American Journal of Public Health Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-669X ISSN (Online): 2327-6703 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Public Health Research. 2015, 3(5A), 194-198
DOI: 10.12691/ajphr-3-5A-41
Open AccessResearch Article

Traditional Healers and Evidence-Based Medicine

Ranabir Pal1, , Pradip Kumar Mohanta2, Gautam Sarker3, Neeti Rustagi1 and Ayan Ghosh4

1Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

2Department of Surgery, College of Medicine and JNM Hospital, Kalyani, West Bengal

3Department of Community Medicine MGM Medical College and LSK Hospital, Kishanganj, Bihar, India

4Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine and JNM Hospital, Kalyani, West Bengal

Pub. Date: October 28, 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Scenario 2015; Millennium Development Goals)

Cite this paper:
Ranabir Pal, Pradip Kumar Mohanta, Gautam Sarker, Neeti Rustagi and Ayan Ghosh. Traditional Healers and Evidence-Based Medicine. American Journal of Public Health Research. 2015; 3(5A):194-198. doi: 10.12691/ajphr-3-5A-41


Traditional medicine is the oldest primary care with 400 million practitioners across the globe. Many consider traditional medicine to be unsystematic and not based on science, with voluminous apprehensions. Yet, due to reasons better known to them as care-seekers daily patronize traditional healers by accepting them as ‘Friend, Philosopher and Guide’. Otherwise in absence of 'receivers of treatment' these traditional healers would not have survived over years with respect from the community. They are true professionals. Our so-called academic understanding is nothing in front of their generations old practical knowledge stored in their senior members. From the pragmatic and empiricist medicine of 5000 BC, today medicine has put off the robe of ego for the ultimate benefit of mankind amidst profiteering groups. We have to use both individual clinical expertise and the best available evidence for the benefit of mankind. From the age old concept of ‘Doctor’ as ‘healer, preacher and teacher’, we have currently reached the era of evidence based medicine- ‘What is the evidence that what you have just advised, works’. Practicing evidence based medicine will identify and apply the most efficacious interventions with ideas and concepts to think positively to maximise the chances of individuals, groups and communities to attain and sustain, long happy and fulfilled lives. The empiricist traditional healers are truly practicing 'Evidenced Based Medicine' in their own limited way. We have to pass through painstaking process to help them learn how to improve.

traditional healers evidence-based medicine

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Timmermans S, Mauck A. The promises and pitfalls of evidence-based medicine. Health Aff (Millwood) 2005; 24 (1): 18-28.
[2]  Elstein AS. On the origins and development of evidence-based medicine and medical decision making. Inflamm Res 2004; 53 Suppl 2: S184-9.
[3]  Muir GJA. Evidence-based health care. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone 1997. ISBN 0-443-05721-4.
[4]  Sackett DL, Rosenberg WMC, Gray JAM, Haynes RB, Richardson WS. Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't (Editorial). BMJ 1996; 312: 71.
[5]  Grahame-Smith D. Evidence based medicine: Socratic dissent. BMJ 1995; 310: 1126.
[6]  Ngoma-Simengwa J. Zambia: Traditional Healers and HIV/Aids. Times of Zambia. [online] [cited 27 August 2010] Available from:
[7]  Traditional medicine. THE HINDU. [online] [cited 20 Novemeber 2009] Available from:
[8]  Mbwambo ZH, Mahunnah RLA, Kayombo EJ. Traditional Health Practitioner and the Scientist: Bridging the Gap in Contemporary Health Research in Tanzania. Tanzania Health Research Bulletin 2007; 9(2): 23-9.
[9]  South African legislation on traditional medicine. Sibongile Pefile. South African legislation on traditional medicine. [online] [retrieved on 29.05.2015] Available from:
[10]  Mukhopadhyay A. Public-Private Partnership in the Health Sector in India. In Public-Private Partnerships in the Social Sector part 2: Country Experiences. Pp333-344. [online] [retrieved on 29.05.2015] Available from:
[11]  ndia recognizes AMCHI treatment system-38278 [online] [cited 26 August 2010] Available at:
[12]  Traditional birth attendant. [online] [cited 13 May 2014] Available from:
[13]  Tilburt JC, Kaptchuk T J. Herbal medicine research and global health: an ethical analysis. Bull World Health Organ 2008; 86(8): 594-9.