A Study of Medicinal Plants Utilization of Folk Healers: A Case Study of Folk Healers in Chiang Rai Province Thailand

Main Article Content

Sawai Wanset Daranee Onchomchant


Northern (Lanna) Thai indigenous (folk) medicines plays an important role in the society and the knowledge of such indigenous medicine or folk healing has been passed down from generations to generations. However, much of such knowledge has disappeared over time as it was passed down through only words and memorization. Much of the information was not written down officially. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compile all knowledge related to medicinal plants used by folk healers (mor ya mueang) in Chiang Rai province and identify their explicit use in order to preserve the useful wisdom for the people. This study was performed using in-depth semi-structured interviews with three indigenous healers in the province to collect the qualitative information on medicinal herbs. Data were collected and then analyzed to determine frequency; and a content analysis was performed. Results have shown that the folk healers use 75 species of medicinal plants (in 29 families), mostly dicots, 31 are herbaceous plants, followed by 26 shrub plants and 9 climbers. For medicinal purposes, the leaves are mostly used, followed by rhizomes and whole-plants. Eleven drug preparations are identified, mostly boiling for 47 herb species; and 22 species have a pungent taste. And most of the drugs are used for treating the illnesses of the gastrointestinal, respiratory and integumentary systems. In conclusion, folk healers still play a key role in community health care providing traditional medical care for the people. So, further studies should be conducted on the efficacies and safety of herbal drugs.



Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Original Articles


1. Thai Traditional Medicine Development Foundation. Herbal plant. Nonthaburi: Samcharoen Panich Co., Ltd; 2006. (in Thai)
2. Center of Strategic information. the effect of Buddhism religious to peoples’ health. Department for development of Thai traditional and alternative medicine ministry of public health. Nonthaburi: The publishing of The War Veterans Organization; 2009 . (in Thai)
3. Office of Thai Traditional healer. Story of Thai traditional medicine. Department for Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine. Nonthaburi: The express transportation organization of Thailand publishing; 2006. (in Thai)
4. Onchomchan D. Development of Thai traditional therapeutics and income supporter. Office of Thai traditional healer. Department for development of Thai traditional and alternative Medicine. Ministry of public health. Nonthaburi: 2005. (in Thai)
5. Maneenoon K, Khuniad C, Teanuan Y, Saedan N, Prom-in S, Rukleng N, et al. Ethnomedicinal plants used by traditional healers in Phatthalung Province, Peninsular Thailand. Journal of ethnobiology and ethnomedicine. 2015;11(1):43.
6. Baydoun S, Chalak L, Dalleh H, Arnold N. Ethnopharmacological survey of medicinal plants used in traditional medicine by the communities of Mount Hermon, Lebanon. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2015;173:139–56.
7. Yabesh JM, Prabhu S, Vijayakumar S. An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by traditional healers in silent valley of Kerala, India. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 2014;154(3):774–89.
8. Junsongduang A, Balslev H, Inta A, Jampeetong A, Wangpakapattanawong P. Karen and Lawa medicinal plant use: Uniformity or ethnic divergence?. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2014;151:517–27.
9. Yaseen G, Ahmad M, Sultana S, Suleiman AA, Hussain J, Zafar M, Rehman SU. Ethnobotany of medicinal plants in the Thar desert (Sindh) of Pakistan. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2015;163:43–59.
10. Ayuravedwittayalai school (Jivokomarabhat) foundation of Thai traditional medicine. Thai pharmacy. Bangkok: Pi Ka Nate printing center. 2005. 256 p. (in Thai)
11. Tangjitman K, Wongsawad C, Winijchaiyanan P, Sukkho T, Kamwong K, Pongamornkul W, et al. Traditional knowledge on medicinal plant of the Karen in northern Thailand: A comparative study. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2013;150(1):232–43
12. Homnuan S. Do Mai Ru Rum [internet]. Foundation of Herbal Faculty of Pharmacy Ubon Ratchathani University; 2016 [cited 2016 January 1] Available from: http://www.phargarden.com/main.php?action=viewpage&pid=143. (in Thai)
13. Wut Wutti Thammavate. Van Hom Dang. Herb encyclopedia. Conclusion of Thai pharmacy. Bangkok: O. S. printing house; 1997. p. 486. (in Thai)
14. Office of herb information Faculty of Pharmacy Mahidol University [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2015 January 2]. Available from: http://medplant.mahidol.ac.th/pharm/botanic.asp?bc=0609&kw=%C7%E8%D2%B9%C1%CB%D2%E0%C1%A6* (in Thai)
15. Yoosook C, Panpisutchai Y, Chaichana S, Santisuk T, Reutrakul V. Evaluation of anti-HSV-2 activities of Barleria lupulina and Clinacanthus nutans. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 1999;67(2):179–187.
16. Mankakop T, Ruangransri N. Phak Wan Ban. Thai herbal 1. Bangkok: B Healthy; 2004. p. 182 (in Thai)
17. Madhu CS, Gowda Manukumar HM, Basavaraju P. New-Vista in finding antioxidant and anti-Inflammatory property of crude protein extract from Sauropus Androgynus Leaf. Acta Scientiarum Polonorum Technologia Alimentaria [Internet]. 2014;13(4):375–83.
18. Bhaskar A, Ramesh KV, Rajeshwari. Wound healing profile of Sauropus androgynus in Wistar rats. Journal of Natural Remedies [Internet]. 2009;9(2):159–164.