Medicinal plants used with Thai Traditional Medicine in modern
healthcare services: a case study in Kabchoeng Hospital, Surin
Thai Traditional Medicine (TTM) is available in many modern hospitals in Thailand. However, there have been difficulties in integrating TTM, particularly the practices of the use of herbal medicines, into modern healthcare services. Kabchoeng Hospital is one hospital that has been able to overcome these difficulties. Thus, this study aimed to document the successful utilization of herbal medicine at Kabchoeng Hospital. The documentation focused on both the knowledge of medicinal plants and the success factors that facilitated the utilization of herbal medicine in the context of a modern hospital in Thailand.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Kabchoeng Hospital was intentionally selected for this case study. Participatory observation was used for the data collection. There were six groups of key informants: three applied Thai Traditional Medicine practitioners (ATTMPs), a pharmacist, two physicians, two folk healers, the head of an herbal cultivation and collection group, and 190 patients. The plant specimens were collected and identified based on the botanical literature and a comparison with authentic specimens; these identifications were assisted by microscopic and thin layer chromatography (TLC) techniques.
Eighty-nine medicinal plants were used for the herbal preparations. The ATTMPs used these plants to prepare 29 standard herbal preparations and occasional extemporaneous preparations. Moreover, in this hospital, seven herbal preparations were purchased from herbal medicine manufacturers. In total, 36 preparations were used for 10 groups of symptoms, such as the treatment of respiratory system disorders, musculo-skeletal system disorders, and digestive system disorders. Four success factors that facilitated the utilization of herbal medicine at Kabchoeng Hospital were determined. These factors included a proper understanding of the uses of herbal medicines, the successful integration of the modern and TTM healthcare teams, the support of an herbal cultivation and collection group, and the acceptance of the local people.
The practices that support the use of herbal medicine at Kabchoeng Hospital illustrated the successful application of TTM and also represented a model for the integration of TTM, and particularly the use of herbal medicine, into modern hospitals. This integration will be beneficial for sustainable healthcare systems in Thailand and in other countries where modern medicine is the mainstream medical system.