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Changing the knowledge base in Western herbal medicine


Evans, S, Changing the knowledge base in Western herbal medicine, Social Science & Medicine, 67 pp. 2098-2106. ISSN 0277-9536 (2008) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2008 Elsevier

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.09.046


The project of modernising Western herbal medicine in order to allow it to be accepted by the public and to contribute to contemporary healthcare is now over two decades old. One aspect of this project involves changes to the ways knowledge about medicinal plants is presented. This paper contrasts the models of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) and Traditional Knowledge (TK) to illuminate some of the complexities which have arisen consequent to these changes, particularly with regard to the concept of vitalism, the retention or rejection of which may have broad implications for the clinical practice of herbal medicine. Illustrations from two herbals (central texts on the medicinal use of plants) demonstrate the differences between these frameworks in regard to how herbs are understood. Further, a review of articles on herbal therapeutics published in the Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine indicates that practitioners are moving away from TK and towards the use of EBM in their clinical discussions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:herbal medicine, traditional knowledge, evidence based medicine, vitalism, australia
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Traditional, complementary and integrative medicine
Research Field:Naturopathy
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Evans, S (Dr Sue Evans)
ID Code:112601
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:29
Deposited By:Pharmacy
Deposited On:2016-11-17
Last Modified:2016-12-21

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