sources and do not become extinct. Our laboratory scientists need to continue and enhance their efforts in developing new technologies for tissue culture and plants cell culture systems which undoubtedly represent a potential source of valuable medicinal compounds,” he said.