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Best of the Web: Traditional Medicine

While most of the focus on traditional medical practices on this site has been on Traditional Chinese Medicine, and, to a lesser extent, Ayurvedic and Sioux medicine, this only scratches the surface of what’s out there. This post is intended to provide a jumping off point for some of the best resources on the web encompassing a number of ancient medical traditions from around the world.

Benefits of Traditional Approaches

Although the Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions are by far the most comprehensive, representing as they do thousands of years of continuous recorded experimentation, equivalent traditions have existed in almost every culture, and these are slowly being explored and documented. The common denominators among these traditions include not only their concurrence with Hippocrates that food is medicine, but an understanding of the human organism as an integrated physical, energetic, mental, emotional and spiritual being.

From this ancient knowledge comes not only a vast and elaborate pharmacopeia capable of addressing almost any problem the human body can come up with (see the video above for a taste of that), not only a library of other techniques, but an approach which seeks to prevent illness by supporting the immune system and strengthening the body, mind and energy system in a systematic way.


Exploring Traditional/Alternative Medicine

Because of the seeming difference in theoretical assumptions and terminology between Western and traditional medicine, exploring alternative medicine can seem like a chore. Determining whether any practitioner is competent or not is often more than a question of a degree hanging on a wall, though there are many recognised degree programs in the field. There is also the question of distinguishing between real knowledge with centuries of practical validation behind it, and worthless folklore of the type that funds poaching of rare animals for supposed aphrodisiacs. For all of these reasons, it is important to read, compare, get second opinions and at least begin to understand the theoretical underpinnings of the medicine you use. You and only you can ultimately be responsible for your health.


Traditional Chinese Medicine
Articles and information on acupuncture and all aspects of TCM.
Information and articles on the theory, practice and application of TCM. The information ranges from accessible primers for the novice to practitioner-oriented material on diagnosis and treatment.
Site of Daniel Reid, the author of some of the best practical books on health and lifestyle from a TCM perspective.
The Journal of Chinese Medicine, one of the foremost professional publications.
Site of Shou-Yu Liang, prominent and learned exponent of health qigong traditions.

Site of Robyn Landis, coauthor of the excellent traditional health primer Herbal Defense.
Site of Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Landis’ teacher.

Other Traditions
African Networks on Ethnomedicines, a South Africa-based organisation dedicated to research into local medical knowledge on the continent of Africa. The organisation also runs a peer-reviewed journal (
Tibetan Medicine resources.
Site hosting the texts of a number of classics of the Western herbal tradition.
The Center for Traditional Medicine supports research into indigenous medical traditions of the Americas.

General Sites
In addition to an extensive range of articles on Chinese medicine, the Institute for Traditional Medicine provides information on a range of other Asian traditions, including Ayurveda, Japanese, Mongolian and Southeast Asian traditions.
The Institute of Traditional Medicine (different from above) teaches a range of traditional and integrative approaches, and provides a vast selection of links and resources.
The Centre for International Ethnomedicinal Education and Research is an umbrella organisation for research into local medicinal knowledge worldwide.