Ethnomedicine is a sub-field of ethnobotany or medical anthropology that deals with the study of traditional medicines: not only those that have relevant written sources (e.g. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda), but especially those, whose knowledge and practices have been orally transmitted over the centuries.

In the scientific arena, ethnomedical studies are generally characterized by a strong anthropological approach, or by a strong biomedical approach, particularly in drug discovery programs. The focus of anthropological studies is the perception and context of use of traditional medicines, while biomedical approaches often focus on discovering therapeutic molecules, such as the anti HIV/AIDS molecule prostratin.

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