In view of the benefits and risks of TM/CAM therapies, efforts to ensure proper use of TM/CAM need to involve a wide range of stakeholders including consumers, governments, health authorities, NGOs, professional and consumer organizations, and TM/CAM researchers. Proper use of TM/CAM by consumers is a relative term that is influenced by the local culture and context (see section 2.1) and primarily dependent on the individual’s knowledge and ability to minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of TM/CAM use.
The following is a checklist of basic questions which may be used by consumers to help facilitate proper use of TM/CAM.
• Is the therapy suitable for treating the condition?
• Does the therapy have the potential to prevent, alleviate and/or cure symptoms or in other ways contribute to improved health and well-being?
• Is the therapy or herbal medicines provided by a qualified (preferably registered and certified) TM/CAM or health care practitioner with adequate training background, good skills and knowledge?
• Are the herbal medicinal products or materials of assured quality and what are the contraindications and precautions?
• Are the therapies or herbal medicinal products available at a competitive price?