The Recovery of Folk Medical Healer’s Local Knowledge to Combine with the Treatment of Snake Bite Wounds: A Case Study of Prom Lok Temple, Promkiree District, Nakorn Sri Thammarat Province, Thailand
The purposes of this study are 1) to study folk medicine healers’ process of passing on knowledge concerning
medicine and Thai herbs for the treatment of snake bite wounds at the treatment center, Prom Lok temple, Promkiree, Nakorn
Sri Thammarat, and 2) to study the guideline for publicizing the knowledge concerning the snake bite wound treatment with
the local collaborations to local people and general people. This is a qualitative research. Research methodologies include an
in-depth interview with the monk presently responsible for the treatment of snake bite wounds caused by poisonous snakes,
group discussion with 5 samples including representatives of the patients and the communities, and questionnaires sent to 100
patients who used to come for treatment by using data collected during the past 3 years.
The research findings point out that the process of passing on knowledge concerning medicine and Thai herbs including being
folk medicine healer began in 1997 by local monks who gained hands-on knowledge from local guru by words of mouth with
the help and kindness of the community. Moreover, local herbs and the space in Prom Lok temple, Pomkiree, Nakorn Sri
Thammarat have been used for treating Kapa snake bite wounds. This knowledge and the treatment of patients with this kind
of snake bite wounds were publicized by TV program; ‘Man discovers Man’ in 2004. This leads to the perception of general
public, the preservation and systematic collection of this knowledge including the support of the construction of a one-floor
treatment building in the temple with the patients’ relatives resident, which has been in use up to now. For nearly 30 years, the
knowledge concerning the treatment of snake bite wounds at Prom Lok temple has been passed on to a monk named
Boonchuay, who blends traditional science of treatment with medical knowledge including cleaning and washing the wounds
by asking assistance from the local hospital. Despite the growing medical science with the application of knowledge
concerning technology and science in people’s daily living, local patients in the community and in the vicinity with snake bite
wounds come to ask for treatment by the folk medicine healer continuously. That is because of the respect for monks, the
perception of Buddhist temple as villagers’ dependent, the ease of communication, and the free service. It can be concluded
due to the social dimension, local people’s culture, and the trust in folk medicine healer’s traditional knowledge, temples can
still be the dependent of poor local people in agricultural group forever.
Index Terms - Folk medicine healer, Knowledge restoration, Snake bite wounds.