Traditional medicine (TM) refers to the knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures, used in the maintenance of health and in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness. Traditional medicine covers a wide variety of therapies and practices which vary from country to country and region to region. In some countries, it is referred to as "alternative" or "complementary" medicine (CAM).
Traditional medicine has been used for thousands of years with great contributions made by practitioners to human health, particularly as primary health care providers at the community level. TM/CAM has maintained its popularity worldwide. Since the 1990s its use has surged in many developed and developing countries.
WHO programmes and activities
- Traditional medicines strategy [pdf 500kb]
- National policy on traditional medicine and regulation of herbal medicines