Press ReleasesNippon Paper Industries Develops Technology for Propagating Medicinal Plants as Materials for Herbal Medicine and Medicinal Drugs- Unique technology enables efficient production of rooted cuttings
and helps spread cultivation of medicinal plants in Japan -

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. (President: Yoshio Haga) is pleased to announce that it has applied its unique rooting technology to successfully develop a biotechnology for propagating 12 species of medicinal plants (including ephedra and cloves*1), plants whose cutting propagation had been deemed difficult.

Since ancient times, medicinal plants have been used as raw materials of herbal medicines and medicinal drugs. In recent years, demand for these plants has been growing in China and Western countries with the rising interest in Eastern medicine, including Japan's traditional kampo medicine. Kampo has also been drawing attention and used widely in Japan given rising health awareness. Yet 80% or more of the medicinal plants used in Japan are imported from China. Meanwhile, prices of crude drugs from China have been soaring partly because of export restrictions of some medicinal plants, which were imposed due to concerns that their excessive harvesting will lead to desertification and exhaustion of resources. Domestic cultivation of medicinal plants has been studied, but cutting propagation is difficult for many medicinal plants and only a handful of species are cultured in Japan. Stable procurement of medicinal plants is, accordingly, turning into a societal problem.

Nippon Paper Industries has responded by receiving aerial parts (stems and leaves) of medicinal plants from the Research Center for Medicinal Plant Resources of the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, one of Japan's leading research institutes on medicinal plants, and has applied its proprietary 'Photoautotrophic culture technology'*2 for propagating the plants. Twelve plant species were confirmed to have rooted sufficiently due to the technology.

This technology for propagating medicinal plants will enable efficient production of rooted cuttings of medicinal plants, which had been deemed difficult to propagate. It will make it possible to select and propagate superior lines that contain high quantities of medicinal properties. Nippon Paper Industries will apply this technology widely to contribute to spreading cultivation of medicinal plants in Japan.

  1. *1Medicinal plants confirmed to have rooted (Appendix 1)
  2. *2Photoautotrophic culture technology (Appendix 2)
    Photoautotrophic culture technology is a method of inducing plants' natural photosynthetic ability by applying high levels of carbon dioxide, water, and light, rather than using sugar, which acts as energy, in a tissue culture.