Should the use of complementary and alternative medicine be restricted?
Keywords:Complementary and alternative medicine, Western medicine, Developing countries, Developed countries
There is a considerable amount of doubt about the effectiveness and safety profile of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This review article aimed at observing the trend of use of CAM in various countries and its acceptability. It was observed that CAM was more commonly used as a form of treatment in developing countries when compared to the developed countries which may be due to the cultural and economic aspects. The major reason for restricted use of CAM in developed countries is the lack of scientific evidence and adequate studies confirming its efficacy and safety. It involves use of several natural products and body parts of animals which might not always be beneficial and cause harm not only to individual but also the environment. However, some treatments like artemisin for malaria are considered the treatment of choice. CAM is an extensive field consisting of numerous wide ranging therapies, differing in concepts and effectiveness; hence, it is very difficult to have a generalised approach while drawing conclusions about its usage. It is important that more studies are conducted comparing CAM with western medicine for scientific input on its efficacy and safety. Proper monitoring and education about CAM like Ayurveda and yoga by qualified personnel can avoid any harm and facilitate its use as a complementary treatment to western medicine, combination of these two can form a more holistic medical model for treatment.
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