Article Date: 17 May 2007 - 1:00 PDT
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In recent years, interest in complementary medicine has re-ignited in a big way as consumers turn to nature in the search of alternative remedies. In particular increasing numbers of people are beginning to seek answers to needs unaddressed by Western science by looking to the ancient knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicines.
This accounts for the high penetration of complementary medicines in developed economies. According to World Health Organisation estimates, more than half the populations of developed countries have tried alternative medication at least once. However, most western trained practitioners have had little exposure to or training in traditional medicine and find it difficult to guide their patients in their choices.
The challenge of traditional medicine for Western practitioners
The trend of using traditional remedies as a substitute for chemically formulated drugs is set to continue with an industry growth rate of between 5 - 15 per cent a year, and much of it is no doubt due to the common layman belief that the more 'natural' a product, the fewer the side effects.
Western practitioners, however, have long been uncomfortable with this assumption and this has resulted in many alternative treatments being sidelined as 'quack medicine' lacking scientific basis. This stance is exacerbated by the dearth of research on most traditional remedies. Active ingredients and their mechanisms of...