Guidelines on Developing Consumer Information on Proper Use of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine
(2004; 109 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentForeword
View the documentPreface
View the documentGlossary
Open this folder and view contents1. General Considerations
Close this folder2. Development of Consumer Information
View the document2.1 Cultural influence
View the document2.2 Health system structure
View the document2.3 Utilization
Open this folder and view contents3. General Principles and Activities for Ensuring Reliable TM/CAM Information
Open this folder and view contents4. Topics to Consider when Developing Consumer Information Promoting Proper Use of TM/CAM
View the document5. Use of this Publication
View the documentReferences
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes
View the documentBack Cover

2.1 Cultural influence

It is essential that an information campaign promoting proper use of TM/CAM is undertaken with knowledge of the social, cultural, religious and spiritual context in which it is based. Each country has its own set of medical knowledge based on the local culture and past experience. As a result, medical concepts and understandings can vary significantly from one country to the next. For instance, a traditional Chinese medicine for the heart will not treat the same conditions as heart medications in conventional medicine. This is because the term ‘heart’ in traditional Chinese medicine does not only mean the physical organ ‘heart’, but also includes some functions conventional medicine would attribute to the brain. This is an example of how simple cultural misunderstanding can easily occur.

When medicines are being traded in foreign markets, the domestic consumers often wrongly apply their own medical concepts and understanding to the imported traditional medicines, often resulting in misunderstanding and subsequent misuse.

to previous section
to next section
The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: December 6, 2017