International Journal of Phytotherapy and Ethnobotany

International Journal of Phytotherapy and Ethnobotany ISSN 4536-1835 Vol. 3 (2), pp. 070-079, February, 2016. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

A study of medicinal plants in the provision of health care in Lao PDR

Claudio O. Delang

Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sino Building, Shatin, N.T. Hong Kong. E-mail:

Accepted 10 July, 2016


The Lao People’ Democratic Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an income per capita of less than US$2 a day. The provision of health care is severely underfunded, and outside the largest cities often provided by poorly qualified health workers. Under these circumstances, most people – both in the capital and the rural areas – prefer to use traditional medicine rather than synthetic drugs. Medicinal plants form a central tenet of Lao traditional medicine, and are believed to be more efficient than synthetic drugs, since synthetic drugs are thought to address the symptoms of the illness, while medicinal plants its causes. This article presents the result of a survey of the medicinal plants on sale in the capital city – Vientiane – in August 2006. A total number of 61 medicinal plants were on sale, of which 52 were identified and their use, mode of preparation, price, and province of origin recorded.

Key words: Medicinal plants, traditional medicine, Vientiane, Laos.