Saving Thailand's wild medicinal plants | Bangkok Post: learning

Learning > Learning From News (เรียนภาษาอังกฤษจาก ข่าวบางกอกโพสต์)

Saving Thailand's wild medicinal plants

Level switch:
  1. Advanced
- +

As forests disappear so do the herbal plants used in Thai traditional medicine, special protection areas & methods to grow outside of forest needed. 


Read a previous Bangkok Post article about mosquito repellent made from herbal medicine, the subject of today's article.

Photo above of the herb Capparis micracantha (Thai: saema thalai) that has uses in the treatment of cancer and tuberculosis (Source: Wikimedia Commons and see medical paper)

Click button to listen to Herbal Medicine Endangered to download

Up to 1,800 wild plants under threat

Efforts on to save key herbal remedy sources
10/05/2012

About 1,800 species of wild plants currently used as key ingredients in herbal medicines are on the verge of extinction, Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said yesterday.

Deforestation was a major cause of the problem as most of the more important herbal plants are only found in forests, he said. Many can not be cultivated due to a lack of research in how to grow them properly, he said.

As a result, the ministry is discussing with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, non-governmental organisations, and local communities efforts to jointly ensure that these important local herbs not only survive but thrive.

One option under discussion is the expansion and increasing the number of so-called "herb conservation areas" where the plants are endangered.

Those who encroach on or try to reclaim forests in the herbal conservation zones could face legal action brought by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

The Public Health Ministry, meanwhile, had set aside about 76 million baht to fund projects to protect and propagate at least 50 species of herbal plants each year, said Dr Paijit Warachit, permanent secretary for public health.

The 50 plants topping the list include thaowan priang (Derris scandens Benth), chet moon phloeng daeng (Plumbago indica L.), hor saphan khwai (Reissanithia grahamii), kamlang suea khrong or birch (Betula alnoides [+ images] Buch.-Ham.ex G. Don.), chan khao (Diospyros decandra), chan daeng (Dracaena loureiri Gagnep), phraya rakdam (Diospyros rubra Lecomte), saema thalai (Capparis micracantha DC.), and Kwao khruea khao (Pueraria mirifica Airy Shaw et Suvatab). 

Of these, Kwao khruea khao, chan khao, and chan daeng are the most endangered, said Dr Paijit.

Currently 20 areas have been declared plant conservation zones, said Dr Suphan Srithamma, head of the Department of Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine.

Nine more forest areas will likely be added to the list of zones, he said.

They are Pa Kham Hua Hat in Udon Thani's Thung Fon district, Pa Nong Paen in Bung Kan's Phon Charoen district, Pa Dong Kheng in Khon Kaen's Nong Song Hong district, Pa Wat Khao Phanom Kao in Phichit's Wang Sai Phun and Taphan Hin districts, Pa Watthanatham Nong Hi in Maha Sarakham's Chiang Yuen district, Pa Chumchon Nong Samhat in Yasothon's Pa Tiu, Pa Sun Kan Sueksak Phatthana Phuphan in Sakhon Nakhon's Muang district, Pa Chumchon Tha Samakkhi in Lampang's Thoen district, and Pa Wat Pong Kham in Nan's Santisuk district

(Source: Bangkok Post, Up to 1,800 wild plants under threat, Efforts on to save key herbal remedy sources, 10/05/2012, link)

Plant Conservation Vocabulary
 
herb (noun) - a plant normally used as a medicine or for adding flavour to food สมุนไพร (See Wikipedia)
herbal (adjective)

mosquito repellent - a substance applied to skin, clothing, or other surfaces which discourages mosquitos from landing or climbing on that surface (See Wikipedia)
repellent - a device used to force something to move away from a place ตัวขับไล่

conservation - the protection of plants and animals, natural areas, and interesting and important structures and buildings, especially from the damaging effects of human activity การอนุรักษ์ธรรมชาติ, การป้องกันความสูญเสีย, การสงวนไว้ (See Wikipedia)

herb conservation areas - a special area to protect herbal plants (people cannot pick or take plants from this area)
plant conservation zones

herbal medicine - the use of plants as medicine, an ancient practice, many modern medicines come from ancient herbal medicines (See Wikipedia)
remedy - medicine to cure a disease
herbal remedy

alternative medicine - medicine outside the usual doctors and hospitals based on historical or cultural traditions rather than on scientific evidence, also called "complementary medicine" (See Wikipedia)

