Traditional medicine (also known as indigenous or folk medicine) comprises medical aspects of traditional knowledge that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as “the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness”. Traditional medicine is contrasted with scientific medicine.
In some Asian and African countries, up to 80% of the population relies on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs. When adopted outside its traditional culture, traditional medicine is often considered a form of alternative medicine. Practices known as traditional medicines include traditional European medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional indigenous Mayongia magic and medicine(Assam), traditional Korean medicine, traditional African medicine, Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, ancient Iranian Medicine, Islamic medicine, Muti, and Ifá. Scientific disciplines which study traditional medicine include herbalism, ethnomedicine, ethnobotany, and medical anthropology.