Chin Bull Bot ›› 2009, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (03): 363-370.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1674-3466.2009.03.014

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Sustainable Use of Epimedium Resources: Current Status and Prospects

Huafeng Zhang1, 2, Xiaohua Yang2, 3*, Yurong Guo1, Ying Wang2


  1. 1College of Food Engineering and Nutritional Science, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China;
    2Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China;
    3Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
  • Received:2008-08-04 Revised:2008-09-17 Online:2010-11-03 Published:2009-05-01
  • Contact: Xiaohua Yang


Herba Epimedii is a unique and traditional Chinese medicinal plant that plays important roles in traditional Chinese medicine, functional food and landscaping design. Currently, wild Epimedium plants are the main source of the Chinese medicinal material. Wild harvesting has depleted the natural population to such a degree that the plant has become threatened with extinction for certain species. As a result, conserving and utilizing the wild Epimedium species sustainably is essential. Good agricultural practice cultivation, production in natural habitats and wild-simulated production of Epimedium species are efficient methods for increasing the supply and protecting the wild resource. The flavonoids for the important pharmacological activities of Herba Epimedii can also be produced by biological techniques such as metabolic engineering, cell and organ cultures and microbial fermentation, which might provide alternative strategies to reduce the consumption of wild plant resources. Additionally, understanding the phytochemical components comprehensively for different Epimedium species and improving the extraction recovery of the bioactive ingredients to optimize the usage of different species and protect the wild plants are important. As well, further administrative efforts should be employed to ensure the conservation of the rare and endangered germplasm.

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