(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The Oman Animal and Plant Genetic Resources Center (OAPGRC), in partnership with Dhofar University, will host the first meeting on Medicinal Plants Focal Points of IORA-RCSTT and exhibition from June 23 to 25 in Salalah.
It will be held in cooperation with the Indian Ocean Rim Association's Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer (IORA-RCSTT) and under the patronage of Sheikh Salim bin Mustahail al Mashani, advisor at the Diwan of Royal Court.
A press release stated that medicinal plants have been used since ancient times to heal and cure diseases and improve health.
The oldest written evidence of their use was found on a 5,000 year old Sumerian clay slab in Nagpur, India. The slab contained 12 recipes for drug preparation and referred to over 250 plants. Today, medicinal plants continue to play a critical role in the healthcare sector. It is estimated that more than 10,000 species are used worldwide for medicinal purposes.
The World Health Organization suggests that 80 per cent of people in developing countries rely on traditional medicines, which are mostly of plant origin, for primary healthcare.
Dr Nadiya al Saady, executive director OAPGRC, was quoted in the release as saying, ''Over the past few years, we have seen an increased interest in medicinal plants for their potential to yield useful drugs. The global demand for products labelled as natural' is expected to continue. This offers countries like Oman, which have medicinal plant resources, significant commercial opportunities. Omani farmers, entrepreneurs and pharmaceutical companies could all gain from the sustainable and creative use of indigenous medicinal plants.''
She said that problems with drug-resistant microorganisms, side effects of modern drugs and emerging diseases have reignited interest in plants as a source of new medicines.
''Despite the increased demand for medicinal plants, countries possessing rich biodiversity of medicinal plants can struggle to reap the rewards from these natural resources. It is in this light that the conference and exhibition have been designed. We are looking to extend cooperation among lORA member states.''
Dr Nadiya added, ''The Salalah conference will examine a number of issues, particularly on how to meet the demand for medicinal species sustainably. We need to ensure that wild medicinal plant populations do not come under threat. More co-operation is required among institutions concerned with the use and trade of medicinal plants, including those from the healthcare, conservation and commercial sectors, to ensure the conservation of biodiversity and continued availability of medicinal resources. We need to make sure we protect the natural wealth we have so future generations can also reap its benefits