Through ETHNO-BOTANICAL SURVEY more than 120 active compounds isolated from medicinal plants are widely used in modern medicine today. These compounds comes mostly from different indigenous and traditional herbs and spices. And so the World Health Organization made an appeal to member countries to do their utmost to preserve National heritage in the form of ETHNO-MEDICINE and ETHNO-PHARMACOLOGY and to bring back the use of known and tested medicinal plants and derivative into PRIMARY HEALTHCARE in rural areas and as alternatives when modern medicine is not available.
In the Philippines it was the late senator Flavier who sponsored the Republic Act 8423 also called the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act of 1997. As mandated in RA 8423, Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) should encourage scientific research and develop traditional and alternative health-care systems that have direct impact on public health care. The agency should also promote and advocate the use of traditional, alternative, preventive and curative health-care modalities that have been proven safe, effective, cost effective and consistent with government standards on medical practice PITAHC should also develop and coordinate skills-training courses for various forms of traditional and alternative health-care modalities; formulate standards, guidelines and codes of ethical practice appropriate for the practice of traditional and alternative health care, as well as in the manufacture, quality control and marketing of different traditional and alternative health-care materials, natural and organic products, for approval and adoption by the appropriate government agencies. PITAHC was also mandated to formulate policies for the protection of indigenous and natural health resources and technology from unwarranted exploitation and formulate policies to strengthen the role of traditional and alternative health-care delivery system.
Philippines has over 1,000 species of medicinal plants that made the country as source of raw materials used to produce plant derivatives by some developed countries such as Japan, Germany and Korea. Currently, there are only 10 plants proven medicinal through the research and studies conducted by the Department of Health. The project started in 1985 and was officially made available to public for medicinal usage after about 12 years. But despite the existing mandate and program implementation, Philippines ranks lowest among other member countries in Asia in terms of utilization of traditional and indigenous medicinal plants in primary healthcare.