Traditional Medicines

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What Traditional Medicines (TMs)?

TM systems vary greatly across different countries and regions, as they are influenced by factors such as culture, history, personal attitudes and philosophy. Further-more, the theory and application of TM in various parts of the world may differ. Some forms of TM include traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, Kampo and Persian medicine, which have been practiced all over the world for thousands of years and are valuable repositories of human knowledge.

 

Traditional Chinese medicine:

The majority of people in developing societies use TM in primary healthcare. In China, most people rely on TCM to cover their health needs. The TCM system provides different interventions such as Chinese medication, acupuncture, moxibustion, massage therapy, diet and Qigong. TCM uses Zang-Fu and the meridians as its theoretical basis and yin–yang and five elements as its theoretical tools. Based on TCM, Qi, blood and body fluids are considered the most important substances, which constitute the body’s system and maintain its normal physiological functions. The main characteristic of TCM in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases is syndrome differentiation. A syndrome has been defined as a categorised pattern of symptoms and signs in a patient at a specific stage during the course of diagnosis. A syndrome may be affected by various elements, such as climate, demographic characteristics and life situations. TCM diagnostic methods (e.g. inspection, auscultation, olfaction, inquiry and palpation) are usually used for syndrome differentiation. TCM patterns are comprised of yin–yang, deficiency–excess, cold–heat, six stages of acute febrile diseases and Qi, blood and fluids. Because of the overlap in origin and evolution of Chinese, Korean and Japanese TM practices, we have not examined the basic principles of these systems individually

Traditional Ayurveda Medicine:

The term Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word, which translates into knowledge (Veda) of life (Ayur). Ayurveda is based on a philosophy that links the universe with all material and non-material phenomena. According to the Ayurveda hypothesis, diversity in the universe is often based on changes to material matter by fire energy, and all changes in the body are based on natural fire. The ultimate goal of this method of practice is to maintain stability in the body to ensure optimal health conditions. The manifest world is traced to an unmanifest world called Prakruti. The overall Prakruti remains stable during life and is comprised of physical, psychological and functional (Dosha) features. Based on this definition, Dosha consists of three main parts: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The Vata material is mostly related to a nervous and musculoskeletal system and controls cell division, impulse transmission and movement of body fluids. The Pitta man-ages the metabolism and formation of tissues and is mainly associated with digestive and endocrine systems. The Kapha is responsible for body growth and prevents the destruction of tissues. Ayurveda principles are mainly based on the examination of body systems and evaluation of symptoms and providing personalised treatment. Ayurveda is prevalent not only in India but also in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Maldives