Held every five years in a different continent, the World Congress of Medicinal Aromatic Plants (WOCMAP) is an opportunity for medicinal and aromatic plant (MAP) stakeholders to convene around the current and future states of botanicals.
This year’s congress will take place on Nov. 13-17, 2019 in Famagusta, Northern Cyprus, which will feature 14 discussions by world-class experts on subjects surrounding key topics such as botanical biodiversity, cultivation, adulteration, laws and regulations, sustainability of MAPs, phytochemistry, essential oils, natural volatiles and safety and efficacy, among others.
Since 1997, WOCMAP VI’s president, K. Hüsnü Can Baser has held administrative positions for WOCMAP’s parent organizer, International Council for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ICMAP). In this exclusive interview with Perfumer & Flavorist, Baser discusses the evolution of the congress and its goals for the upcoming program. WOCMAP is a platform for discussions and future projections to serve MAPs, including essential oils, extracts, flavors and fragrances.
Perfumer & Flavorist:WOCMAP takes places every five years, with the upcoming sixth congress taking place in Northern Cyprus. As an organizer, what is your primary goal with the event? Who do you intend to reach?
K. Hüsnü Can Baser: World Congress of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (WOCMAP) series has been organized by the International Council for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ICMAP) which is a program of IUBS (International Union of Biological Sciences) based in Paris, every five years since 1992, in a different continent. I have served as secretary-general, vice-president and president of ICMAP since 1997, and elected as vice-president again in 2014 in Brisbane, Australia during the WOCMAP V to organize the 6th congress in 2019 in Famagusta, North Cyprus.
WOCMAP I was held on July 19-25, 1992 in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The following congresses were held as follows: WOCMAP II, Nov. 10-15, 1997 in Mendoza, Argentina; WOCMAP III, Feb. 2-7, 2003 in Chiang Mai, Thailand; WOCMAP IV, Nov. 9-14, 2008 in Cape Town, South Africa; WOCMAP V, Aug. 17-20, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia.
Every year numerous congresses are organized on medicinal and aromatic plants and their products throughout the world. WOCMAP is unique in the sense that it covers all aspects of medicinal and aromatic plants, natural products, essential oils, extracts, flavors and fragrances, regulatory matters, agriculture, veterinary aspects, feed additives, sustainable wild harvesting, conservation, biological activity, pharmacology, chemistry, analytical aspects, technology, trade, standards, ethnobotany, quality aspects, etc. every five years in a different continent. A resolution is issued following every congress which states the actual situation then with future projections of the development of related sectors. Proceedings of each congress are published and made public.
We intend to reach all stakeholders concerned with all aspects of medicinal and aromatic plants like scientists, industrialists, traders, regulatory authorities, consumer organizations, scientific correspondents and general public.
WOCMAP VI abstracts will be published in the prestigious Elsevier journal Phytomedicine, and peer-reviewed articles will be published in a special issue of the same journal. There will also be an attractive exhibition program where producers will be able to exhibit their products. We intend to reach all stakeholders concerned with all aspects of medicinal and aromatic plants like scientists, industrialists, traders, regulatory authorities, consumer organizations, scientific correspondents and general public.
P&F: This year’s discussions will focus on frankincense and myrrh. What is the significance of these raw materials to F&F?
HCB: Indeed, WOCMAP 2019 features a special track on frankincense and myrrh. This was suggested and overwhelmingly accepted by the participants of the 1st Frankincense Conference held last October in Oman. Frankincense and myrrh have been known and used as flavor and fragrance materials since time immemorial, especially in North East Africa and the Arabic peninsula. These unique materials have been used in perfumery and cosmetics, as incense ingredients, and in recent years their use in medicine have attracted scientists to look into their healing properties. This symposium is convened by Dr. Denzil Phillips and carefully selected speakers will talk on their production, chemistry, analysis, trade and uses. This will be an important thematic issue to be discussed at the congress. Those attending this symposium will get a better insight into these matters in half a day.
P&F: How is WOCMAP contributing to the sustainable trade of medicinal and aromatic plants, particularly in F&F? and how do you see the future of WOCMAP?
HCB: Sustainability in wildcrafting and trade is one of the main issues discussed in WOCMAP. As WOCMAP is the largest platform on medicinal and aromatic plants, the resolutions issued after each WOCMAP carefully touch upon this issue with future predictions and suggestions. Many aromatic plants which are sources of natural flavors and fragrances are still wildcrafted and this is a big issue for conservation.
Demand for research and trade in medicinal and aromatic plants is increasing. Considering that only 10-15% of the world’s flowering plant flora have been investigated, there is still room for further research, and the demand will never end. Therefore, WOCMAP’s series of congresses will be highly regarded in many years to come.
I look forward to meeting all those interested to hear latest developments in natural flavors and fragrances, essential oils, aromatic extracts, medicinal and aromatic plants on Nov. 13-17, 2019 in Famagusta, Northern Cyprus.