Chinese Herbs in the 21st Century: Questions for a Sustainable Future
By Jasmine Rose Oberste LAc with Bria Larson
China is home to a greater diversity of the world’s plants than any other region of the planet. Considering that herbal medicine is a cornerstone of Chinese medicine, the relationship between human populations, market demands and the ecosystems in which Chinese herbs grow warrants closer examination. Can Chinese and global ecosystems support the increased demand of herbal medicine as it is harvested and sold now, largely unregulated? This article explores some of the current challenges we face with Chinese herbal medicine today, at the intersection of conservation biology and international trade of medicinal plants, and the various regulations and guidelines that will ensure, quality, long-term availability of both wild and cultivated Chinese herbs.
Jasmine Rose Obserte is a licensed acupuncturist and nationally certified herbalist practicing in San Francisco and Berkeley. With Bria Larson, she co-founded the Chinese Herb Garden, a 501c-3 non-profit project of the Trust for Conservation Innovation, to promote the sustainable use of Asian medicinal flora. In addition to her private practice and non-profit work, she teaches Herbal Formulas at ACCHS in Oakland, CA.
Bria Larson graduated with a B.A. from Williams College and is a currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at ACTCM. She is also the Development Officer at ACTCM and recently organized the International Symposium for the Conservation of Endangered Species and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, China. Bria brings years of experience in the non-profit sector and a passion for environmental conservation to her work within Chinese medicine.
About American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) has provided affordable, quality health care to the public and trained professionals in acupuncture, massage and Chinese medicine since 1980. In addition to its graduate curriculum, ACTCM offers continuing education, public education, community outreach and clinical services in acupuncture and herbal medicine. ACTCM has been the recipient of many awards for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and has been voted “Best of the Bay” by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. ACTCM is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.