The government aims to boost the economy with a five-year goal to promote herbal medicine and herbal product-making businesses.
It plans to raise the value of the herbal product trade by 320 billion baht and the value of herbs used in healthcare facilities by 3 billion baht.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn yesterday discussed the plan at a meeting with the government committee following up on policies to spur economic growth with businesses associated with herbal products.
Gen Prayut, the minister and the committee met during a visit to Chao Phya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital in Prachin Buri.
The hospital is helping implement the government's policy to boost development of herbal products and use more herbal medicines in medical treatment and health care.
The hospital has been used as a model for developing herbal medicine and products from an international perspective.
The term Abhaibhubejhr Business Model is used to tout the hospital's success and know-how that the government now hopes to transfer to other medical facilities.
Last year, the government planned to support setting up a so-called "herbal city" as a model for herbal business development in four provinces, namely Prachin Buri, Surat Thani, Chiang Rai and Sakon Nakhon.
These provinces have adopted the Abhaibhubejhr Business Model as a guideline to raise their standards of herbal businesses to international level and encourage more Thais to turn to herbal products when it comes to personal health care.
The 2017-2021 master plan for national herb development consists of four core strategies, namely promoting the development and production of herbal products in high demand domestically and abroad, further developing the quality of the herbal industry and marketing to meet international standards, promoting the use of herbs for medical treatment and health promotion purposes, and strengthening and sustaining the implementation of the government's policy to boost the economy with the value chain of herbal products.
In this regard, a total budget of 1.16 billion baht has been set aside to fund a set of projects designed to improve the value chain of four key herbal products called "Product Champions", phlai (Zingiber montanum), turmeric, black galingale (Kaempferia parviflora) and gotu kola (Centella asiatica).
Chao Phya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, which exports herbal cosmetics to Japan and Myanmar, now aims to become a key leader in the Asean herbal cosmetics market over the next three years, in line with the government's policy to promote herbs more widely.
Aside from exports, the hospital continues to integrate traditional Thai medicine and alternative medicine into modern medicine, focusing on a holistic approach to health care in which the communities are supported to take care of patients with certain types of chronic diseases.