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Pharmaceuticals

Thai demand for medicinal herb surges as natural COVID treatment

Government grants fah talai jone stamp of approval in bid to boost rural support

A Thai prisoner cultivates fah talai jone. (Photo courtesy of Thailand's Ministry of Justice.)

BANGKOK -- A medicinal herb in Thailand that has been used since antiquity to relieve cold symptoms is now being promoted by the government as a way to relieve symptoms in mild cases of COVID-19.

Demand is so high for fah talai jone, also known as green chiretta, that the asking price multiplied by a factor of 10 this year. The military-backed government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha sees the crop as a means to curb discontent in farming communities.

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