Understanding Traditional Medicine

Understanding Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Rating: 4.2 out of 5 (9 ratings)
605 students
English [Auto]

Acquire a clear understanding of traditional medicine.
Understand the nature of traditional medicine.
Distinguish between traditional, alternative and complementary medicine.
Become acquainted with global examples of traditional medicine.
Know why traditional medicine is important in today's world.


  • There are no prerequisites for this course.


Despite the widespread use of conventional medicine, traditional medicine is still very much in use across the world across economic classes and communities of people. The enduring nature of traditional medicine is as a result of its efficacy and what many believe to be little side effects.

Traditional medicine is broad and widespread, some of the most widely used traditional medicine methods include those from Asia and Africa. The practice of traditional medicine is, therefore, diverse and entails different products, methods and practices. Across Africa, for instance, the practice of traditional medicine differs from community to community and from country to country and are heavily influenced by history, culture, social psychology and the underlying philosophy of a location.

There are unifying characteristics of traditional medicine, however, and that includes that traditional medicine addresses the needs of the whole person, both physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual.

This course brings clarity to the concept of traditional medicine, which is the system of medicine that communities used exclusively before the advent of conventional, western originated medicine. The course further explains the different concepts of Alternative and Complementary medicine. Lastly, the course makes a convincing case for why every individual should be interested in traditional medicine.

Who this course is for:

  • This course provides a basic but strong foundation for anyone interested in knowing more about traditional medicine.
  • The course if for those who wish to understand the difference between traditional, alternative and complementary medicine.


PhD African Studies
Dr. Chika Esiobu
  • 4.4 Instructor Rating
  • 44 Reviews
  • 956 Students
  • 3 Courses

Dr. Chika Ezeanya Esiobu holds a Ph.D. in African Studies from Howard University in Washington D.C. Dr. Chika's intellectual work is centrally located within the conviction that Africa’s indigenous knowledge is key to the continent’s advancement.

Dr. Chika has been invited to present her ideas across cultures, countries, institutions and platforms, including Yale University, London School of Economics, United Nations, African Union, Social Science Research Council, Standard Bank South Africa, Project Management Institute of Africa, to mention few. Dr. Chika has worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the International Development Research Center (IDRC) Canada, the United Nations, the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).

In 2019, Dr. Chika was recognized as an influential person of African descent under 40. She is the author of Indigenous Knowledge and Education in Africa (Springer: 2019), in addition to numerous academic articles and essays on Africa's advancement. Dr. Chika is the founder of Julani Varsity and African Child Press. She is currently a visiting honorary professor with the University of Rwanda and an adjunct professor at California State University Dominguez Hill, Department of Africana Studies.