Ministry to grow more herbs locally

Farmers who increase harvests of medicinal plants in Taiwan would receive a bounty, said Director General of the Department of Chinese Medicine Huang Yi-tsau.

  • By Yang Yuan-ting and Liu Tzu-hsuan/staff reporter, with a staff writer

The Ministry of Health and Welfare has proposed that NT$70 million ($2.38 million) be allocated next year to subsidize the cultivation of medicinal plants in a bid to reduce dependence on screws from those imported from China.

Taiwan imports more than 20,000 tons of materials a year from China to make traditional Chinese medicines, including the herbs used to make Taiwan Chingguan Yihau (清冠一號), or NRICM101, a locally developed traditional herbal formula that is found to be effective against COVID-19. 19.

To reduce reliance on herbal medicines from China, the ministry said it has worked with the Council of Agriculture (COA) to develop a list of edible and medicinal plants that can be planted in Taiwan, including lycium, l chinese angelica, rehmannia. , chrysanthemum, lily grass and salvia root.

Photo: ANC

The ministry said it has improved cultivation techniques for salvia root and is working on applications of the herb at the Hualien District Agricultural Research and Extension Station.

The techniques were shared with the Farmers’ Association of Jian Township in Hualien City, which has worked with salvia root growers for a long time, the ministry said.

However, with most herbal medicines being cultivated on a small scale in Taiwan, the ministry on Wednesday proposed a plan to revitalize traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese Medicine Department Director General Huang Yi-tsau (黃怡超) said Friday.

The National Development Council approved the proposal, and the plan’s budget would subsidize the cultivation of medicinal plants, as well as processing and quality control, Huang said.

The ministry will cooperate with the council, the National Chinese Medicine Research Institute and the Council of Indigenous Peoples to promote “plant-friendly” organic farming, he said.

Farmers who lease national land for the cultivation of medicinal plants would be guaranteed a 10-year lease and receive a bonus for helping to reduce Taiwan’s dependence on imported plants, Huang added.

COA Vice Minister Chen Junne-jih (陳駿季) said promoting the cultivation and use of medicinal plants has been a priority for the council in recent years.

For example, he worked with researchers to prove that lamb’s-quarters is an effective treatment for diabetes in animals, Chen said, adding that pharmaceutical companies then conducted clinical trials on the plant.

Standardized procedures are crucial in the cultivation of medicinal plants, which is why the council establishes guidelines for plant spraying and quality control, he said.

As the Regulations Governing the Primary Processing of Agricultural Products (農產品初級加工管理辦法) covers the cutting, drying and roasting of medicinal plants, farmers can carry out the whole process from growing plants to processing them. primary, he said.

Contract and large-scale farming are the preferred methods for medicinal plants, as they make it easier to manage the plants after they are harvested, he added.

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