Indonesia is a tropical country with abundant natural resources of medicinal and aromatic planst. It is the second largest biodiversity centre in the world and can be placed in the first position if marine biodiversity is also taken into consideration. About 80% of the global medicinal plant resources are found in the Indonesian tropical forests spreading over 143 million hectares. More than 40 million Indonesians depend directly on biodiversity, making use of about 6,000 plant species. According to the Indonesian Country Study on Biodiversity (ICSBD) there are about 25,000 to 30,000 species of flowering plants in the country. About 10% of the total Indonesian flora is thought to possess medicinal value (Erdelen et al., 1999). According to the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan, BPOM) 250 species are directly harvested from forests and 283 species have been registered for use by traditional medicinal industries.
The majority of the medicinal plants used in Indonesian traditional medicines are collected from the wild and very few are cultivated. Twenty-five percent of the 55 most important plant species used for Jamu, are collected from forests (Erdelen et al., 1999). The collection is conducted either by specialized collectors or herbalists in rural areas who grow the plants in their gardens. Some important cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants include Cinchona spp., Curcuma longa L., Kaempferia galanga L., Orthosiphon aristatus (Blume) Miq., Piper nigrum L., Piper retrofractum Vahl, Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L. M. Perry L., Tanacetum cinerariifolium (Trevir.) Sch. Bip and Zin59 giber officinale Roxb,. Most cultivation methods are traditional except for Cinchona spp., which is grown on estates. Pyrethrum (Tanacetum cinerariifolium (Trevir.) Sch. Bip.) is grown at higher altitudes in Irian Jaya province. Extensive use, unsustainable collection and over exploitation has endangered the existence of some species mainly available Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br., Alyxia reinwardtii Bl., Pimpinella pruatjan Molkenb., Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. ex. Kurz and Strychnos ligustrina Bl. In the wild. Some plants known under the term sanitation per aqua (SPA), besides their use for manufacture of herbal medicines, are also used for cosmetics and hydrotherapy. Plants containing volatile oils such as cananga oil from Cananga odorata Hook. F. & Thoms., black pepper oil from Piper nigrum L. and clove oil from Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L. M. Perry are used in SPA and are becoming popular among the people of Indonesia. The important medicinal and aromatic plant species of Indonesia used in Jamu and phytopharmaca medicines are listed in Table 1 and 2 respectively (Mursito et al., 2003).
Cajeput oil (kayu putih) used as medicine is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca leucadendra (L.) L and Melaleuca minor Sm. The trees grow naturally in Maluku and Nusa Tenggara and have also been planted in Yogyakarta, Western, Central and Eastern Java. Sandalwood oil is produced by many species of the genus Santalum mainly Santalum album L. The tree is found to grow naturally in Belu, Timor, North Central Timor, South Central Timor, Kupang, West Sumba and East Sumba. The village chiefs are authorized to issue harvesting permits for exploitation of sandalwood (FAO, 2002). The cultivation of medicinal plants in buffer zones of natural conservation areas and under forest stands have been carried out to reduce forest encroachment by providing alternative income sources, reducing direct collection of plants from natural habitats and to increase the supply of medicinal plants. Field trials on farm lands in the buffer zone of the Halimun conservation area has given positive results for four plant species, namely Amomum compactum Sol. ex Maton, Foeniculum vulgare Mill., Guazuma ulmifolia Lam. and Zingiber cassumunar Roxb. (Zingiber purpureum Roscoe). The quality of the symplicia met the Indonesian Materia Medica standard. In central Jawa cultivation was undertaken for some high demand medicinal and aromatic plants such as ginger, turmeric and temoelawak under forest stands of Albizia falcata (L.) Backer or teak forest (Tectona grandis L. f.).
The cultivation of high demand medicinal plants in Jawa and Sumatra provinces is progressing towards meeting the demand of industry. The centres in these locations are close to industry. More than 90% of raw materials used in the Jamu industry come from domestic resources. Inconsistency in the quantity and quality of raw materiasl either from natural or cultivated sources is the main constraint of the industry. Some companies have formed partnerships with the farmers in order to cultivate certain medicinal 60 plant species and have started cultivation of more than 50 plant species.