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October 2022

J Ethnopharmacol. 1986 Mar; 15(3): 221-30.

Problems and possibilities in the use of traditional drugs.

Labadie RP.

Research and development of traditional drugs, as tools in health care, need a special approach, preferably in a multidisciplinary setting. With special reference to the situation of the indigenous medicine in Sri Lanka, an ethnopharmacognostic approach which has been practised there during the last 4 years is outlined. Besides the study of literature data the significance and relevancy of a field inquiry into the nature, the position and the use of traditional drugs is stressed. In such field inquiries a questionnaire which covers the problems of an ethnobotanical, ethnopharmaceutical, ethnopharmacological and ethnomedical nature is used. The problems encountered are discussed according to four categories: the non-professional users, the professionals who prescribe the drugs and direct the medications, the professional producers and the non-professional preparation of drugs. The possibilities for advancement of traditional medicine is outlined as a programmed development aiming at standardization of the quality of ingredients and manufacturing processes and schemes of quality control. However, simultaneous clinical research along with experimentally based standardized production is of vital importance. Within the framework of such developmental endeavours serious scientific attention should be given to conceptual aspects of the traditional system and the context in which their drugs are used. Finally it is argued that major advancements of traditional medicine will only be achieved if research programmes are focused on clear-cut topics.

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