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Routes, roots and regulations: the ayurvedic herbal trade in the UK

Ayurveda is classified as an alternative and complimentary medicine in the UK. It’s an ancient medicinal system originating from India and many of the medicinal formulations are made from plants. Medicinal plants are often sustainably harvested from the wild because of their value to humans, however, many medicinal plants are at threat from overexploitation. Global biodiversity policies exist to protect nature, one such policy is the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). The UK is a signatory to this policy, and many medicinal plants are protected by CITES.  

This project is an urban ethnobotanical case study of the knowledge and use of ayurvedic herbs in the UK and their associated knowledge by engaging with a suite of actors intersecting in this globalised trade. It will evaluate the synergies between the global movement of knowledge and plants to the localised use of herbal plants. 

The objective of this study is to evaluate the conservation, culture and trade of ayurvedic herbs in the UK as a case study of natural resource governance. The aims of this project are to: 

a) Review the UK herbal market to assess the threats and trade of ayurvedic herbs.   

b) Understand the knowledge and use of ayurvedic herbal plants in the UK from intermediaries in the trade chain. 

c) Assess whether ayurvedic herbal plants are effectively governed in the UK through global wildlife trade policy. 

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