Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Thailand: Medicinal Plants Protected in More Areas

(Apr. 13, 2012) The Thai government has added eight more places to the list of twelve previously designated locations that are medicinal plant protection zones. A dozen species of plants used in traditional medicines have been found to be at risk of extinction. (Protected Areas for Herbal Plants in Eight Provinces, THE NATION (Apr. 10, 2012).)

The designation was done under the Thai Traditional Medicine Promotion and Protection Act, B.E. 2542 (1999). Anyone destroying medicinal plants in protected areas can be punished under regulations of the natural resources and environment ministries. Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said that the plants were often taken from the forests in the belief that they could produce a drug to overcome sexual dysfunction. He stated that “[t]hese medicinal plants are very important for drug development to cure diseases in future. We need to protect these plants.” (Id.) As part of a Thai government policy to increase the use of traditional medicines produced domestically, instead of relying on imported drugs, the Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department of the Health Ministry has been growing medicinal plants in damaged forest areas. (Id.)