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Kampo - Japan's traditional herbal medicine
  Kampo, Japan's traditional herbal medicine, originated in the 5th and 6th centuries.
It is an experience based medicine that was systemized around the 17th century.
In 1976 Kampo medicines were listed for National Health Insurance reimbursement in Japan.

Today's Kampo medicines use about 200 types of medicinal herbs, many of which are edible plants. Because the ingredients are natural medicinal herbs that are put together at specific ratios, Kampo medicines offer gentle effects and relatively few side effects.

The constituent medicinal herbs for each Kampo preparation are always consistent, as their dosage and administration are regulated. Japanese Kampo preparations have been tested in clinical studies. This allowed prescription-specific scientific data to be accumulated in Japan, producing evidence of efficacy in many kampo preparations using Western evaluation methods.

A report published by Japan Society for Oriental Medicine about treatments of colds shows that Kampo medicines work much faster and cost a third of Western medicines.

Most physicians in Japan prescribe Kampo preparations alongside Western medicines.

Nikkei Medical started a survey on the latest trends in Kampo awareness and usage. When the survey first began in 1976, less than 20% of physicians indicated they used Kampo, but in 2003, this had surged to 72%.

When asked what prompted the increased use of Kampo, the most common response was that Western medicine has inherent limits (65% of physicians), followed by availability of scientific data reports (32%), strong demand from patients (31%), and the ability to improve patient quality of life and take a holistic approach to treatment (29%).

Moreover, nearly 60% of physicians are supplementing Western diagnoses with Kampo medical findings and are administering Kampo medicines to patients, indicating a trend toward combination use of Kampo as an adjunct to Western medicine.

As demand for Kampo increases in Japan, the adoption of Kampo medicine education at medical schools is rapidly increasing. Kampo education was offered at only 24 medical schools as recently as 1997, it is being offered at all 80 medical schools in Japan since 2004.

In 2002 the Ministry of Health issued a model core curriculum for medical education in which the ability to give general information on Japanese Kampo medicine became part of the basic knowledge required before graduation. In this model core curriculum knowledge of Kampo medicine is essential to becoming a physician. Kampo medicine has also been incorporated into pharmaceutical education, whose core curriculum includes the basic concepts of Kampo medicine and knowledge of Kampo preparations and the constituent medicinal herbs.






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