Medicinal plants are the healing miracles of nature. Nature leads us in the process of treatment of diseases. Treatment is the art of making use of the subtleties of science. Art is in nature and its mystery. In this journey full of discovery, medicinal plants should be used in the most accurate way. All living creatures in nature are products of ecological balance. These creatures work systematically and are in a relationship with each other. In this perfect operation the plants are pioneers and serve as producers. People have benefited from plants to meet their energy and nutrient requirements, to find solutions to health problems and more. Medicinal and aromatic plants are medicinal plants and herbal origin raw materials to heal diseases and to preserve health. Medicinal and aromatic plants are used in such areas: food, cosmetics, body care, incense, field and garden care, park and landscape arrangements. Medicinal and aromatic plants play a valuable and important role in terms of the economic, social, cultural and local ecological aspects of the surrounding world communities. Our country has an important place due to its geographical location in the world. It hosts the ecosystem, habitat diversity and rich species diversity. Different climatic types, wide area, being a bridge between European and Southwest Asian Flora and the fact that it contains a wide variety of soil and main rock types, has enabled the development of a very rich flora in our country. There are around 12.000 plant varieties in our country and one-third of them are endemic species that grow only in our country.
Our city of Hatay stands out with its rich cultural and historical values and biological richness as well. (Kayıkçı and Ark) Hatay flora has diversity and importance on the basis of ethnobotany and ethno pharmacology. The city of Hatay shows rich habitat diversity with its mountains, plains, coastal dunes, marine areas, wetlands, maquis and forest areas, and this has enabled the formation of very unique biodiversity in our city. There are about 2600 plant species in our city. 260 of these plants are endemic species specific to our country. It also has a special place because it is the place where the 182 plant species which are naturally spread in our city are collected and named for the first time. Dozens of plant species have named after our beautiful city Antakya such as Antakya Çakşırı (Ferulagoantiochia), Antakya Kılıçotu (Gladiolusantakyensis), Antakya Sarıyıldızı (Gageantakiensis) and Antakya Peygamberçiçeği (Centaureantiochia) and more. Amanos Mountainshave a very important place in terms of plant diversity with 1580 plant species (251 endemic species). Some of the endemic species grow naturally on in Hatay in Turkey. 160 of the plants species living in this unique habitat are endangered. Approximately 5 percent of the Amanos Mountains Flora is consisting of species specific to these mountains, such as Musa Sage (Salviatigrina), NurŞalbası (Salviasericeo-tomentosa), and Peace Flower (Scorzonerapacis). More than 30 plant species such as Amanos Kangalı (Cirsiumamani), Amanos Sığırkuyruğu (Verbascumamanum) and Amanos Kaplanotu (Dorycniumamani) are named after Amanos Mountains. Keldağ (KılıçDağı, Cassia, JabelAkra), located in the south of Hatay, on the Syrian border, contains 75 endemic plant species, which 45 of them are endangered one. Dozens of plant species have taken the name of this beautiful mountain such as KeldağKangalı (Cirsiumcassium), KeldağPeygamberçiçeği (Centaureacassia), KeldağBaklası (Viciacassia) and KeldağMürdüüğü (Lathyruscassius).
Hatay city is rich in medicinal and aromatic plants. Hundreds of medicinal and aromatic plants such as Daphne (Laurusnobilis), Zahter (Thymbraspicata), HalilZateri (Origanumsyriacum), Sumac (Rhuscoriaria), Çakşır (Ferulasp, Ferulago sp.) Adaçayı (Salviasp.), Dağçayı (Sideritis sp.), Bilberry (Myrituscommunis), Menengich (Pistaciaterebentus), Locust (Ceratoniasiliqua), Gum Tree (Pistacialentiscus), Gentian (Hypericumperforatum), and Scaly Fern (Helichrysum) naturally spread in our city. (Kayıkçı and Ark)
With the introduction of natural products, the importance of medicinal and aromatic plants in world trade has increased. Although there ismuch medicinal and aromatic plant diversity in the Hatay flora, this potential cannot be evaluated adequately and there is a market problem. Most of the plant species that are traded are collected from nature. However, this is not enough in terms of production. In order to increase the commercial volume and to obtain quality products, these plants need to be taken into culture.
In order to introduce the vegetation that is enriched with suitable climatic conditions and fertile soil of Hatay, T.C. Hatay Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Museum was established by the Governorship of Hatay. This museum is the only plant museum in Turkey. In the rooms of an old Antakya house, end products from dried medicinal and aromatic plants to essences are on display.
“The Action Plan for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Hatay city (2015-2019)” by DOĞAKA is a guideline for the recognition of the potential of our city’s medicinal plant. In addition, there are many scientific publications related to medicinal and aromatic plants of our city. (Kayıkçı)
The struggle for life brings stress and some diseases. Being healthy and improving the quality of life are important factors. Although the healing and calming features of nature go back a long way, the source of herbal medicine that we use today is China and India. In western countries, medicinal herbs, which were used among the public, began to be preferred by doctors as an alternative treatment in later years. In Germany, approximately 300 plants were examined in the 1970s. Standardization of the plants was recorded according to the statistical means of the clinical effects of these plants collected in the pool.
It means herbal treatment. There is a growing interest in Phytotherapy due to the side effects of chemical drugs. Plants are used in various forms (medicinal tea, paste, medicine, etc.) as sedative, protective and supporting to the systemic disorders in the body.
Herbal medicines are pharmaceutical drugs such as tablets, capsules, etc. that are produced from plant extracts obtained from extracts standardized by appropriate laboratory applications or from plant powders obtained in special methods.
Note that the natural is not always safe.
“All compounds are poisonous; there is no substance without poison. It is the dose that differentiates the drug from poison.” This statement by Paracelsus also applies to herbal products. Therefore, we can see the miraculous benefits of the plants if we use the right dose in consultation with the specialist.
Many medicinal plants, which are naturally found or can be grown in our country, are cultured and the herbal drug products are prepared from them and raw materials should be supplied to the world herbal medicine market. Our country has enough knowledge and technology to produce and even develop new products in the pharmaceutical industry. Both in Turkey market and the world market, Phytotherapy is moving to a more advanced point in cooperation with physicians, pharmacists, industry, universities and public institutions.
Medicinal and aromatic plants to be exhibited at the EXPO 2021 to be held in our city by Hatay Metropolitan Municipality will be an important opportunity for the development of plant trade.