Herbs in Lao Medicine

In many low-income countries around the world, traditional knowledge about the use and effects of plants and herbs is rooted within the communities. It is a valuable alternative to modern pharmaceuticals that are expensive, oftentimes hard to obtain (especially in rural areas) or are of doubtful quality due to unregulated production. In Laos, Herbal Medicine has been used to meet primary health care needs for centuries. So much so that the Lao Government is supporting various centers that promote traditional herbal medicine and even built schools that educate people about Herbal Medicine.

Below, find a collection of some of the commonly used plants in traditional Lao Herbal Medicine. Hover over the pictures and read more about their medicinal properties.

Herb Walk Laos: Khmu Village in the Mountains of Laos

Achyranthes Aspera

This plant is mostly used in obstetrics and gynecology, including abortion, induction of labor and cessation of postpartum bleeding. Picture: © 2010 Jee & Rani Nature Photography (Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0)

Tradescantia Spathacea

This plant is used in Traditional Lao Medicine for Kidney Cleansing.

Picture from Oyster Plant Care

Barleria Prionitis

This plant has been used in Lao Medicine for many different purposes. Inflammations, gastrointestinal disorders as well as oral disorders like caries. Also, some anti cancer and anti microbial properties have been discovered. Picture: J.M. Garg (Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0)

Plantago Major

One of the most common medical plants that grows in many parts of the world. It has anti-microbial and astringent properties, therefore it can be used to treat diarrhea. In Laos, it is often used as tea to treat coughing. Picture by Rasbak Licence: (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Boesenbergia rotunda

The rhizomes of this plant are used for culinary and medical purposes. It is used to cure oral diseases such as eczema and to support liver health. It also has aphrodisiac properties.


Tiliacora Triandra

The leaves of this plant (called Yanang in Lao) are used to make bamboo soup. Next to its culinary use, it has some medical properties such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It can be used to treat fever and other diseases.