Guidelines for the Appropriate use of Herbal Medicines
(1998; 88 pages)
Table of Contents
View the documentForeword
Close this folder1. Introduction
View the document1.1 The role of herbal medicines
View the document1.2 WHO's policy on herbal medicines
View the document1.3 The need for the guidelines on appropriate use of herbal medicines
Open this folder and view contents2. Goals and objectives of the guidelines
View the document3. Definitions
Open this folder and view contents4. National policy development
Open this folder and view contents5. Development of a national programme on herbal medicines
Open this folder and view contents6. Regulation of practitioners
Open this folder and view contents7. Regulation of the manufacture and distribution of medicinal herbal products
Open this folder and view contents8. Regulation of herbal medicines
View the document9. Use of the guidelines
View the documentAnnex 1: Report of the meeting of the working group on herbal medicines
View the documentAnnex 2: List of temporary advisers, consultants, observers and secretariat
View the documentAnnex 3: Agenda
View the documentAnnex 4: Opening Speech of Dr S.T. Han, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Region Working Group on Herbal Medicines, 8 December 1997, Manila, Philippines
View the documentAnnex 5: Closing Remarks of Dr S.T. Han, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Working Group on Herbal Medicines, 12 December 1997, Manila, Philippines
View the documentReferences
 

1.1 The role of herbal medicines

Plants have been used for health and medical purposes for several thousands of years. The number of higher plant species on earth is about 250 000. It is estimated that 35 000 to 70 000 species have, at one time or another, been used in some cultures for medicinal purposes. A majority of the world's population in developing countries still relies on herbal medicines to meet its health needs. Herbal medicines are often used to provide first-line and basic health service, both to people living in remote areas where it is the only available health service, and to people living in poor areas where it offers the only affordable remedy. Even in areas where modern medicine is available, the interest on herbal medicines and their utilization have been increasing rapidly in recent years.

Medicinal plants are important sources for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Medicinal plants and herbal medicines account for a significant percentage of the pharmaceutical market. For example, in China, medicinal plants and their products had a 33.1% share of the pharmaceutical market in 1995. In Malaysia, the market for traditional medicine is estimated at about 1 billion Malaysia rinngit annually.

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