The Use of Herbal Medicines in Primary Health Care. Report of the Regional Meeting, Yangon, Myanmar 10 – 12 March 2009
(2009; 66 pages)


Herbal medicine (HM) and traditional medicine (TM) are widely used in countries of the South-East Asia (SEA) Region. Herbal medicine forms a substantial part of traditional medicine. According to WHO’s definition, HM includes “herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations and finished herbal products that contain as active ingredients, parts of plants, other plant materials or combination thereof”. There is increasing demands for medicinal plants, both in the developing and developed countries.

Most of traditional medicines contain medicinal plants. Ayurveda, Chinese traditional medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy, Unani and TM systems in Africa and Latin America use herbal medicines. In the SEA Region, all Member States have medicinal plants in their traditional systems of medicine; gSo-ba Rig-pa in Bhutan, Koryo medicine in DPR Korea, Jamu in Indonesia, Dhivehi bays in Maldives, traditional or indigenous medicines in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand contain medicinal plants. Thus, herbal medicines form a significant component in traditional systems of medicine in countries of the Region.

There have been a number of important developments in the area of traditional medicine and herbal medicine over the years. The World Health Assembly (WHA) has passed nine resolutions since 1969 relating to traditional medicine; two of these resolutions are specifically on medicinal plants: WHA31.33 (1978) on Medicinal Plants and WHA41.19 (1988) on Traditional Medicine and Medicinal Plants.

This meeting aimed specifically to promote the potential of herbal medicines in national health systems in the Region.

The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: October 29, 2018