In latest years, there has been a substantial debate on the ethics of research in traditional medicine (TM). In general, the controversies have revolved around the unreasonable harvesting of medicinal plants from the wild, ethical accountability of researchers towards local skill holders, and the credibility of TM as a complementary and alternative mode of treatment . Since enhanced publications are the only way to maximize research outreach, it is significant to understand the ethical principles governing publication in TM journals. There are six broad things to consider here:
- Ethical policies and declarations
- Scientific validation
- Informed consent
- Proprietary issues
- Reporting standards
1. Ethical policies and declarations
The Helsinki declaration outlined the basic ethics of human experimentation and marked the beginning of resolutions and policies in research studies. However, the Chiang Mai declaration (March 1988), the WHO Traditional Medicines Strategy 2002–2005, and the WHO general guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine have a greater concentrate on the ethical principles for research in TM. For example:
- The Chiang Mai declaration endorses international cooperation and coordination for the conservation of medicinal plants to ensure their adequate availability for future generations [Two].
- The WHO Traditional Medicines Strategy mainly concentrates on policies related to the safety, efficacy, quality, access to, and rational use of medicinal plants [Trio].
- The WHO guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine concentrate on the current major debates on safety and efficacy of TM and are intended to raise and response some challenging questions concerning the evidence base. The document also presents national regulations for the evaluation of herbal medicines and recommends fresh approaches for carrying out clinical research [Four]; for example, as per the document traditional medicines with a deep-rooted history of use can be directly taken to phase Trio clinical trials, after a toxicity explore has been conducted.
- Additionally, the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) suggest a standard format for authors to prepare reports of trial findings, which facilitates finish and see-through reporting, and helps authors in critical appraisal and interpretation of data [Five].
Two. Sustenance is key