Iran’s Potentials in Medicinal Plants and Diversity of Plant Species

Iran is in the vanguard of medicinal plants, rare crops that are unique to Iran and extraction of plants’ essences.

Iran not only cultivates such unique crops as barberry and saffron and a copious amount of varied medicinal plants, but is also in the vanguard of rose essential oil extraction, which is worth around $18,000 per litre.

According to a report by Khabar Online, as translated by IFP, Mohammad Hassan Osareh, the Secretary of the Centre for Medicinal Plants Technology Development, highlighted Iran’s position in the production of medicinal plants.

Osareh, who was addressing the closing ceremony of the 3rd National Festival and Exhibition of Medicinal Plants, Natural Products and Iranian Traditional Medicinal Plants, pointed to the presence of 8,000 plant species in Iran and noted, “230 of these species are used for perfumes, flavours, colours, health, and beauty products, herbal tea, fertilizers, and plant pesticides.”

“Iran gains $80m to $100m in revenue from the export of crude medicinal plants,” Osareh said.

Rose is one of the plants widely cultivated in Iran, he said, adding that rose oil is among the most precious essential oils, which is worth about $18,000 per litre.

“26,000 hectares of land are under cultivation of rose in Iran while Bulgaria, our rival country, has allocated only 2,000ha to the cultivation of this plant,” Osareh stressed.

According to him, Iran is a pioneer in cultivating saffron; however, the saffron cultivated in other countries is not comparable to that of Iran in terms of such organic compounds as Safranal.

Osareh went on to say that 94% of the world’s saffron is cultivated in Iran and added, “Iran earns $450m from the export of its saffron.”

The country has 11 of the 13 climate zones in the world, and thus enjoys such great diversity of medicinal plants, he noted.

Osareh highlighted the importance of technology in this industry and said, “Just like other countries, Iran can create a great amount of added value by integrating technology in plants.”

He pointed to the cultivation of olive, barberry, pomegranate, rose and saffron in Iran and stressed that “Iran is the only country that grows barberry in the world; hence, it has increased the area of land under cultivation for this crop from 12 hectares to 16.”

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