Thai Herbal Medicine Research Situation: Systematic Scoping Review and Policy Recommendations

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Krit Pongpirul
Areeya Jirathananuwat
Phanupong Phutrakool


Situational analysis studies suggested that previous researches have been confined to only some research types and national policy to promote prioritized herbal research topics has been unclear. This study aimed (1) to classify the types of Thai herbal medicine research and (2) to propose policy recommendations. This study applied quantitatively categerized Thai and international research articles identified from a systematic search performed in standard databases (ThaiLIS, Scopus, and PubMed) published from 2012–2017. Stratified random sampling was performed to select 5% international articles. To reflect the research spectrum, articles were categorized into “Study Type Gradient”: in vitro studies (IV) + animal studies (AS), qualitative studies (QS) + review articles (RA) + case reports (CR), clinical trials (CT), product development (PD), practitioner/manufacturer survey (PS) + market research (MR) + consumer survey (CS), and economic evaluation (EE). Of the 531 Thai herbal medicine research were included in the analysis. Study Type Gradient was 116-23-12-24-19-2. As many as 281 herbs were studied, of which the most common were turmeric (Curcuma longa L.). Of the 2,184 herbal medicine research were included in the analysis. Study Type Gradient was 69-18-4-4-0-0. As many as 852 herbs were studied, of which the most common were Panax ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.). Thai herbal medicine research spectrum has lacked qualitative studies, literature reviews, and clinical trials. In the next five years, policy driven research projects, nationally sponsored research projects, and investigator-initiated research projects should contribute to 30%, 40%, and 30%, respectively.


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