Medical Provision in the 21st Century

The appeal of herbal medicine and herbal products within the public health domain is well documented but is the concept of integrated medicine wholly unrealistic in the light of current scientific innovation and the enormous potential that it presents to medicine? Developments in nuclear transfer experiments, embryonic stem cell research, gene cloning and profiling of the human genome present unique scientific opportunities that could alter the manner in which complex human diseases are prevented or treated.

On 21 November 2000, the UK’s House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology published a report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Britain into the growing demand for these therapies. It may be difficult for herbalists to accept the applications of the latest medical breakthroughs readily but it it is essential that practitioners have knowledge of such developments. To gain a full and accurate understanding of such scientific innovation could not only demonstrate the benefits of such techniques but could also clearly define the limitations and possibly any disadvantages that inadvertently favour herbal medicine. Moreover an increased awareness of the range of medical provision in the 21st Century would give a clear indication of the context and framework in which herbal medicine is practised.

In an age of unfathomable nmedical advancement it is important to reflect on the historic origins of medical science and remind ourselves that much of what passes for ‘modern’ medicine today is simply a refinement of ancient remedies and practices. The struggle to ensure the very survival of Western herbal medicine in a culture of scientific innovation requires fundamental reworking. The future of medical provision may be such that there is greater choice and diversity that encompasses conventional and alternative forms of treatment in the fight against disease or even its prevention.

co-authored with Dr. Kofi Busia

Read the full article here: medical-provision-in-the-21st-century

Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine (Perspectives) 2002; 8(2): 193-196