Thailand is blessed with an abundance of naturally growing herbs,which for thousands of years humans have used not only to create the exotic flavours of Thai cuisine,but alsso to treat ailments.

Modern medicine eventually overshadowed the achievements of the raditinal physicians,but now that is changing. Over the past two decades government agencies have renewed their interest in traditional Thai medicine and medicinal plants.

This is perhaps a direct effect of the World Health Organisation conference in 1997 at which the preservation of the precious national heritage of traditional medicine was strongly encouraged.Many outlets are now selling herbal remedies as interest in traditional ways continuess to increease.

Research into the effectiveness of traditional remedies led in 1982 to the establishment of the Foundation for the Promotion of Thai Traditional Mdicine.From then on.with the cooperation of the Forestry Department,a programme for cultivating,selecting,and distributing medicinal plants was set intomotion,and a whole new industry was born. The cultivation of aloe vera,for example,is now big business in Thailand,Well known for its burnsoothing properties and commonly mixed into shampoos and skin creams,it is also used in the treatment of peptic ulcers.The Wan Hang Joraket platation in Hoob Krapong is particularly noted for aloe vera production.

Herbs and spices used commonly in cooking invariably have medicinal properties.Galangal,ginger,and sweet basil(delicious in curries and soups)are also effective carminatives that can ease gas problems,Turmeric is used for skin problems and peptic ulcers.Wax gourd can ease haemorrhoids,and its seeds are said to be good for the lungs.Winged bean seeds are said to strengthen the body. Pennywort is for skin diseases.Herbal teas are also popular,and several kinds are grown.

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