The Contributions of Traditional Medicine

Many of the knowledge of biomedicine (medicines, vaccines and bioresources) are based on natural resources that at the same time are intimately connected with traditional knowledge and traditional medicine. This knowledge, in turn, has social, cultural and scientific value and is important for many indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as for genetic resources and for scientific knowledge. Historically, traditional knowledge has been the basis for the development of scientific thought and knowledge.

To cite some examples, medications such as aspirin, morphine, quinine, artemisinin, digoxin, vincristine, taxol, ergotamine, pilocarpine, ephedrine, atropine, certain corticosteroids, are medicines derived from medicinal plants, and several of them have been used since ancient times for treat various situations of health and disease as part of the knowledge of traditional medicine. Approximately 50% of drugs currently used are derived from medicinal plants.

More than 80% of the world population has made use of some form of traditional knowledge in health, as a form of self-care in health. In some countries, 70% of the population uses traditional medicines as a primary health care strategy.

In this section, you will find detailed information about the contributions made and continue to make traditional practices and traditional medicines to other medical systems.