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Medicine is the science[1] and practice[2] of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment, palliation of their injury or disease, and promoting their health. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.[3]

There are different perspectives, systems and cultures in medicine. There is a mainstream based on western thought and science, sometimes called mainstream medicine or conventional medicine. Besides that there are systems with different cultural origin, or different paradigms. These bear different names like traditional medicine, alternative medicine or complementary medicine. An impulse of integration of different medical approaches lives in integrative medicine.

Traditional medicine

Script error: No such module "main". 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."[4] Practices known as traditional medicines include Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, ancient Iranian medicine, Irani, Islamic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Korean medicine, acupuncture, Muti, Ifá, and traditional African medicine.[5]

The WHO stated that "inappropriate use of traditional medicines or practices can have negative or dangerous effects" and that "further research is needed to ascertain the efficacy and safety" of several of the practices and medicinal plants used by traditional medicine systems.[4] As an example practitioners of traditional medicine are not authorized to practice medicine in India unless trained at a qualified medical institution, registered with the government, and listed as registered physicians annually in The Gazette of India.[6][7]

Evidence on the effectiveness of the alternative medicine practice of acupuncture is "variable and inconsistent" for any condition,[8] but is generally safe when done by an appropriately trained practitioner.[9]


  1. Firth, John (2020). "Science in medicine: when, how, and what". Oxford textbook of medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198746690.
  2. Saunders J (June 2000). "The practice of clinical medicine as an art and as a science". Med Humanit. 26 (1): 18–22. doi:10.1136/mh.26.1.18. PMID 12484313. S2CID 73306806.
  3. "Dictionary, medicine". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 Dec 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Traditional Medicine: Definitions". World Health Organization. 2008-12-01. Archived from the original on 8 August 2020. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  5. "Traditional Medicine-2020 | Alternative Medicine-2020 | Herbal Medicine-2020 | Naturopathic Medicine 2020 | 5th World Congress on Traditional and Alternative Medicine". Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  6. Justice RK Agrawal (13 April 2018). "Judgment by the Supreme Court of India: Kerala Ayurveda Paramparya vs State Of Kerala". Supreme Court of India. Archived from the original on 9 December 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  7. "IMA Anti Quackery". Indian Medical Association. 2014. Archived from the original on 31 January 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  8. Colquhoun D, Novella SP (June 2013). "Acupuncture is theatrical placebo" (PDF). Anesthesia and Analgesia. 116 (6): 1360–3. doi:10.1213/ANE.0b013e31828f2d5e. PMID 23709076. S2CID 207135491. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  9. "Acupuncture (PDQ®)". National Cancer Institute. 2005-09-23. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 15 Sep 2013.
This article is based (in parts) on the article Medicine from the free encyclopedia wikipedia and is licensed under GNU license for free documentation and the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike. On wikipedia there is a List of authors accessible. More about importing from wikipedia on page Imedwiki:Importing from wikipedia.