In China, overharvesting and habitat loss threaten its diverse wild orchid population


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China is well known for its medicinal use of wild plants, a tradition that dates back thousands of years. These traditional Chinese medicines include many wild orchids, some quite showy. Typically, orchids are consumed alone or mixed with other herbs in tea or soup. The health benefits vary depending on species; conditions for which orchids are used include immune system boosting, hypertension and stroke. Many of these medicinal orchids are among the 40-plus species in the genus Dendrobium. In recent decades, supplies of wild-sourced medicinal Dendrobium orchids have declined steadily, with shortages of some types. This is occurring in the...