Traditional medicines are a principal form of health care for many populations, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, and they have gained attention as an important means of health care coverage globally. In the context of kidney diseases, the challenges and opportunities presented by traditional medicine practices are among the most important considerations for developing effective and sustainable public health strategies. However, little is known about the practices of traditional medicines in relation to kidney diseases, especially concerning benefits and harms. Kidney diseases may be caused, treated, prevented, improved, or worsened by traditional medicines depending on the setting, the person, and the types, modes, and frequencies of traditional medicine use. Given the profound knowledge gaps, nephrology practitioners and researchers may be uniquely positioned to facilitate more optimal public health strategies through recognition and careful investigation of traditional medicine practices. Effective implementation of such strategies also will require local partnerships, including engaging practitioners and users of traditional medicines. As such, practitioners and researchers investigating kidney diseases may be uniquely positioned to bridge the cultural, social, historical, and biologic differences between biomedicine and traditional medicine, and they have opportunities to lead efforts in developing public health strategies that are sensitive to these differences.
Keywords: Ayurveda; Traditional medicines; kidney disease; low- and middle-income countries; traditional Chinese medicine.
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