Medicinal Plants and Products,  Malaysian Industry Status Report


Zurinawati Zainal Abidin


Common Fund For Commodities Medicinal Herbs & Plants: Scope for Diversified and Sustainable Extraction.




Malaysia, medicinal plants, herbal industry


Introduction :Malaysia is blessed with a huge tropical rainforest resource. Malaysia's rainforest, being part of the world's tropical rainforest biome, is considered one of the most evolved and diverse rainforests in the world as it is believed to be untouched by the Ice Age (Indu Bala J. & Lean Teik N., 2000). Malaysia is among the 12 biodiversity-rich countries of the world. The total area under the Malaysian rainforest is estimated to be 19.12 million hectares, which covers 58.1 % of the country's land area. This area supoprts more than 20,000 plant species and 2,000 plant species have been reported to have medicinal values (Indu Bala J. & Lean Teik N., 2000). The potential for discovering useful and valuable products for food, heatlh, cosmetics, flavour and fragrance, industrial chemicals, herbal remedies and pharmaceuticals is therefore tremendous (Tunku Mahmud, 2000). In 1998, the herbal industry in Malaysia was in its infancy stage and mainly dominated by the Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) with low technological know-how and managerial skills. Presently, it is believed that the industry is developing to a higher stage as shown by the strong commitment by the Malaysian government towards the development and promotion of the herbal industry in the country. This is also supported by the dynamic growth of the market and strong participation from local payers.