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Dev Dir. 1979 Jul-Aug;2(4):16.

World Health Organization encourages traditional medicine in the third world.



The executive board of WHO (World Health Organization) recently passed a resolution calling on countries 1) to promote the role of traditional practitioners in the health care systems of developing countries and 2) to allocate more financial support for the development of traditional medical systems. The board also urged the medical profession not to undervalue the traditional medical system. WHO recognizes that modern medical care is unavailable to the majority of the world's poor residents and that traditional birth attendants deliver 2/3 of the world's babies. To fulfill the primary health needs of all the world's inhabitants it will be necessary to utilize both the Western and the traditional medical system. In some countries, such as Sri Lanka, India, and China the traditional health system is legally recognized. WHO also advocates utilizing those medicinal plants and remedies used by traditional practitioners to effectively treat their patients. Example of some of these plants are 1) Ammi visnage, a Mediterranean plant, used to treat angina pectoris; 2) Cymbopogan proximus, an Egyptian plant, used to remove urinary tract stones; 3) the root of Combretum, used in Ghana to treat guinea-worm; 4) bitter leaf, a Nigerian plant which kills mouth bacteria; and 5) Desmodium adcendens, Thonningia sanguinea, and Deinbollia pinnata used in various combinations to treat bronchial asthma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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