Most traditional healers in Cambodia live in remote areas where the wine palm (Borassus flabelifer L., Arecaceae) is commonly found.
Traditionally, healers in Cambodia are farmers and practice traditional medicine at home and treat patient occasionally upon demand.
They are skilled at identifying plants, have a vast plant knowledge and are able to name hundreds of different plant species.
The remedies are mainly presented in transparent plastic bags and composed of a mix of dried plant parts.
These formulations are prepared as a decoction and administered orally.
Another common galenic formulation is the pill.
Pills are made by mixing dry plant powder in a dragee drum machine with manioc flour and water.
Another kind of traditional healers in Cambodia are monks.
Depending on their social status some monks have a special furniture where they store their remedies
Also mediums practice traditional medicine. Mediums act as an intermediate between the spirits and the physical world, and they use guidance from the spirit for treating various ailments.
Some mediums are so famous that they attract hundreds of people from all over the country. Sometimes the patients have to wait several days before being consulted by the medium.
Their remedies are often composed of a plant mixture, but it is the spirit, which makes it efficient.
More recently a new generation of traditional healers has appeared. They are called “neotraditional healers”, and are characterized by the use of modern practices combined with traditional medicine.
The neotraditional healers live in urban areas and practice traditional medicine in a modern “way” by receiving patients in a consultation room.
They use elaborate galenic formulations (ointments, sprays, etc.) and labelled packages.
Neotraditional healers possess their own store with a large signboard detailing the type of diseases treated.
Traditional medicine in Cambodia has recently gained official status through recognition by the government.
In 1997, the National Center of Traditional Medicine located in Phnom Penh was created. This public institution aims to promote traditional medical knowledge, and to ensure the quality, safety, and efficacy of traditional products. Nowadays, it also helps to train, register and license the traditional healers.