Herbalism and sustainable harvesting
With the increased popularity of herbal medicines, overharvesting (due to unsustainable wild plant collecting for supplement companies as well as by individuals) is threatening a number of species with extinction. United Plant Savers' list of at-risk plants:
American Ginseng - Panax quinquefolius
Black Cohosh - Actaea racemosa (Cimicifuga)
Bloodroot - Sanguinaria canadensis
Blue Cohosh - Caulophyllum thalictroides
Echinacea - Echinacea spp.
Eyebright - Euphrasia spp.
False Unicorn Root - Chamaelirium luteum
Goldenseal - Hydrastis canadensis
LadyÂs Slipper Orchid - Cypripedium spp.
Lomatium - Lomatium dissectum
Osha - Ligusticum porteri, L. spp.
Peyote - Lophophora williamsii
Slippery Elm - Ulmus rubra
Sundew - Drosera spp.
Trillium, Beth Root -Trillium spp.
True Unicorn - Aletris farinosa
VenusÂ Fly Trap - Dionaea muscipula
Virginina Snakeroot - Aristolochia serpentaria
Wild Yam - Dioscorea villosa, D. spp.
In addition to UPS, here's another group working to increase awareness of the problem and get supplement companies to reveal whether their herbs are harvested in a responsible and sustainable way.
In addition to working with these groups and letting supplement companies know of our concerns, we also need to use herbs wisely and consider whether there are alternatives to threatened plants that are unlikely to be effective in treating a particular condition (such as goldenseal, sometimes added to echinacea products but of dubious benefit as an immune stimulant).
Here is a link that might be useful: Sustainable shopping