Traditional and Complementary Medicines: Are they Ethical for Humans, Animals and the Environment?

  • Kate Chatfield

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)

About this book


This book provides a systematic analysis of the ethical implications of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM), focusing on pragmatic solutions. The author uses a bioethical methodology called the “Ethical Matrix,” to consider the impact of T&CM use for animals and the environment as well as for humans.

A systematic search of the literature reveals that most published ethical concerns are related to the safety of T&CM use for humans. However, application of the Ethical Matrix demonstrates that the ethical implications for T&CM use are much broader. In this book, the author analyses the most serious implications, including adverse events related to homeopathy, the use of animals in T&CM products, and the impact of herbal medicine on the environment. Comparisons with the ethical implications of conventional biomedicine help readers to contextualise debate, and highlight aspects that may be unique to T&CM. 

Globally, many high-level health policy makers promote T&CM as an accessible and affordable healthcare option. However, their use is considered by some to be a waste of resources, unscientific, and unethical. Offering a frank analysis of this largely ignored field of healthcare ethics, this book is both timely and essential. It helps patients, policy makers, practitioners, researchers, and students gain the knowledge they need to make more informed decisions.


Complementary and Alternative Medicine Traditional Medicine Healthcare Ethics Animal Welfare Environmental Sustainability Pharmacovigilance Ethical Challenges medicine Ethical Matrix Conventional Healthcare System Alternative Health

Authors and affiliations

  • Kate Chatfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Professional EthicsUniversity of Central LancashirePrestonUK

Bibliographic information