Powerful Thai herbs gain protection

HighBeam Research

Title: Powerful Thai herbs gain protection, NATION

Date: March 17, 1999 Publication: The Nation (Thailand) Author: PENNAPA HONGTHONG

PENNAPA HONGTHONG
The Nation (Thailand)
03-17-1999
THE Agriculture Ministry will give protected status to the Kwao-krau and Thong-krua species of herbs, which are indigenous to Thailand and said to have rejuvenating properties.

According to Apichai Karunyawanich, deputy permanent secretary of Agriculture, there is a high risk that the herbs will become extinct because Japanese and Chinese researchers have been hiring Thai villagers to collect
them.

He said foreign scientists are interested in the herbs because scientific tests have found they have health benefits. For men, the herbs can increase sexual potency and for women, claims have been made that the herbs can enlarge breasts.

In addition, the herbs help prolong the lives of people, he claimed.

”Kwao-krau and Thong-krau are currently not listed as protected species in Thailand, so villagers are able to legally collect and sell them to foreigners. If we leave these herbs without protected status, they might become extinct within five years,” he warned.

He said that within a month the ministry will declare all species of the two plants protected under the 1975 Plant Protection Act.

The plants’ new status, however, will only ban their export in fresh form, he said. However, the plants are always dried and processed before being exported.

”But it’s better than doing nothing,” he said.

Kwao-krau, scientific name Pueraria candollei (Grah) var. mirifica, and Thong-krua, scientific name Butea superba (Rob), are of the same family, Leguminosae. They are indigenous to Thailand and normally found in the country’s northern, central and north-eastern regions.

Thai biologists are currently studying the plants in the hope they can develop and produce a new drug to compete with Viagra.

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