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Frontiers in Horticulture: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants - The Basics of Industrial Application

  • ID: 4430875
  • Book
  • October 2017
  • 206 Pages
  • Bentham Science Publishers Ltd
A Fundamental Understanding of the Science and Applications of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Materials

This book provides readers a fundamental understanding of the science and applications of medicinal and aromatic plant materials. Chapters of this handbook covers the basics of ethnobotany, (bio)active compounds and their natural sources. Information about the cosmetic, nutritional, medicinal and industrial uses (dyes, tannins and biocides) is also presented. Readers will also learn about concepts central to quality control processes, sustainable management, wild harvesting and the economic valuation of the industrial impact of endemic plants.

The volume also presents a case study of the wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.), which is helpful in explaining the above concepts.

This book is intended as a handbook for undergraduate students and teaching professionals in research and higher education institutions involved in agricultural engineering, pharmacy, forestry, natural product chemistry. Non experts interested in aromatic and medicinal plant agriculture, transformation and commercialization will also find the content informative.


Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) have been accompanying mankind from its very early beginnings, still mainly due to their tremendous diversity even today these plants constitute a relatively less explored group of economic plant systems.

MAP diversity implies both practical and scientific aspects. The initial practical aspects refer to the traditional uses of plants, mostly in healing and medication. According to a frequently cited data in the special literature, approx. 80% of the world’s population makes use of plants or plant derived substances in their every-day medication (Akerele, 1992). In order to curb the overexploitation of these valuable natural resources, since the Chiang Mai Declaration of 1988, much attention has been paid to their sustainable use and exploitation. In addition to sustainable wild-crafting from the natural populations, the cultivation of MAPs is being regarded as an important, sustainable form of dependable raw material production of good quality crude drugs to be used safely and with efficacy in an extremely wide range of uses. Precondition for all this is a sound knowledge of the influencing factors and the targeted transfer into practice of scientific, as well as practical knowledge.

It is the above-mentioned knowledge that is summarized in present eBook, in a relatively concise though transparent way. The volume is divided into two major Parts, Part I Medicinal and Aromatic Plants growing and uses and Part II A study case of MAPs production, uses and commercialization. Artemisia absinthium var. Candial.

Starting out from the botanical and chemical aspects of MAPs (active principles incl. identification, isolation and purification) through basic knowledge about most frequently applied methods of horticultural production technology, harvesting, as well as processing Part I. is a virtual storehouse of valuable information. Importantly, insight is provided into the achievements of a wide range of sciences involved. In harmony with the modern requirements on safe medicinal plant use, the subsequent chapters deal with quality management, quality control of MAPs.

As a quasi evaluation of all the knowledge on the uses and commercialization of MAPs discussed in the previous chapters, the book offers Readers a case study on wormwood (Artemisia absinthium var. Candial), a woody perennial species of the genus Artemisia which is native mostly to the temperate regions of Eurasia and Northern Africa and is widely naturalized also on the North American continent. The selection of wormwood as a model plant can be regarded symbolic, since this species is known and used from the early times of human civilizations. As such, it can be regarded as an example for the timelessness diversity and wealth of medicinal and aromatic plants. In addition, wormwood is grown not only as an ornamental plant but it has acquired reputation as an ingredient of the famous European beverage absinthe. Its manifold uses include expelling round worms and threadworms, treating irritations, sprains and bruises. Planted as a companion plant it is reputed to repel slugs, snails, aphids, etc. In cultivation it can be propagated both vegetatively by semi-hardwood cuttings and by seeds, so that this ancient plant constitutes a good example to illustrate many of the principles related to the cultivation, processing and utilization of medicinal and aromatic plants described in the previous chapters of Part 1. It is a special value of the book that the Authors collective of well-known representatives of their profession have paid a special attention to the requirements of quality management including the characterization and valorization of extracts obtained from wormwood which in the case of all MAPs is of great importance.

This e-book is expected to be a useful addition to the not too abundant science based special literature on MAPs. It is a multi-faceted volume with a wealth of useful and up-to-date information for those who wish to orientate themselves in the science and practice of medicinal aromatic plant diversity.

