Traditional medicine is a form of healthcare that incorporates plant, animal, and mineral-based drugs, spiritual therapies, techniques, and manual exercises to diagnose, prevent, and treat diseases. It is a unique and indigenous practice to a particular country or culture. Chinese medicine and Western medicine can target the same molecule or pathways to cure diseases. The best approach is a combination therapy that uses Western medicine to relieve current symptoms and Chinese medicine simultaneously to address the root cause of the disease and prevent its recurrence.
Herbal medicine is a type of traditional medicine that uses products of plant origin to treat diseases and maintain overall health. It is particularly relevant for elderly users since they are more aware of health-related problems but use more drugs compared to younger people. Consumer attitude towards the use and safety of herbal medicines and herbal dietary supplements in Serbia has been studied with regard to the objectives of use, the role played by the type of disease, the reasons for the preferred use, and the sources of information. Alternative medicine is defined as a set of practices offered as an alternative to conventional medicine for the preservation of health and the treatment of health-related problems.
Factors influencing the use of complementary and alternative medicine and whether patients inform their primary care physician have also been studied. With the expansion of traditional medicines around the world, safety, efficacy, as well as quality control of herbal medicines and traditional procedure-based therapies have become major concerns for many countries. In Mali, traditional medicines enjoy a high level of government support with research and development managed by the Department of Traditional Medicine of the National Institute for Public Health Research. Western medicine treats symptoms and targets organs or organ systems as isolated from the rest of the body rather than as a whole interconnected system.
On the other hand, Chinese medicine takes into account all aspects of an individual's life including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, environmental, social, and lifestyle factors when diagnosing and treating diseases. To achieve maximum benefit from treatment, it is important to understand both Chinese medicine and Western medicine.