Thai traditional medicine -  the methods and practices that have been handed down from monks using local knowledge of herbs, Thai traditional massage often included (See Wikipedia)

key - important คนสำคัญ
source - where something comes from, the place where you can get something
herbal remedy sources
efforts on to save
key herbal remedy sources

species - a set of animals or plants in which the members have similar characteristics to each other and can breed with each other พันธ์,จำพวก
wild - not grown by humans (growing by itself in the jungle, forest or some other natural area)
wild plants - plants growing by themselves, in the jungle, for example (not raised by humans) 
species of wild plants

ingredients - foods that are used with other foods in the preparation of a particular dish ส่วนประกอบ
key ingredients - the most important ingredients used to make something
key ingredients in herbal medicines

threat - a danger อันตราย
under threat - in a dangerous situation, facing a danger

up to 1,800 - less than or equal to 1,800
up to 1,800 wild plants under threat

extinction - death of all living members of a species of animal or plant การสูญพันธุ์
on the verge of - almost happening, about to happen, likely to happen shortly 
on the verge of extinction

About 1,800 species of wild plants currently used as key ingredients in herbal medicines are on the verge of extinction, Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said yesterday.

deforestation - when trees are cut down (so there are few or no trees in an area anymore)
cultivated - prepared land and grew crops on it ซึ่งเตรียมเพื่อเพาะปลูก

lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
lack of research - there is no research on this topic or subject

Deforestation was a major cause of the problem as most of the more important herbal plants are only found in forests, he said. Many can not be cultivated due to a lack of research in how to grow them properly, he said.

ministry - a government department dealing with an area of activity กระทรวง

local
- in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
efforts - the work done towards achieving some goal; people trying to accomplish something, achieve a goal ความพยายาม
local communities efforts

jointly - done together อย่างร่วมกัน, พร้อมกัน, ด้วยกัน
ensure - to make certain that something happens or is done รับรอง ให้ความมั่นใจ ให้การยืนยัน
jointly ensure - together make sure that something happens

survive
- to continue to live and exist, not dead yet รอดพ้น  อยู่รอด สืบต่อไปได้ มีชีวิตรอด
thrive - do well and be successful and strong
not only survive but thrive

As a result, the ministry is discussing with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, non-governmental organisations, and local communities efforts to jointly ensure that these important local herbs not only survive but thrive.

option - a choice; something that you can choose in a particular situation ทางเลือก
one option under discussion - one possible choice or decision that they are talking about before doing (the good and bad points)

expansion
- when something increases in size, number or importance การขยายออก
endangered - at risk or in danger of being harmed, damaged or destroyed เป็นอันตราย

One option under discussion is the expansion and increasing the number of so-called "herb conservation areas" where the plants are endangered.

encroach - going into and using an area that does not belong to you
encroach on forests - going into and using a forest area that does not belong to you (a restricted forest area)

reclaim - to take back something that was yours เรียกกลับคืน, เอากลับ
reclaim forests - take back the forests

face legal action
- will be arrested and face a trial and possible punishment for breaking a criminal law

Those who encroach on or try to reclaim forests in the herbal conservation zones could face legal action brought by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

set aside - keep something for some special use (do not use now)
fund (noun) - to provide money for something เงินทุน กองทุน
fund (verb) - to provide money for something ให้เงินทุน
fund projects - give money to run projects

propagate -
to create more plants from plants (grow new plants from seeds, from branches cut from a plant)
propagate species of  plants
propagate at least 50 species of herbal plants each year

public health - 1. the general health of people in a community or society; 2. government efforts to maintain the health of society and communities (See Wikipedia)
permanent - happening or existing for a long time or for all time in the future ถาวร
permanent secretary for public health

The Public Health Ministry, meanwhile, had set aside about 76 million baht to fund projects to protect and propagate at least 50 species of herbal plants each year, said Dr Paijit Warachit, permanent secretary for public health.

The 50 plants topping the list include thaowan priang (Derris scandens Benth), chet moon phloeng daeng (Plumbago indica L.), hor saphan khwai (Reissanithia grahamii), kamlang suea khrong or birch (Betula alnoides Buch.-Ham.ex G. Don.), chan khao (Diospyros decandra), chan daeng (Dracaena loureiri Gagnep), phraya rakdam (Diospyros rubra Lecomte), saema thalai (Capparis micracantha DC.), and Kwao khruea khao (Pueraria mirifica Airy Shaw et Suvatab).  Of these, Kwao khruea khao, chan khao, and chan daeng are the most endangered, said Dr Paijit. Currently 20 areas have been declared plant conservation zones, said Dr Suphan Srithamma, head of the Department of Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine.

More on this topic

Bangkok Post online classifieds

Try buying & selling goods and properties 24/7 in our classifieds which has high purchasing power local & expatriate audience from within Thailand and around the world.

0 people commented about the above

Readers are urged not to submit comments that may cause legal dispute including slanderous, vulgar or violent language, incorrectly spelt names, discuss moderation action, quotes with no source or anything deemed critical of the monarchy. More information in our terms of use.

Please use our forum for more candid, lengthy, conversational and open discussion between one another.

  • Latest
  • Oldest
  • Most replied to
  • Most liked
  • Most disliked

    Click here to view more comments