Alternative and Complementary Medicines have been in use for a long time in Pakistan. These alternative therapies are the first line of preference despite all the new progressions in medicine due to different cultures and beliefs. The traditional method of healthcare is still prevalent as Pakistani people are very much inclined towards the use of medicinal plants to treat various ailments. Most commonly the diseases that are treated by alternative medicines are skin diseases, gut problems and are also used to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy.
But what is alternative and complementary medicine? 🌿
CAM is a term for medical products and practices that are distinct from standard care.
Surprisingly, WHO fully supports the idea and role of CAM for promotive, preventive, and curative health.
Let’s dig in a bit deeper!
So, the most common CAM used in developing countries are Homeopathy (whole body system), Mind-body (prayer, meditation, healing), Biological based therapies, Energy medicine (Reiki), and lastly, Manipulative and Body-based practice (massages)
The field of alternative medicine is so vast about which most of us are oblivious.
One interesting fact about CAM in Pakistan is that 51.7%, almost half of the population of Pakistan choose CAM over biomedicine. It also exhibits the deep-rooted link between CAM and cultural heritage which is one of the reasons why Pakistani people prefer Alternative Medicines.
The field of CAM has emerged greatly and presently, degree and postgraduate level courses are being offered in Unani, Ayurvedic, and Homeopathic medicine in various parts of the country.
In Pakistan, the first college of Homeopathy in Punjab was established in the city of Lahore. Since then, thousands of people have graduated and are qualified Homeopaths.
Primarily, the homeopathic system is widely under practice in Pakistan. The homeopathic system was developed in Germany, more than 2000 years ago. Homeopathy simply is treating diseases with remedies prescribed in minute doses and the basic concept behind is “likes are cured by likes” also known as “similia similibus curantur”. In homeopathic treatment, various animals and plants are used to formulate medicines.
However, there is a conflict of interest between Allopathic and Homeopathic doctors which seems never-ending. If we look at it from a patient’s perspective, certainly the reason for opting for homeopathy is low cost and lesser side effects.
But in my opinion, it should solely be a patient’s choice to opt for whatever treatment he is comfortable with. However, the doctor must inform the patient about the pros and cons of a certain treatment.
Despite approval from WHO, there is still a lack of evidence to support Alternative treatments like homeopathy. There still are queries regarding the use of both allopathic and homeopathic medicines side by side and it will take a lot of research to form a consensus.
As much as CAM is being used in Pakistan, there is a need to upgrade the system and bring it to the forefront because at the end of the day it is the patient whose consent is important for the type of treatment they would like to prefer.
Despite all the fors and againsts, I believe that we should promote the perpetual evolutions in the medical field, be it herbal or allopathic because both will prove to be beneficial in some way or the other if appropriately utilized!
Medicine can be either herbal or allopathic but all you need is some faith for it to work! 💊