Wild plant species are under pressure due to its usage to treat COVID-19 and make money, according to the report published by the international wildlife watchdog TRAFFIC on Thursday.

“Wild plant species used in herbal treatments of COVID-19 are set to come under heightened harvesting pressure, both as a result of increased demand and because of more people turning to wild harvesting as an alternative source of income during times of high unemployment and economic crisis,” TRAFFIC said.

The report asserted that herbal products containing wild plant ingredients are used to prevent and treat COVID-19 in South America, Africa, Europe, the US, and Asia.

In particular, more than 125 wild plant species harvested are used in official Traditional Chinese Medicine in China.

“Humankind’s dependence on wild plants for essential health care and well-being has never been more apparent than during the current COVID-19 pandemic”, said Anastasiya Timoshyna, TRAFFIC’s senior program coordinator and co-chair of the IUCN Medicinal Plant Specialist Group.

However, she said, there is totally lack of attention to sustainability in wild plant use.

According to the report, some 26,000 plant species have well-documented medicinal uses around the world and almost 3,000 of them are traded internationally.

The study also specified primary actions and advice for consumers, businesses, governments, as well as conservation and academic organizations.

TRAFFIC is a leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

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