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Medicinal and aromatic plants in Syria

T. Wahbe, Agronomist
Ministry of Agriculture

 

INTRODUCTION

The total area of Syria is 185 186 km2. It is bounded North by Turkey, East by Iraq, South by Jordan and West by Palestine, Lebanon and the Mediterranean. The population of the country is about 16 million. The country can be divided into 4 climatic zones: the mountain region, with annual rainfall of 800 – 1200 mm; the Mediterranean zone, with annual rainfall less than 600 mm; the central zone, with 300 – 600 mm annual rainfall; and the desert area with 100 – 200 mm rainfall.

Syria has a diverse base of flora and genetic resources. About 3 459 species belonging to 865 genus and 131 families grow in Syria. The production of non-wood forest products (NWFP) in Syria during the period 1990 – 1995 is shown in Table (1).

The medicinal, aromatic and toxic wild plants constitute a high proportion of the flora in Syria. Many plants, such as Matricaria spp., Thymus sp., Artimisia, fungi and truffle, are collected directly from the wild by rural people to make traditional medicines. A research programme was developed to enhance the production of medicinal plants in the country. Under this programme the following important studies were carried out:

 

THREATS FACING MEDICINAL AND AROMATIC PLANTS

Medicinal and aromatic plants are threatened by the flowing factors:

 

CONSERVATION OF MEDICINAL AND AROMATIC RESOURCES

The degradation of medicinal plants has a negative impact on the general health of people. Attempts are therefore being made by governmental institutions and the private sector to conserve the medicinal resources through:

  1. Formulation of a clear policy for production, transport and marketing based on the local and international needs of medicinal plants raw material.

  2. Coordination between all sectors (ministries, organizations, universities and research centers) concerned with medicinal plants.

  3. Survey of medicinal and aromatic genetic resources and establishment of gene resource banks.

  4. Establishment of pharmaceutical and insecticide industries based on medicinal, aromatic and toxic plants.

  5. Support of research on medicinal plants, training of technical staff and improvement of production techniques.

  6. Formulation of extension programs for rural people on the conservation and importance of medicinal and aromatic plants.

  7. Cultivation of medicinal plants.

  8. Protection of endangered species.

  9. Creation of botanical gardens for medicinal and aromatic plants.

  10. Implementation of breeding programmes for raising the productivity of the medicinal plants.

Table (1) : Production and value of non-wood forest products in Syria (1994)

Product

1990

1991

1992

1993

  

Prod/
tons

Value
(1000 SYP)

Prod/
tons

Value
(1000 SYP)

Prod/
tons

Value
(1000 SYP)

Prod/
tons

Value
(1000 SYP)

Myrtus branches

200

500

168

420

189

472

105

315

Magorana leaves

100

1 500

72

1 080

163

2 445

103

1 751

Glycyrrhizo
roots

1200

18 000

1142

17 130

1 228

20 876

1056

19 008

Carob pods

10

120

8

96

7

105

8

120

Rhus sp

150

4 500

89

2 670

105

3 150

82

2 460

Grape fruits and leaves

50

1 500

8

240

-

-

-

-

Pistacia fruits

10

150

-

-

4

60

-

-

Ferns

5

25

-

-

-

-

-

-

Humus

5000

1 500

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total

6725

27 795

1487

21 636

1696

27 108

1354

23 654

SYP = Syrian Pound (1000 SYP = 47,62 US-$, average exchange rate in 1990-93)
Source: Wahbe (1997).

 

Table (2): Production of medicinal and aromatic plants in Syria (1994)

Crop

Irrigation type

Production in tons

Lupinus

Rainfed

786

Rhus sp

Rainfed

14380

Pimpinella

Irrigated

2013

Arthamus tinctoreos

Rainfed

1350

Foeniculun

Irrigated

151

Nigella sativea

Irrigated
Rainfed

50
45

Sesamum indicum

Irigated
Irrigated

16265
54887

Petrose linum

Irrigated

526

Coriandrum sativum

Irrigated

120

Rosa

Irrigated

1000

Mentha

Irrigated

40

Allium cepa

Irrigated
Rainfed

45092
2518

Allium cepa

Irrigated

1337

Upinus sp

Rainfed

30

Pimpinell sp

Irrigated
Rainfed

3755
7275

Cuminum sp

Irrigated
Rainfed

1250
257224

Nigella sativa

Irrigated
Rainfed

200
1130

Coriandrum
sativum

Irrigated
Rainfed

1695
51

Mentha sp

Irrigated
Rainfed

592
20

Lepidium sativum

Irrigated

286

Pertoselinium

Irrigated
Rainfed

341

Allium
sativum

Irregated
Rainfed

17069
6694

Allium cepa

Irrigated

2138

Lupinus sp

Rainfed

30

Pimpinell sp

Irrigated
Rainfed

3755
7275

Cuminum sp

Irrigated
Rainfed

1250
257224

Nigella sativa

Irrigated
Rainfed

200
1130

Coriandrum
sativum

Irrigated
Rainfed

1695
51

Lepidium Sativum

Irrigated

286
Pertoselinium

Irrigated
Rainfed

341
Allium
Sativum

Irrigated
Rainfed

17069
6694

Allium cepa

Irrigated

2138

 

Table (3) : Prices of important plant species

Name of Plants

Price L.S / kg

Matricaria Chamomilla
Matricaria aurea
Thymus sp.
Salvia
Micromeria myrtifolia
Majorana sp
Althea sp.
Glycyrrhiza sp.
Paronychia argentea
Lippia citrio dora
Laurus nobilis
Artemisia sp
Equisetum te lmateia
Ceratonia siliqua
Cynara cardunculus
Lepidium sativum
Foeniculum sp
Fungi
Truflle
Anabasis syriaca
Amygdalus communis
Rosa damascena
Carthamos binctoria
Acacia senegal
Astragallus gummifera
Celtis tournejortii

400-600

400
250
250
250
250
500
400
400
250
400
120
70
70
50
50
200
400-1000
250
1000
600
900
900
200

 

Table (4) : Common Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Sold in Local Markets

Parts Used Botanical Name

Price L.S / kg

Dried Ceratonia siliqua

90

   Pistacia palaesting

45

   Thymus cilicius

90

   Organum syriacum

60

   Matricaria aurea

60

   Salvia aramiensis

50

   Laurus nobilis

90

   Micromeria myrtifolia

90

   Rhus coriaria

150

   Quercus calliprinos

30

   Equisetum telmateia

200

   Ferula cassii

40

   Rubia tinctorium

300

   Celtis tournefortii

250

Fresh Silybum marianum

50

   Cnicus benedictus.

50-100

   Matricaria aurea

25

   Malva sylvestris

30

   Taraxacum officinale

20

   Origanum syriacum

15-20

   Salvia aramiensis

15-20

   Thymus cilicicus

50

   Micromeria myrtifolia

40

   Rumex patientia

10

   Crithmum maritimum

20

   Nasturtium officinale

20

 


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