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Title: Understanding cancer and its treatment in Thai traditional medicine: An ethnopharmacological-anthropological investigation
Authors: Natchagorn Lumlerdkij
Jaturapat Tantiwongse
Suksalin Booranasubkajorn
Ranida Boonrak
Pravit Akarasereenont
Tawee Laohapand
Michael Heinrich
UCL School of Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University
Keywords: Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
Issue Date: 24-Apr-2018
Citation: Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Vol.216, (2018), 259-273
Abstract: © 2018 Elsevier B.V. Ethnopharmacological relevance: Thai traditional medicine (TTM) is widely practiced in Thailand and continues to gain importance in cancer management, but little is known about the TTM practitioners’ emic concepts and practice. Aim of the study: With this study we firstly aim to document the practice of cancer treatment and prevention by TTM practitioners and, secondly, to evaluate how such traditional concepts and practices are correlated with biomedical ones. This in turn can form the basis for developing novel strategies for designing pharmacological experiments and longer term strategies to develop TTM practice. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with 33 TTM practitioners were performed in five provinces in different regions of Thailand. The following information were recorded; basic information of informants, descriptions of cancer (mareng in Thai), causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Plants used in the treatment and prevention of mareng were also collected. Results: Using an in depth ethnographic approach four representative case studies to assist in a better understanding of the characteristics of mareng, its diagnosis, treatment, and prevention are reported here. Five characteristics of mareng – waste accumulation (khong sia), chronic illnesses (krasai), inflammation (kan aksep), bad blood (luead) and lymph (namlueang), and the imbalance of four basic elements (dhātu si) – have been identified. Explanatory models of cancer in TTM were linked with biomedical concepts and relevant pharmacological actions. Traditional uses and available scientific evidence of medicinal plants mentioned in the case studies for the treatment or prevention of mareng are presented and discussed. Conclusion: Here for the first time five main characteristics of cancer based on Thai traditional medical concepts are analysed. Our findings are relevant not only for the planning of clinical studies or pharmacological experiment in the search for novel compounds for cancer treatment and prevention, but also for the integration of Thai traditional medicine in cancer care.
ISSN: 18727573
Appears in Collections:Scopus 2018

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