Local ethnopharmacological system of the Kayor Karen, Thailand

How to cite this article:
Kleebai A, Kaewla W, Wiwanitkit V. Local ethnopharmacological system of the Kayor Karen, Thailand. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2015;8:321


How to cite this URL:
Kleebai A, Kaewla W, Wiwanitkit V. Local ethnopharmacological system of the Kayor Karen, Thailand. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Sep 28];8:321. Available from: https://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2015/8/6/321/162617

Dear Sir,

The health care of minorities is usually considered inferior compared to the other groups. There is no doubt that the minorities are considered underprivileged. Due to the underlying ancient classical belief, there are many local health care systems among the minorities. In South and Southeast Asia, there are many minorities. In the border area between Thailand and Myanmar, the Karen ethnic group is the main minority group. According to the previous report by Tangjitman et al. “traditional medicinal plants still play an important role in medicinal practice of the Karen.” [1] Tangjitman et al. noted that promotion of the local ethnopharmacological wisdom can be useful for primary care in the minority communities. [1] As noted by Junsongduang et al. “ethnic groups that live in the same geographic area can have significantly different traditional knowledge systems for medicinal plants, at least when it comes to the species used and their preparation and medicinal application.” [2] Hence, it is necessary and wise to have an individual case study for each individual ethnic group. Here, the authors report on the ethnopharmacological findings among the Kayor Karen group in Phrae Province, Thailand. This group of Karen tribe has a specific characteristic of long-eared appearance as a result of wearing huge earrings. The researchers’ team had a 1-year community participation and follow-up. The interesting findings are:

  1. The tribe has regular exercise activity and very few illnesses,
  2. The local system of ethnopharmacology depending on local plants, not animals, can be seen,
  3. The seeking of an integrated modern medicine is observable, and
  4. Buddhist-related practices, such as meditation, are routinely used by the local tribe.

Based on the study, the common ethnopharmacological practice similar to the previous report among Karen minorities can be seen.



Tangjitman K, Wongsawad C, Winijchaiyanan P, Sukkho T, Kamwong K, Pongamornkul W, et al. Traditional knowledge on medicinal plant of the Karen in northern Thailand: A comparative study. J Ethnopharmacol 2013;150:232-43.
Junsongduang A, Balslev H, Inta A, Jampeetong A, Wangpakapattanawong P. Karen and Lawa medicinal plant use: Uniformity or ethnic divergence? J Ethnopharmacol 2014;151:517-27.

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.162617

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