aromatic plants

How many species of medicinal and aromatic plants are there in the world?

Medicinal and aromatic plants are the main source of traditional medicine and spices. How many medicinal and aromatic plants are use worldwide? At present, the generally accepted data in academia is 72,000 species, of which about 1% (900 species) are cultivate artificially.


From 2007 to 2020, a foreign research project conducted a statistical study. The number of artificially cultivated aromatic and medicinal plant species. The data collected included species name, country, species planting place, artificial cultivation form and evidence type. The data inclusion criteria included data with medicinal evidence, Latin name and artificial cultivation origin. Data exclusion criteria include species used only for food or other non-medicinal purposes, and species without botanical name and origin information. The artificial cultivation forms counted include agroforestry, facility cultivation, extensive planting, intensive planting and natural cultivation.


The survey studied data in 165 countries in different languages ​​and concluded that there are 3,227 medicinal and aromatic plants in artificial cultivation around the world. These 3,227 medicinal and aromatic plants are:

  • According to the classification and criteria of the IUCN Red List, 82 species (2.5%) are threaten to varying degrees.
  • 1,732 species (54%) are listed on the Red List of Species in some country, and 688 species are assessed as threatened in at least one country.
  • In addition, 109 of the 3,227 cultivated species are list in the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
  • The Asteraceae family is the most cultivate family, with 272 species, and is grow in 162 countries.

The results of this study show that the number of cultivated aromatic and medicinal plants is significantly higher than the previous estimate of 900 species. From another perspective, it also shows that the development of artificial cultivation has alleviated the shortage of some endangered species. Itis an effective way for humans to use resources sustainably. Some so-called philanthropists who hold the banner of green environmental protection. Some often like to use species protection as an excuse. As if all endangered species are caused by traditional Chinese medicine!

File photo
File photo

A New Global Estimation of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Species in Commercial Cultivation and Their Conservation Status

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