30 Oct Traditional Medicine
Traditional medicine, as defined by the World Health Organization, is the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement, or treatment of physical and mental illness. Some traditional medicine systems are supported by huge volumes of literature and records of the theoretical concepts and practical skills; others pass down from generation to generation through verbal teaching. To date, in some parts of the world, the majority of the population continue to rely on their own traditional medicine to meet their primary health care needs. When adopted outside of its traditional culture, traditional medicine is often referred as “complementary and alternative medicine.” Among others, the most widely used traditional medicine systems today include those of China, India, and Africa. In this chapter, the Chinese, Indian, and African systems of traditional medicine are described.