Historically, many producers in the Pacific have used herbal medicines to treat livestock. However, Western Pacific producers through generations lost most of the knowledge of medicinal plants and their usage. Today, island producers generally seldom seek that knowledge on the Internet. This Professional Development Program Grant have taken a group of professionals to the Philippines to gather knowledge of medicinal plants. The information were utilized into a train -the-trainer’s program that taught island producers in the Western Pacific different indications and applications of medicinal plants not only for humans but also for animal treatments. Paravets of the Western Pacific were strengthened, empowered, and technically-equipped. This project showed the Pacific that abundant, unused, medicinal plants are promising solution for treating livestock diseases. Results from the tours were published, along with surveys and interviews of local senior producers in different islands in the Western Pacific. Workshops, group discussions, mentoring and coaching were used to share the information with the community.With the present economy getting tougher and tougher each day, producers are resorting back to basic to save. With the series of promotions and information session about herbs for the last three years, CNMI as well as other island clients are starting to inquire about available resources present in the islands. Though, it is understood that changing attitudes towards usual norms will take time.
Building capacity for animal health workers such as the paravets in each island in the western region was the major goal of this project and was attained during the first two years of this project. In addition to the 21 certified paravets in the Western Pacific, Twenty (20) extension staff have attended the technology transfer training from the Philippines and we have created awareness of the project to a minimum of 200 participants in our community workshops in the islands of Chuuk, Guam, Pohnpei, /Marshall Islands , Palau, Yap, Rota and Tinian. in adopting alternative plant medicine
We have created and disseminated several publications such as the booklet or manual that will include herbal plants, its application and significance towards animal health; and a short video clip to show and create awareness for herbal plant utilization for livestock healthcare and two flyers both for Animal Diseases and its Herbal Treatment. Dissemination of this outreach materials to the other islands is forthcoming. Infact, reproduction was already made.
We are expecting that approximately 50% of the producers in each island will understand better about medicinal plants for livestock health. Increased utilization of available plant resources among Pacific Islanders will promote the development of value-added products from plants grown in the Western Pacific. The paravets and producers participating in this project will be the advocates of
alternative plant medicine for animal healthcare. Since, alternative plant medicine is considered as highly recommended, economical, and
environmentally friendly, it is clear that it will complement sustainable organic farming and improve animal health as well as human health. This project will promote further regional partnership and collaboration through the leadership and empowerment of the participants especially the local paravets.
Western medicines are unavailable in most Pacific islands and their supply is erratic. Imported drugs are expensive. Many producers either underdose to save money, or overdose because they do not understand the instructions for use. The shortage of animal health experts, food safety concerns, particularly antibiotic and chemical residues in livestock produced, the language variations,the cultural differences, the geographical locations, and the loss in indigenous
knowledge of medicinal plants for most Western Pacific extension professionals and producers have stimulated renewed interest in alternative methods of promoting livestock health.
Animal raisers in the Pacific would often be better off if they are aware of herbal medicine for veterinary remedies and practices for most of the common diseases. Such remedies and practices are actually present but not maximized,they are adopted to local culture and environmental conditions, and they are inexpensive and locally available. The herbal applications for most islanders are only confined to humans, however, local veterinary practices in southeast Asia have been recorded and documented for more than many years, but the results have found little application in development efforts. Perhaps, due to non- recognition of potential contribution and little or no information available for recommendation of such practices.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
The informational material produced by this project was through field
research and of participatory workshops. Such methodology brought together academics, officials, non-government organization staff, extension personnel and farmers. The project has three objectives and phases. The first objective was able to train the paravets, extension staff, local and federal field officers, farmers and producers in the CNMI, Guam, Palau, FSM and the Marshall Islands for medicinal plants application for animal healthcare available in the tropics. The first phase underwent the Train the Trainers Program that imparted Asian
technology transfer on plant medicinal applications and preparations for livestock healthcare from the Philippines to Western Pacific. These empowered individuals performed the second phase and objective, they further educate the extension staff thru workshops and be able to produce sustainable educational materials manuals, cd database, and videos/DVD of the available medicinal plants in the Western Pacific. The information was distributed to the region for all islands to share the knowledge and be able to apply those practical practices to their farm operations in the CNMI, Guam, Palau, FSM, and the Marshall Islands. Outreach materials will then follow for further dissemination throughout the Western Pacific.
Outreach and Publications
The project was able to produce the following outreach materials: a short video for commercial viewing in English , a booklet of common herbal plants and its indications and, two flyers for animal diseases commonly encountered in the islands with the top herbal plants available in the Pacific.
“The author would like to emphasize that this booklet is only a compilation of herbal plants from different book authors, different herbal healers from different locations with potential medicinal application for livestock in the Western Pacific. Therefore, it does not convey total replacement for commercially available medicine. Further research testing about its pharmacology and drug efficacy must be done first before we reach therapeutic claims for each herbal plants mentioned.”
The outreach manual/booklet, short video and the flyers were intended to overcome the constraints mentioned in the initial of this project. Although impact at this moment is not as expected, I believe with proper education, promotion, involvement of each core individual, engagement of stakeholders in each silands and frequent awareness about herbal medical plants for livestock healthcare, It will create further awareness and better understanding not only for the paravets but also to other producers about the availability and potential significance of these natural resources that’s been neglected for so many decades. The manuals will demonstrate that herbal applications to livestock contains many valuable, traditional practices which can serve as low-cost and practical alternatives for islanders throughout the Pacific. However, much remains to be done to document, assess and understand the wide range of herbal medicine for livestock across the Pacific. We hope that the compilation of the herbal plants and practices will serve as an inspiration to the veterinary science and the community to undertake studies to validate traditional livestock practices. And, ultimately benefit rural households and communities whose livelihood involves livestock production.
We created and imparted knowledge and skills not only to animal health staff but to the community involved in the project. We have stimulated their interest and have them engaged in alternative medicine. We helped them open their eyes once more to their diminishing culture. With this few steps, i know islanders will be proud of themselves and will take care of this knowledge as part of their cultural significance. The effect might not be seen profoundly this years but the documentation will further impact the new and old generations.
Detailed focus onthe chemistry and pharmacological efficacy of herbal plants
Further research studies on specific herbal application to disease animals of economic and public health importance/significance.
Further research testing about its pharmacology and drug efficacy must be done first before we reach therapeutic claims for each herbal plants mentioned
Some indications were reports from healers and therefore no scientific evidence. Such claims must be scientifically verified first.