Public Health Ministry aims to make Thailand 'herbal hub'
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Wednesday expressed confidence that Thailand would generate revenue of at least 48 million baht from traditional and alternative medicines this year.
Anutin said his ministry aims to grow herbs that would make Thailand the herbal hub of the region and the leader in traditional and alternative medicines.
The minister unveiled his goal while making a speech to kick off the Thailand Herbal Expo 2022 or the 19th National Herbal Exhibition and annual academic meetings on Thai traditional and alternative medicines at the Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi province.
In the speech, Anutin noted that Thailand is recognised in the international community for its expertise in the use of herbs in traditional and alternative medicines.
He said traditional medicine has been included in the country’s 20-year strategic plan and the ministry would keep developing the use of herbs and traditional medicine in line with the master plan.
Anutin added that the government would also promote the use of herbs by Thais in their foods in line with the government’s policy of promoting Thai foods to be known worldwide.
He said the use of herbs to make special dishes would increase the income of Thais and communities.
The minister said the government would also promote Thai traditional massage, which was been registered by Unesco as a world heritage culture in 2019, into a business that would draw foreign tourists and generate huge income for the country.
Anutin said he believed spa businesses that highlight traditional massage and health tourism as well as teach foreigners Thai massage would generate over Bt300 million worth of income in the near future.
The minster added that he regarded marijuana as a kind of herb that has medical use, so the Public Health Ministry supported its use for medical purpose and supported its use in beauty products and researches.
Dr Kiattiphum Wongrachit, permanent secretary for Public Health, said the National Herbal Exhibition is a popular event and it draws more than 200,000 attendants each year.
He said the exhibition helped Thai farmers sell millions of baht worth of their herbs to visitors at the fair, which continues from Wednesday to Sunday.
The fair has an innovation zone that showcases technologies and products related to Thai herbs. There are also business matchings for Thai and foreign investors in the zone.
Interesting booths in the Innovation zone include the Beauty & Cosmetic Wellness Ganja booth.
There is also the Wisdom zone that showcases well-known traditional practitioners from the four regions of Thailand as well as demonstrations of alternative medicines and massages.
Inside an academic zone, visitors can take 27 free short courses on Thai traditional medicines and there are also academic meetings.
Kiattiphum said some 300 herbs are distributed free of charge each day.
On the first day of the fair, Anutin gave a reward for outstanding performance to a traditional medicine practitioner, Ia Saikrasoon, 72, from Surin province.
He is recognised for using herbs to cure bites by poisonous snakes and several other symptoms, including haemorrhoid and menstruation pain.