Trade development of medicinal plants products in Tanzania: an overlooked research area?


The existence of trade of products of medicinal plants reflects their significance on health care and the local economy. Consumption trends have shifted medicinal plants from local consumptions to economic contexts. However, the engagement of medicinal plants products within the market economy necessitates the understanding of the trade system and management for economy, health and biodiversity securities. This paper used a systematic literature review to assess information on trade of medicinal plants in order to explore its structure and identify research gaps. About 377 research articles were identified where 46 of them were reviewed. The literature indicate the contexts of the trade are natural forests and health sectors which influence supply and demand sides, respectively. The supply chain differ among literatures. The results indicate that, despite the importance of the medicinal plant trade in Tanzania, its understanding rely on isolated bits and pieces of information from other research articles, the evidence of an overlooked research area. The identified research gap was lack of information on the trade like value chain and trade mechanisms. The study recommends further research to combine ethnomedicine, conservation and economics research domains which can ensure sustainable use of scarce resources of medicinal plants to meet the limitless demand of the healthy community.



Tanzania, Medicinal plants, Herbal medicine, Trade