Climate change and the future of medicinal plants research


  • Emangbondji Koneï Hounsou
  • Mubo Adeola Sonibare
  • Taiwo Olayemi Elufioye



Due to their pharmaceutical properties and secondary metabolites, medicinal plants have played a crucial role in alleviating human suffering from various illnesses, disorders, and diseases. Along with other natural and artificial disasters, rapid climate change is one of the critical causes of the decline in wild medicinal plant species. Therefore, considering their significance in traditional medicine practices and economic value, investigating the potential consequences of climate change on medicinal plants is specifically relevant. This review aimed to investigate the diversity of species of medicinal plants within current climate scenarios. Additionally, it assesses the potential implications of climate change on the projected distribution of these species in subsequent scenarios and evaluates the possible impacts of these changes on the trajectory of future research in medicinal plants.

The distribution and life cycles of all vegetation, including medicinal plants, are significantly impacted by climate change. Additionally, future climate scenarios have been shown to affect the physiological performance of all vegetation worldwide. Various aspects related to climate change and its repercussions on medicinal plants are explored including the impact of increased carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3) levels, the effect of low temperature (Cold), climate warming, drought on the production of secondary metabolites, impact of threats on medicinal plants, and phenological changes. Each of these environmental factors influences the productivity and quality of different products and components of medicinal plants, either positively or negatively. Consequently, there is excellent complexity surrounding how climate change affects medicinal plants. Thus, for human survival on Earth, future researchers should carefully examine the interactions of various direct and indirect causes and their corresponding effects.

Keywords: Secondary metabolites, Climate change, medicinal plants, Phenology.





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