Habil. Prof. Dr. MÁTHÉ
President of International Council for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
West Hungarian University,
Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science,
Department of Botany,
H-9200 Mosonmagyarovar, Var u. 2.,


Nature has been a source of medicinal agents for thousands of years, since healing with the plants dates back probably to the evolution of Homo sapiens. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) produce a range of secondary metabolites useful for humans, making this group a target of scientific interest and market. These products are substances ranging from spices and condiments, to essential oils and extracts, used in cosmetics, perfumery, food, nutraceuticals, natural dyes, natural biocides and many other compounds.

The demand for these plants and the products obtained from them is nowadays increasing worldwide, and some of them are becoming scarce in some areas due to wild harvesting. The demand in Europe for products obtained from MAPs is going to grow, for our health care needs and demands are changing. In fact, medicinal use of MAPs represent the biggest number of plant species used by human, as they provide most of the medicinal ingredients in many health care traditional systems. But these plants are not only used for medicines. Their use in the cosmetic and perfumery, food and liquor industries is well known, as well as other uses as natural pesticides, dyes, tannins, etc. These other uses of MAPs are many important for their growing economic importance and market possibilities. Plant extracts have been used as insecticides since before ancient Rome, a practice that continues today with more than 2000 species.

Currently, there is considerable decentralization of this market, which is characterized by lack of information and data in the sector, together with a deficiency regarding quality requirements of crops and products obtained from them, method of production and cultivation, market demand and how to access to it. At the same time, in many countries, wild collection is or has been practiced. This activity often lacks of quality control mechanisms of the raw material generating environmental degradation.

MAPs are a source of biodiversity, local development, and entrepreneurship, preventing rural population emigrating to urban areas, and a potential for development of ecotourism businesses. This field is a niche for market, business and entrepreneurship, demanding the knowledge and tools required for a quality product and the necessary skills for its start-up. They represent a relatively new area of social environmental education with considerable and growing interest.

This eBook focuses on establishing a fundamental understanding of the tradition and science that envelops MAPs. It aims to provide a basis on horticulture, active principles, identification, isolation and purification as well as the handling, processing and uses of MAPs and their derivatives.

The book is made up of two parts. A general first part, starting with a general vision describing the most important topics dealing with the production and processing of MAPS, concepts and sources of active principles, followed by cultivation an production of MAPs, what are active ingredients and their classification, the obtaining of raw matter, and the uses of these plants in the cosmetic, food, medicinal and other sectors, MAPs sustainable assessment and economic valuation of environmental services provided by MAPs.

The second part is a practical case where the plant Arthemisia absinthium var. Candial is assessed in terms of propagation, production and collection. For many years, the authors have worked on this specie, domesticated it and identified its active principles and their uses, presenting a unique research work that encompasses al the aspect s presented in the general part, applied to a single species of high interest. This part gives the book its unique and specific value in this area of interest. This case study is what gives the novel and unique character of the book, which will certainly be of great demand.

This book is intended for students and professionals in agricultural engineering, pharmacy, forestry, chemistry of natural products, research and education institutions, libraries. Also, it is focussed on general public interested in aromatic and medicinal plants production, transformation and commercialization. This book is a reference book that brings a new vision, a concrete example that has been studied in depth at all levels covered in the book.


I want to dedicate the book to the memory of two very good friends who contributed their bit to the world of aromatic and medicinal plants and that left their trajectory before being able to complete it. Pedro Manuel Díaz Fernández, my neighbour, career partner and colleague, but above all, my friend, great expert in wild edible plants, whom I would have invited to write a chapter in this book. Andrés Corral, an entrepreneur, fighter and friend, who with his strength and spirit reached the highest position in essential oil production for perfume industry. The seeds that you both planted will continue to grow and the fields in bloom will bring us their aromas in your memory. - Madrid, Spain, November 27th 2016.

M. Paz Arraiza
PhD. Associate Professor
Department of Forest Engineering,
ETSI Montes, Forestal y Medio Natural,
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid,
Ciudad Universitaria SN. 28040 Madrid,

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown

María Paz Arraiza
PhD. Associate Professor
Department of Forest Engineering,
ETSI Montes, Forestal y Medio Natural,
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid,
Ciudad Universitaria SN. 28040 Madrid,

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown