Published 1 July 2008
Healthy living: wildlife use in traditional medicines in Cambodia
Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 1st July 2008—TRAFFIC today published the results of field studies carried out between 2005 and 2007 examining the use of traditional medicine systems in Cambodia
An overview of the use and trade of plants and animals in traditional medicine systems in Cambodia
D. Ashwell and N. Walston
The reports seek to improve the understanding of the use of natural resources in traditional medicine and enhance the management and regulation of traditional medicine networks to promote conservation and sustainability.
The scale of traditional medicine use in Cambodia is significant, and both plants and animals play a critical role. In Cambodia, over 800 types of plants (approximately 35% of the country’s native species) are currently used in Traditional Khmer Medicine.
TRAFFIC’s findings are published as: An overview of the use and trade of plants and animals in traditional medicine systems in Cambodia.
It examines the use of wildlife products in Traditional Khmer Medicine and its possible impacts on the biodiversity of the country and wider region.
Significant numbers of Cambodian citizens currently use traditional medicine. Recently, trade in traditional medicine has benefited from the relaxation of international trade barriers and free market economies.
“Traditional Medicine systems in Cambodia are important components of both national healthcare systems, and are often the only means of healthcare for rural communities,” said Thomas Osborn, TRAFFIC’s Forest Trade Officer in Viet Nam.
“Understanding which animal and plant species and products are used and traded, and their underlying trade mechanisms, can provide a useful tool to assess the sustainability of such trade, and provide an ‘early warning’ for species that are threatened by it,” he added.
Increasing demand for traditional medicine has important implications for the conservation of flora and fauna. There is growing evidence to suggest that many plants and animals have become more difficult to obtain in the wild, and a number of them are listed as species of conservation significance.
In Cambodia, 80 of the plants species used in traditional medicine are considered high priority for national conservation.
The report recommends further research and increased public awareness and urges further action to improve information gathering and sharing amongst the numerous agencies, institutions and organizations involved in the harvest, trade and use of traditional medicine.
TRAFFIC’s surveys and the production of the report were generously funded by WWF-US.
>800 plant species
(approximately 35% of the country’s native species) are used in Traditional Khmer Medicine in Cambodia
80 plants species
used in traditional medicine considered high priority for national conservation
of Cambodian citizens currently rely on traditional medicines.
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