Principles of Using Medicinal Plants in Withikutdharok Scripture

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Chinnaphat Chaloemram

Abstract

Withikutdharok scripture is a textbook on the diagnoses of skin and tissue disorders and the treatments for such conditions based on the concepts, theories and methods of Thai traditional medicine. This study is a documentary research done by collecting, examining and analyzing the data regarding medicinal plants in Withikutdharok scripture. The results have shown that the scripture covers 11 groups of skin disorders with 60 traditional drug formulas for treating the illnesses. Among all the formulas, 14 are most frequently mentioned for dermatitis treatment and a total of 189 medical materials are identified, including 9 animal materials, 23 minerals, and 157 herbal materials (155 plants and 2 mushrooms). All the plant materials are actually in 68 families – the family Fabaceae (19 species) being mostly used; and the plants with the highest frequency ratio, or FR, of 4.36 are Smilax corbularia Kunth and Smilax glabra Roxb. The illness group with the highest formulas consensus ratio (FCR, 1.80) is dermatitis. The leaves are the most frequently used part in drug preparation and the plants most frequently used have a nauseating taste. The medications are mostly prepared as decoctions (36%) and the preparations are mostly administered orally (47%). The study has indicated that the principle of using medicinal plants in the Withikutdharok scripture includes the concepts, theories and methods according to the principles of Thai traditional medicine. The treatments require formulated medications consisting of medicinal plants with the main flavor as well as other flavors to adjust the balance of human body’s elements in a holistic way, based on the causes of illnesses.

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