Herbal medicine is of "proven utility," says WHO

The World Health Organisation has called on governments to integrate traditional herbal medicine into their national health care systems, according to a report in the China Daily.

The declaration was issued during WHO's first-ever congress on traditional medicine, staged over two days in Beijing last month, said the newspaper.

"Governments should establish systems for the qualification, accreditation or licensing of traditional medicine practitioners," said WHO in the declaration. "Traditional medicine practitioners should upgrade their knowledge and skills based on national requirements."

"For millions of people, often living in rural areas of developing countries, herbal medicines, traditional treatments and traditional practitioners are the main — sometimes the only —source of healthcare," Margaret Chan, WHO's director-general, told the China Daily. "The two systems of traditional and Western medicine need not clash. Within the context of primary healthcare, they can blend together in harmony, using the best features of each system."

She added: "Many countries have brought the two systems together. Here in China, herbal therapy of proven utility in many disorders is provided in state hospitals throughout the country, alongside conventional medicine."

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