This meeting has it all. Today I caught a wonderful presentation by Frank Lee of Nanchang University about efforts to introduce “Good Agriculture Practice” or GAP (See the FAO’s page on this approach here), on the growing of herbs for traditional medicines. The idea is to make sure the medicines are what they purport to be, are not chock-full of mercury or other toxins, and are being harvested in a sustainable way.
So, field labs have been set up in Inner Mongolia to work of the harvesting of licorice there—used as a medicine to “invigorate the heart, lungs, spleen and stomach,” among other thing. The most interesting challenge they face is supervising the transition from collecting wild plants to growing them as a crop. They are watching to make sure that the domestication process does not affect expression of the active component. Awesome.