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Abstract, Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 2015


In rural communities of Thailand, traditional healers still play an important role in local health care systems even though modern medicine is easily accessible. Meanwhile, natural forests in Thailand which are important sources of materia medica are being greatly destroyed. This has led to an erosion of traditional Thai medicine. Furthermore, the concept of medicinal plant selection as medicine based on their tastes is still an important component of traditional Thai medicine, but no or little publications have been reported. Thus the aim of the present study is to collect ethnomedicinal data, medicinal plant tastes and relevant information from experienced traditional healers before they are lost.


An ethnobotanical survey was carried out to collect information from nine experienced traditional healers on the utilization of medicinal plants in Phatthalung Province, Peninsular Thailand. Data were obtained using semi-structured interviews and participant observations. Plant specimens were also collected and identified according to the plant taxonomic method.


A total of 151 medicinal plants were documented and 98 of these are reported in the study. Local names, medicinal uses, parts used, modes of preparation, and the relationship between ailments and tastes of medicinal plant species are presented.


This research suggests that traditional healers are still considered important for public health among Thai communities and that many people trust the healing properties of medicinal plants. In the future, it is hoped that traditional Thai medicine will be promoted and therefore will help reduce national public health expense.

Keywords: Medicinal plants, Traditional healers, Peninsular Thailand, Phatthalung, Traditional knowledge