Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) have been utilised in various forms since the earliest days of mankind. They have maintained their traditional basic curative role even in our modern societies. Apart from their traditional culinary and food industry uses, MAPs are intensively consumed as food supplements (food additives) and in animal husbandry, where feed additives are used to replace synthetic chemicals and production-increasing hormones. Importantly medicinal plants and their chemical ingredients can serve as starting and/or model materials for pharmaceutical research and medicine production.
Current areas of utilisation constitute powerful drivers for the exploitation of these natural resources. Today’s demands, coupled with the already rather limited availability and potential exhaustion of these natural resources, make it necessary to take stock of them and our knowledge regarding research and development, production, trade and utilisation, and especially from the viewpoint of sustainability.
The series Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the World is aimed to look carefully at our present knowledge of this vast interdisciplinary domain on a global scale. In the era of global climatic change, the series is expected to make an important contribution to the better knowledge and understanding of MAPs.