Article 7: The Conservation of Traditional Medicine Knowledge and Practices in Sabah


Traditional knowledge was developed from experience gained over time and adapted to a local culture and environment. It has always played, and still plays an important role in the daily lives of the majority of people globally and is considered to be an essential part of cultural identity. It is vital to the health and food security of millions of people in both the developing and developed world. In the former, traditional medicines provide the only affordable treatment available to the poor. Knowledge of the healing properties of certain plants has been the source of many modern medicines and modern health practices.

It has been recognised that over time, groups of people mainly in rural areas adapt and develop ways of doing things that are called ‘traditional’ using their knowledge of agriculture, food harvesting and related purposes, and traditional medicine, as economic and subsistence activities. These people are commonly part of the same ethnic and cultural group that form the national majority but have developed adaptations of knowledge that are considered to be important to protect and preserve.

The proliferation of issues such as in-situ conservation, indigenous and traditional knowledge, genetic resources, benefit sharing, biotechnology, impact assessment and technology transfer are the chief mechanisms for the construction of concepts and objects of study in an ethnographic perspective on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)-centered network. A key process to be examined from such an ethnographic perspective is the growing participation of NGOs and social movements. However, it is undeniable that local communities’ participation and contributions are also importance to support conservation efforts especially with regard to traditional knowledge of traditional medicines. Therefore,

Several sections are covered in this paper which are:

  • Conceptual Framework
  • The Conservation of Traditional Medicine Knowledge in Sabah
  • Conclusion

Special note: This paper is the result of a specific research that was conducted for GlobinMed in identifying conservation practices among traditional medicine practitioners in selected areas in Sabah.