PRIME Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha supports the use of fah talai jone, a well-known medicinal plant in Thailand, in combination with the drug Favipiravir in the treatment of coronavirus, Thai Rath newspaper said today (May 26).
Meanwhile the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said that there were 2,455 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, with 1,976 being among the general public and 479 in prisons and detention centres, and there were also 41 fatalities raising the death toll to 873, Sanook.com said.
This takes the cumulative confirmed total since the start of the pandemic to 137,894 with the total in the current wave that started on April 1 being 109,031.
There are 45,256 patients still under treatment with 1,210 in serious condition and 402 using ventilators.
Of today’s 41 fatalities, 25 were male and 16 female with their age ranging from 29 to 86 years. Bangkok had the highest number of deaths at 16.
In the west, the fah talai jone plant is known informally as the “king of bitters”, while formally it is known as Andrographis paniculata, Mahidol University’s Institute of Molecular Biosciences said.
Anucha Buraphachaisri, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, said the Public Health Ministry’s Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine has confirmed that while fah talai jone does not have a protective effect against Covid-19, it could be used to help boost the immune system.
Research has found that this plant can kill viruses in a test tube as well as some bacteria.
It has been used here for treating a number of ailments including fever, cold and help reduce inflammation. It has been on the drug list for use in treating colds since 2016.
For people infected with coronavirus fah talai jone can help reduce inflammation and boost immunity with Thailand now conducting further research on its use in preventing coronavirus as well.
However with the current Covid wave still raging, people were encouraged to get vaccinated against coronavirus to protect themselves and prevent transmission.
Gen Prayut emphasised the importance of taking the best care of one’s health as Thais are the country’s driving force to propel the country ahead once the pandemic is resolved.
With demand for herbs in the global market rising as part of a trend to take better care of one’s health through natural products, the Prime Minister sees this to be a good opportunity for Thai herbal entrepreneurs to expand overseas.
The government will now help boost the export of quality herbal raw materials and products within the Asean region as a step towards increasing competitiveness in the global market, where the value of herbs and spices trade is as high as US$10 billion.
Fah talai jone plant, above, and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha with more of the same plant, Home Page. Photos: Thai Rath