Vietnam, a global leader in food exports, may soon be a top supplier of another agricultural product: herbal medicine. The Mercury News of Silicon Valley writes this month about the “king’s herb” (crinum latifolium) used for centuries to treat the royal family in the imperial capital of Hue for prostate problems and menopause — now being sold in and outside Vietnam as an herbal medicine.
More and more non-traditional medicines are likely to emerge from Vietnam in coming years because of a potent combination of venture capital from California, Vietnam’s vaunted bio-diversity that includes 12,000 plant species, and scientific research now taking place in Vietnam’s forests.
Despite the damage done to Vietnam’s flora during in the Vietnam War, the country maintains one of the world’s most diverse ecologies. And Vietnam has a history of linking plants with health. Today an entire street in Hanoi’s old quarter is devoted to nothing but herbal medicine.
The “king’s herb” is an example of an herbal medicine that is now available in the US. It has been sold as Crila in Vietnam since 2005 to 300,000 Vietnamese. Distributors in California contend the product reduces prostate problems, such as frequent or painful urination, and eases menopausal symptoms.
Crila likely represents just the beginning of a large export industry in Vietnam.
More on Vietnam’s traditional medicines