The 21st International Congress of the International Society of Ethnopharmacology

The 21st International Congress of the International Society of Ethnopharmacology was successfully held at China Medical University (CMU), Taichung, Taiwan from 28th-31st May, 2022. The congress was co-hosted by Professor Lu-Hai Wang, Vice President of China Medical University, and Professor Hung-Rong Yen, Dean of the College of Chinese Medicine, CMU. Director Yi-Tsau Huang, Ministry of Health and Welfare from Taiwan; Professor Günter Vollmer, President of the International Society of Ethnopharmacology from Germany and Professor Tommy Yung-Chi Cheng, Yale School of Medicine, USA, were invited as keynote speakers for this congress.


Additionally, a total of 42 international speakers from Austria, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, UK, and USA, as well as 15 local scholars from Taiwan were invited to deliver speeches in the congress and more than 300 participants attended the congress in person or virtually.


Taiwan hosted this congress for the first time since 1990 when the International Society for Ethnopharmacology was established. CMU President, Professor Mien-Chie Hung, Director Jaung-Geng Lin, CMU Board of trustees; Director Tzu-Chan Tseng, Health Bureau of Taichung City Government; Director Yi-Tsau Huang, the Department of Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy of the Ministry of Health and Welfare; Director Hong-Chen Chen, the Department of Life Science of the Ministry of Science and Technology; President Fu-Yang Ko, National Union of Chinese Medical Doctors’ Association; President Chih-Lung Tai, Taichung Chinese Medical Doctors’ Association; Dean Aiping Lyu, School of Chinese Medicine, HKBU and Prof. Günter Vollmer, President of International Society for Ethnopharmacology were invited to deliver welcome speeches to the guests during the 29th May opening ceremony.


CMU President Mien-Chie Hung stated that China Medical University has committed to the research of traditional Chinese medicine for more than 60 years, and the University has abundant research resources in biotechnology. Moreover, the university has been gearing up to become a world-class prestigious university by developing a high standard medical research program to solve major medical problems. CMU has also been up beating in developing precision medicine including herbal medicine. During the current COVID-19 pandemic time he believed that it is the social responsibility of the University to devote efforts to combat this disease. Indeed, CLOVID-19 is one of the themes of this meeting, the content of which also matches with the main theme of this congress - ‘Ethnopharmacology—Integrating Ancient Knowledge into Modern Clinical Practice’.


A total of 13 thematic topics had been covered in the congress. For the topic of Ethnopharmacological Studies in the COVID pandemic, the speakers were invited to share how traditional medicine acts as a key player in preventing and treating COVID-19. Director Yi-Chang Su, National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine, and Superintendent Chung-Hua Hsu, Taipei City Hospital, shared their studies about the development and application of traditional Chinese Medicine formula NRICM101 and Jung Guan Fang, respectively. Prof. Kenji Watanabe from Keio University, Japan shared his study about COVID-19 treatment from the aspect of traditional medicine in Japan using Kampo medicine.


On 28th May, the host organized a special lecture in memory of Dr. Bu-Tao Zhang about clinical treatment and anti-coronavirus experience by traditional Chinese medicine classics, and attracted about 450 participants in that afternoon section. In parallel, there was a local tour on a field trip to a Dendrobium planting field to provide more information to the guests about the development of traditional medicine farming in Taiwan.


An Editor-in-Chiefs Round Table Meeting was held in the evening of 28th May as a pre-meeting. The Editors-in-Chief of 6 international journals in the area of botanic medicine and pharmacology including Prof. Michael Heinrich (Frontiers in Pharmacology), Prof. Angelo A. Izzo (Phytotherapy Research), Prof. John M. Pezzuto (Pharmaceutical Biology), Prof. Thomas Efferth (Phytomedicine), Prof. Robert Fürst (Planta Medica), Prof. Oliver Kayser (Planta Medica), and Prof. Lee-Yan Sheen (Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine) were invited to have an online discussion meeting with over one hundred audience. In a special parallel session during the congress, The Young Researchers Forum invited 6 speakers and was co-hosted by Dr. Fabien Schultz from Germany and Dr. Jung Chao from CMU, Taiwan on 30th May. In another parallel session, The African Workshop, 8 speakers were invited and moderated by Professor Namrita Lall from South Africa on 31st May. A total of 19 graduate students and fellows received the travel awards, which waived their registration fees and incurred travel costs. In the closing ceremony on 31st May, 20 participants were also awarded the best poster awards.


Faculty members and students in Taiwan agreed that they learned a lot by attending this international event in person or virtually, despite not all of them could travel to attend the meeting on-site. Hope that in the future, China Medical University can hold the congress again and invite participants to visit Taiwan in person.