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Alternative Medicine

Alternative Medicine

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Published by Sudhansu Swain

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Published by: Sudhansu Swain on May 17, 2012
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Traditional Medicinein Asia
Edited by 
Ranjit Roy ChaudhuryUton Muchtar Rafei
World Health Organization
Regional Office for South-East AsiaNew Delhi
Traditional Medicine in Asia
This document is not issued to the general public, and all rights are reserved by the World HealthOrganization. The document may not be reviewed, abstracted, quoted, reproduced or translated,in whole or in part, without the written permission of WHO. No part of this document may bestored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means - electronic, mechanical or other without the prior written permission of WHO.The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflectthe decisions or stated policy of the World Health Organization; however they focus on issues thathave been recognized by the Organization and Member States as being of high priority.
Layout and Design by 
New Concept Information Systems Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, IndiaSEARO Regional Publications No. 39© World Health Organization 2001Photographs on cover page (clockwise)
 Acupuncture is widely used in hospitals of western medicine (courtesy Prof. Chen Qui-Ting)
Yoga posture
 A herbalist, preparing fresh herbal medicines
Crocus sativus - source of saffronISBN 92 9022 2247
All countries in the South-East Asia Region of the World Health Organization (WHO)have a heritage of traditional systems of medicine. There are large numbers oftraditional medicine practitioners who provide help and service to the ill and theneedy. Some of these practitioners are qualified doctors who have taken a five-yearcourse in the system of medicine they practise; there are others who have learnttheir system of medicine and the use of the different plants from their forbears,while there are still others who offer their services after working with practitionersand learning from them.It is important that this unique knowledge, often found in ancient texts, be utilizedby countries to the maximum extent possible without endangering the environmentand destroying the very plants which are the source of the medicine. Unfortunately,this too is happening. There are many ways in which the practitioners of thesesystems and the products and plants they use could be more effectively utilized forthe benefit of the countries and their people. Greater use could be made of thesemedicinal plants at the primary health care level so that all persons could have recourseto herbal medicine–particularly those living in areas without any allopathic healthcare coverage. Further research directed at a few of the chronic diseases againstwhich more drugs are needed, such as diabetes, bronchial asthma and arthritis,could lead to the discovery of new drugs for these conditions. Regulated and selectiveexport of some of these medicinal plants being eagerly sought after in other parts ofthe world could considerably enhance the foreign exchange earnings of countrieswith this biodiversity. Careful planning is needed so that such a programme could belaunched without detriment to the environment and without reducing the availabilityof the medicinal plants in the countries. The very large numbers of trained andsemi-trained practitioners of the traditional systems of medicine could become moreinvolved in the national health care systems of the countries. Such involvement cancome about only as a result of some regulation of the systems being followed, theproducts used for health care and the practitioners of such systems.

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