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Table 3 The advantages and disadvantages of wild resource versus cultivated medicinal plant species

From: Conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants: problems, progress, and prospects

Characteristics Wild resource Cultivated species
Advantages It is open access resource without investment It relieves harvesting pressure on rare and threatened species
It is natural resource and free from pesticides It can keep genotypes being standardized or improved
Wild resource is supposed to be more efficacious It guarantees continuing supply of raw medicinal materials
Production volume and price can be stable for longer periods
Disadvantages Wild resource is becoming scarce and threatened by over-harvesting It needs substantial investment before and during production
There exists a risk of adulterations and resource exhaustion It narrows genetic diversity in gene pool of wild populations
Uncontrolled harvesting leads to the extinction of ecotype and species Reintroduced plants can cause genetic pollution of wild resource
There is a lack of resource inventories and related management practices Cultivated species may have negative impacts on ecosystems
There is a lack of successful cultivation techniques for some species
  1. Information from Hamilton [4], Schippmann et al. [20], Liu et al. [27], and Raina et al. [54]