Knowledge derived from traditional use or traditional medicine has been inherited and handed down based on accumulated experience over hundreds or thousands of years. Medical systems that are based on traditional knowledge include Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine and Unani Medicine, all which have been practiced for thousands of years. Much insight may be gained from the concepts of ancient systems, and the traditional uses of herbs and remedies may serve as a starting point for modern research to build upon.
Many of the principles and therapeutic methods of naturopathic medicine are based on traditional knowledge. Botanical or herbal medicine is one of the oldest forms of treatment used throughout the world and it's use has largely been based on traditional knowledge. Current research methods have more recently begun to identify the potential therapeutic constituents of specific herbs, investigate their physiological activities, and test them in randomized controlled trials.
Healthcare and disease management strategies that are based on 'common sense' and traditional wisdom have legitimate value. Some examples include:
- putting additional clothing on when cold
- resting when you are sick
- taking deep breathes when anxious
- Provides an observation of an intervention’s effect in humans
- Information is based on a long history of use, thereby providing direction for future investigation
- Is subjective in nature, relying on many individuals’ observations
- Relies upon accurate transmission of historical observations
- Is uncontrolled; ie, the “intervention” is not compared to the effect of “no intervention”
Lloyd Iva (2009) The History of Naturopathic Medicine, a Canadian perspective. McArthur & Company, Toronto