Traditional Medicine Stations: A
Design to Study and Popularize Lao Traditional Medicines
Charlotte Gyllenhaal*, Boun Hoong Southavong**, Mary Riley*, Kongmany Sydara**, Somsanith Bouamanivong**, Amey Libman*, Djaja Djendoel Soejarto*
*Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences (PCRPS), College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 833 S. Wood St., Chicago, IL 60612
**Traditional Medicine Research Center, Ministry of Health, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic
Recognizing the important role of traditional medicine in Laos, the Ministry of Health established the Traditional Medicine Research Center (TMRC), the only institute of its kind in Laos. TMRC is charged with the responsibility of conducting adaptive research on medicinal plants and Traditional Lao Medicine. The Ministry of Health through TMRC established a network of 10 provincial Traditional Medicine Stations (TMSs) across Laos. TMSs consist of one or more buildings with a staff of three to five, whose Heads include university graduates, a Faculty of Pharmacy graduate, or graduate of secondary medical technical schools. Other staff members include senior traditional healers and Buddhist monks at some stations. TMRC staff together with TMS personnel carry out research to inventory and document traditional medicinal uses of plants, review potential toxic effects of plants used in traditional medicinal preparations, formulate herbal medicinal preparations, and educate healers and local communities on sustainable uses of medicinal plants. Details of research by TMRC and TMSs will be presented. This project was funded by NIH Grant 1-U01-TW010-50, with support from NIH, NSF, and USDA FAS.