Thammasat University – Level Up Medications from “Zingiber Cassumunar” to Modern Herbal Medicine

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Dr. Ann, an allergy specialist regarding the development of allergy medicines of “Zingiber Cassumunar” (Thai herbs) announced that it is ready to be registered as a modern medicine.

 “Allergy” another disease that is not only common to Thai people but also millions of people around the world.  Currently, there are many allergic patients in Thailand and trend to increase continuously which affects the lifestyle and may cause severe deaths. Locally, there is no prototype drug that can be produced domestically and must be fully imported from other countries.

From such a problem became the starting point of the invention and development of this prototype drug used to treat allergies to solve Thai people’s problem of “Doctor Ann”, Professor Dr. Orapan Poachanukoon, Vice President for Student Affairs Thammasat University and allergy specialists with the research of “Effect of Zingiber Cassumunar (PLAI capsule) on nasal eosinophils and cytokine productions in allergic rhinitis”.  It received a research grant from BRAND’S Health Research Awards 2018 and signed a collaboration with the Government Pharmaceutical Organization in order to further develop the innovation of herbal capsules from “Plai”, which has properties to treat allergies and also asthma.

Over 12 years with the invention and development of allergy medicines from “Plai”, which is a Thai herb, together with many research teams because each step requires specialists and cooperation from many institutions. “Dr. Ann” wants to develop Thai herbs to be Modern Herbal Medicine, which is an herb that has research data to support. Modern and equivalent to modern medicine.

“Plai” is often used in the spa industry, external use only and not taking as medicine. There is no eatable Plai before. The formulas of Plai for external use and for eatables are different. The eatable Plai’s formula was already registered the patent and has been extracted in capsule type which can be eaten easily.

“Dr. Ann” said that this research is divided into 3 phases. Phase 1 will be tested in normal volunteers after being tested in rats and monkeys. For Phase 2 is tested in patients with allergic rhinitis.

Allergies to see the mechanism of action of drugs in people, it is more difficult than in vitro experiments because of having to take secretions or blood to check and currently, being developed in Phase 3. There are about 500 sample groups. Volunteer groups are patients from many institutions across the country, such as Thammasat Chalermprakiat Hospital, Chulalongkorn Hospital, Siriraj Hospital, Ramathibodi Hospital, Vajira Hospital and Phramongkutklao Hospital, etc. By trying to do research in many areas to support future use and to be accepted to be a modern medicine.

In addition to the main goal of drug development from “Plai” to treat allergies, “Dr. Ann” also committed to pursue it to become a modern medicine that can be used as a substitute or comparable to the drugs that are available in the market by planning their own works internationally. Besides from drug registration in Thailand, it must meet international standards and can be sold overseas.

For the medicine development domestically, “Dr. Ann” thinks “the outstanding aspects of Thailand should be used and developed it further to suit with the modern world such as herbs because when talking about herbs, people often perceive it as an antique. As we are modern medicine, we also try to pursue Thai herbs to be Modern Herbal Medicine using scientific information to support which will allow us to step into the global stage.”

The key factor of driving research successfully, is to feel wanting, not by forcing. Because “happiness” of researching is not by being published, but “happiness” of researchers in own perspective is what we invented and was actually being used. As we are doctors and the problem of our researches comes from the on-site called “From Routine to Research” from routine work to research as we want to make it better by using research as is a response to the most benefit for the patients, “Dr. Ann” said.

Currently, “Plai” is one of the herbs that the government supports and pursued it until became workpiece. However, the Plai industry is not a medical industry and not being used for treatment. This research will be the first time and the first drug that has the opportunity to register as a modern medicine.