Time for Healing: Integrating Traditional Therapies with Scientific Medical Practice

By Carl Becker | Go to book overview

8.
The Potential of Modern
Phytotherapy as a Whole-System
Science

Dan Kennen L. Ac.


Introduction

For what kinds of patients does phytotherapy work most reliably?

Botanical medicine, or phytotherapy, is the most widespread form of medical treatment in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the world's population relies principally on traditional medicines, in which phytotherapy plays a central role.1 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with its numerous variants, is the most pervasive form of medical therapy in East Asia. Even in Japan, 70 percent of physicians prescribe botanical formulas from Kampo, or Chinese medical tradition.2 In the industrialized West, the use of herbs and botanical extracts plays an increasing role in health care. In France alone, somewhere between 3000 and 4000 physicians use phytotherapy for primary care. Great Britain licenses “Medical Herbalists.” German medical schools teach phytotherapy. In the U.S., the sale of herbs is undergoing significant growth. Sales of herbal medicines increased 59 percent in 1997 and are growing 20 percent a year, with the largest growth of sales in retail pharmacies.3 According to Landmark Health Care of Sacramento, California, herbal therapy has the highest utilization rate of all alternative health care in the U.S., at 17 percent. Among the people surveyed, 70 percent say that they are most likely to use herbal therapy.

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