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Benefits of traditional medicine in the modern world

Traditional medicines have been around for millennia. They are the oldest and most diverse forms of healing that form the foundation of medical systems in many regions of the world. Every continent has its version of traditional medicine, but two of the most widely used in the modern world are perhaps Chinese and African remedies.

Traditional healers in these regions are still sought-after. They are affordable and accessible for local communities – making them a vital part of well-being and the belief systems in these parts of the world. The healers usually use plants and natural elements to treat a wide variety of ailments and diseases.

The ancient art of well-being is still highly relevant in the modern world. The knowledge of natural remedies has been passed down from generation to generation. Even modern medicine can trace its roots back to medicinal plants and some of the techniques still being used in traditional medicine today. That is why these practices will continue for years to come; providing affordable healthcare to local communities.

Traditional medicine is recognised by the WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises traditional medicine and its importance to healthcare. It defines traditional medicine as “the sum total knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, that are used to maintain health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, improve or treat physical and mental illness.”

The WHO states that these practices are actually growing in popularity in many regions of the world as they offer complimentary healing for modern medicines. Numerous other scientific organisations have been studying traditional medicines and their effectiveness. This has resulted in a steady increase in journals and publications on the significance of traditional medicines in modern society. The research conducted in Africa and Asia, specifically, has shed light on the benefits of traditional healing.

Importantly, these practices are interwoven into the cultural beliefs of the societies that use them. They are holistic methods of healing that include mental, physical and spiritual states. The WHO has collected information and data on these methods, in order to create guidelines for their acceptance and promotion in other regions of the world. A healthy person is said to be physically well, mentally stable and emotionally sound.

Advantages of traditional healing

Plant-based remedies, such as those most commonly used in Africa and China, are effective at treating a number of symptoms and ailments. While they may not cure diseases and heal all chronic conditions, herbal remedies can ease the symptoms of these ailments. They can treat coughs, colds, flu, fevers and sore throats using plants such as African wormwood. Some remedies can support the entire immune system, making them ideal for supplementary medication.

Another advantage is that herbal remedies very rarely have side effects as they are completely natural. Modern medicines and pharmaceutical drugs often have long lists of side effects that can sometimes be worse than the condition they are designed to treat. Traditional remedies are usually safe for all patients unless they are allergic to certain plant chemicals. 

In the modern era, traditional remedies are often used in conjunction with mainstream medicines as complementary treatments. They can be used to counteract some of the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs and to speed up recovery times. Here are some of the other benefits of traditional medicines:

  • They are more affordable than most conventional medicines.
  • They are easy to obtain and don’t require prescriptions.
  • They strengthen the overall immune system.
  • They can stabilise hormones and the metabolism.
  • They can be found in nature, so cost very little to harvest and produce.

Traditional healing practices are still popular today. They will continue to be relevant as they have numerous benefits over modern medicines, especially in societies with little access to state healthcare and medical aids. The knowledge used in these practices has been passed on for centuries and the remedies are tried-and-tested. Modern medicine can still learn from traditional remedies and practices – a belief held by the WHO and many other scientific organisations.

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Written by Joshua Oates

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