The State of the Evidence for Whole-System, Multi-Modality Naturopathic Medicine: A Systematic Scoping Review

J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Feb;25(2):141-168. doi: 10.1089/acm.2018.0340.


Objective: To summarize the current state of the research evidence for whole-system, multi-modality naturopathic medicine.

Design: A systematic search for research articles from around the world was undertaken using MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, AMED, and WHO regional indexes. Naturopathic journals and gray literature were hand searched. No language restrictions were imposed.

Interventions: All human research evaluating the effectiveness of naturopathic medicine, where two or more naturopathic modalities are delivered by naturopathic clinicians, were included in the review. Case studies of five or more cases were included.

Results: Thirty-three published studies (n = 9859) met inclusion criteria (11 American; 4 Canadian; 6 German; 7 Indian; 3 Australian; 1 United Kingdom; and 1 Japanese) across a range of mainly chronic clinical conditions. The studies predominantly showed evidence for the efficacy of naturopathic medicine for the conditions and settings in which they were based.

Conclusions: To date, research in whole-system, multi-modality naturopathic medicine shows that it is effective for treating cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal pain, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, depression, anxiety, and a range of complex chronic conditions.

Keywords: global; naturopathic medicine; naturopathy; pragmatic; systematic review; whole-system.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Naturopathy / statistics & numerical data*