Department of Pharmaceutical Botany

General Information

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Telephone : +66 026448677-91 Ext. 5551,5552   Fax:

Department of Pharmaceutical Botany is comprised of seven academic staffs representing a diversity of herbal medicine disciplines. The department's teaching and research areas include specification and standardization of medicinal plant, medical ethnobotany, plant taxonomy, plant biotechnology, phytochemistry, and sociocultural and economic aspects of herbal utilization. The department provides 4 courses for undergraduate students, i.e. Anatomy and Taxonomy of Medicinal plants, Laboratory Anatomy and Taxonomy of Medicinal plants, Pharmaceutical Botany, and Laboratory Pharmaceutical Botany.

The Department of Pharmaceutical Botany also provides some courses for the Ph.D. program in Phytopharmaceutical Sciences and the Master of Science program in Pharmacy.

Another important role of the department is to increase public knowledge and understanding of the value and importance of medicinal plants. We achieve this through Siri Ruckhachati Garden, a complete medicinal plant garden containing more than 1,000 species of native and introduced medicinal plants, short-termed training, books and CD-ROMs on medicinal plants i.e. Medicinal Plant in Thailand (2 volumes of English edition and 4 volumes of Thai edition) and Specification of Thai Medicinal Plants volume I.

Research areas of the Department of Pharmaceutical Botany

There are five broad research areas:
- Specification of Thai Medicinal plants
- Ethnobotanical study
- The quality improvement of plant raw material for phytomedicine production
- Medicinal plant conservation
- Sociocultural and economic aspects of herbal utilization

Specification of Thai Medicinal plants
Research concerns the specification of Thai medicinal plants including botanical description, pharmacognostic characteristics, chemical identification, loss on drying, ashes, and extractive values.

Ethnobotanical study
Ethnobotany is the integrated study of anthropology and botany study of current plants used by existing people as food, medicine and other purposes for living. We focus on the ethnomedical study of plants used by Thai herbalists in different parts of Thailand. The herbalists are interviewed in detail on their traditional knowledge of medicinal plants, including vernacular names, gathering techniques preparation of plants as medicine, and therapeutic indication. These interviews are recorded. The plants are botanical identified. Then, related fields of research such as phytochemistry and pharmacology are also investigated.

The quality improvement of plant raw material for phytomedicine production
Although, the cultivation of medicinal plants has many advantages, little effort has been expended on the agronomic research of medicinal plant. The plants continue to be cultivated in the same way, as they were grown a long time ago. Most cultivated medicinal plants are still genetically `wild? types. Chemical heterogeneity was reported in some cultivated medicinal plants, especially when the plants propagated by seeds. This variability impedes the effectiveness of these plants. For these reasons, there is a strong need to genetically improve and cultivate medicinal plants with a known and stable content of pharmacologically active compounds.
Micropropagation offers many advantages over the conventional propagation methods. Our projects focus on development of micropropagation method for Curcuma longa L. and Pueraria candollei Graham ex Benth. var. mirifica (Airy Shaw et Suvat.) Niyomdham. As part of this project, the optimum conditions for field plantation of the plant are under investigation. Therefore, the standard procedure for propagation, cultivation, and post-harvest of these two plants will be established for the phytomedicine production.
We are also interested in other agricultural techniques, for example, protoplast culture, anther culture, mutation, and polyploidy breeding which can be used for the improvement of the medicinal plants.

Medicinal plant conservation
Siri Ruckhachati Garden is widely recognised as one of the leading centres for medicinal plant conservation in Thailand. Conservation programmes are undertaken on a wide range of endangered and threatened medicinal plants. An advanced range of techniques, including seed storage and micropropagation are used to support both ex situ and in vitro conservation projects.

Sociocultural and economic aspects of herbal utilization
Herbal utilization has gained importance in both health care systems and countrys economy since the past decades. Herbal markets have been expanding. In terms of health care, herbs have roles in both institutional care and self care. In Thailand, herb business is set priority as a measure to solve problems on economic recession. In health sector, a certain number of herbal drugs has been included in the national essential drug list and prescribed by physicians. The Department of Pharmaceutical Botany has staff with sub-specialties in pharmacoeconomics and medical anthropology. We have experience in studies on herbal markets, knowledge-attitude-practice of consumers and health personnel, cost of herbal production, clinical trials and population-based study on quality of herbal drugs including herbal industry.

Telephone : +66 026448677-91 Ext. 5551,5552   Fax:

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Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University.

447 Sri-Ayuthaya Road, Rajathevi, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND
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