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The World Health Organization (WHO) inaugurated its inaugural traditional medicine summit in India, aiming to gather evidence for the safe utilization of these treatments. Acknowledging the global significance of traditional medicines, WHO’s Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, emphasized the need for informed policies and regulations to ensure their secure, effective, and scientific-based application. The two-day summit, concurrent with a G20 health ministers’ meeting, intends to foster political commitment and evidence-driven action in this domain.

However, skepticism and concerns surround traditional medicine. While these practices are widely prevalent, criticisms highlight the absence of proven scientific efficacy. There’s a notable divide between nations in terms of regulatory oversight and policies for traditional medicine, with only about half having specific guidelines.

The push for scientific rigor in traditional medicine echoes the sentiments of WHO’s research head, John Reeder, who underscores the importance of adhering to stringent standards similar to other health fields. While many approved pharmaceuticals have roots in natural products, such as aspirin derived from willow tree bark, the WHO stresses the necessity for applying scientific methodology to validate these age-old practices.