Outline of Museum of Materia Medica

From several countries in the world, this museum has been collecting crude drug samples used in the Traditional System of medicine and ethnomedicine which various ethnic groups have developed in own country. These samples are collected and displayed for the purpose of research and education.

1973.10 The Museum was started as a crude drug sample collection room belonging to the Department of
Development of Natural Drug Resources, Research Institute for Wakan-Yaku affiliated to Faculty of
Pharmaceutical Sciences, Toyama University
1974. 6 Founded, Research Institute for Wakan-Yaku under Toyama University.
1978. 6 Founded, Research Institute for Wakan-Yaku under Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University.
1980. 4 Founded, a crude drug sample room in Research Institute for Wakan-Yaku, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University. Samples were moved from Toyama University.
1985. 7 A preservation building for Pharmaceutical Materials was built and the ground floor was developed as Museum of Materia Medica (202 m2) under the guidance of Department of Development of Natural Drug Resources. Samples were moved from Research Institute for Wakan-Yaku.
1994. 9 Extended, the floor size of Museum of Materia Medica (193 m2).
1996. 5 Founded, Research Center for Ethnomedicines under Research Institute for Wakan-Yaku (associate professor 1, assistant professor 1). The Museum has been handled by the Center.
1998. 4 Founded, Foreign visiting professor and associate professor in Research Center for Ethnomedicines.
1998.10 First the general public exhibition.
2000. 4 First open of Database "ETHMEDmmm"


The Museum occupies 395 m2 area (exhibition room 270 m2, classification room13 m2, treatment room 22 m2, storage room 68 m2 and others 22 m2).

The Museum keeps and displays crude drugs (19,000 samples indexed and 8, 000 samples under process of index), herbarium (32,000 samples indexed and 37,000 samples under process of index), pharmaceutical preparations of crude drugs (200 samples), materials of the local medicine dealership, herbological books, and so on. The most numerous materials kept in Museum are Chinese crude drugs used in the system of traditional Chinese medicine, consisting of one third of the total number, followed by Indian crude drugs used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. In addition, the crude drugs used in traditional medicines of Tibet, Mongolia, Indonesia (Jamu), Thailand and Arabic countries (Unani medicine), as well as folk medicines used in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, East Africa, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Europe (medicinal herbs), are also exhibited. This is the biggest museum of crude drugs in the world, concerning the number of items held in. Most of the items including crude drugs have significant educational, scientific and historical value.

The museum is not open to the public except for the academic and research purpose, however, there will be general public exhibition once a year. On the 5th general public exhibition, 70 people visited the museum (November 2, 2002). In the recent years, more than 500 scholars, including about 70 foreign nationals a year, have visited. For the methods of preservation and arrangement of the materials in it and its educational purpose, Museum of Materia Medica is a unique establishment in the world. Many foreign scholars are interested in setting up similar to this museum of traditional medicine in their home.