The term describes Pharmaceutical knowledge systems, which developed over centuries within various societies before the era of modern medicine; traditional medicines include medicines such as herbal medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, Unani medicine, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, African muti, as well as other medical knowledge and practices all over the globe.
WHO defines Traditional Medicine as "the medicine that refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being".
Countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America use traditional medicine (TM) to help meet some of their primary health care needs. In Africa, up to 80% of the population uses traditional medicine for primary health care.
In industrialized countries, the term "traditional medicine" is very often confused with the term "alternative medicine."
One of the core disciplines, which studies traditional medicines, is ethnomedicine.