According to the official definition of the WHO, traditional medicine "refers to practices, methods, knowledge and beliefs regarding health that involve the use for medical plants, animal parts and minerals, therapies spiritual techniques and exercises manuals - separately or in combination - to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain health.
In industrialized countries, adaptations of traditional medicine are called "complementary" or "alternative" or "parallel".
Importance of traditional medicine
In Africa, Asia and Latin America, various countries use traditional medicine:
* In Africa, up to 80% of the population uses traditional medicine in the needs of primary health care.
* In China, traditional preparations of plants between 30 and 50% of the total consumption of medicines.
Traditional Medicines Strategy 2002-2005
WHO has initiated this program to facilitate the integration of traditional medicine in health systems of countries (this concerns mainly the South), to enhance the reliability and proper use of traditional medicines.
This program, started in January 2002 had as their objectives to develop practical guidelines for use, develop systems and standardize methodologies for research and evaluation of traditional methods. (to be completed with any program evaluation, forthcoming).
* Social issues
+ No health issues, economic issues
+ "The global market for medicinal plants, growing fast, currently representing over 60 billion U.S. $ per year (source WHO).
* Methodological issues
* Status epistemological
read also Traditional Tibetan Medicine