Herbal and Folk Medicine integration of contents through an interdisciplinary perspective


Herbal and Folk Medicine integration of contents through an interdisciplinary perspective


Integración de contenidos de Medicina Natural y Tradicional desde una perspectiva interdisciplinaria



Julio Castro Martínez1, Isabel Idania Mederos Luís2, Aracely García González3

1 MD. Specialist in Herbal and Folk Medicine. MSc. in Public Health. Associate professor. Villa Clara. University of Medical Sciences. Cuba. E-mail: juliocm@ucm.vcl.sld.cu
2 Bachelor in Psychology. MA.in Higher Medical Education. Consultant professor. Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences. Cuba. E-mail: isabelml@ucm.vcl.sld.cu
3 MD. Specialist in Comprehensive General Medicine. MSc. in Public Health. Associate professor. Villa Clara. University of Medical Sciences. Cuba. E-mail: aracelygg@ucm.vcl.sld.cu




The integration of resources in Herbal and Folk Medicine is a decisive element in the provision of health services, not only for its economic effect but also for the therapeutic arsenal that it offers to the doctor. The health system and health professionals must understand the necessity not to oppose knowledge and available techniques, but to enrich them as well as the comprising abilities, so as to obtain a higher efficiency in health assistance and a more and more satisfied population; which qualitatively constitutes the essence of a superior medical practice. The current work pretends to communicate the importance of the integration of the contents of Herbal and Folk Medicine with other disciplines and subjects contained in the study plan of the Medicine career.

MeSH: Interdisciplinary, integration, natural and traditional medicine, education, medical.


La integración de los recursos de la Medicina Natural y Tradicional es un elemento determinante en la prestación de los servicios de salud, no solo por su efecto económico sino también por el arsenal terapéutico que ofrece al médico. Comprender la necesidad que tienen los profesionales y el sistema de salud en su conjunto de no contraponer los conocimientos y técnicas disponibles, sino de enriquecer estos y sus habilidades, de modo que se obtenga más eficiencia en la asistencia y una población cada vez más satisfecha, constituye la esencia misma de una práctica médica cualitativamente superior. El presente trabajo pretende comunicar la importancia de la integración de los contenidos de la Medicina Natural y Tradicional con otras disciplinas y asignaturas contenidas en el plan de estudio de la carrera de Medicina.

DeCS: Interdisciplinariedad, integración, medicina tradicional y natural, educación médica.



Herbal and Folk Medicine (HFM) asserts the doctor's orienting comprehensiveness, it incorporates preventive approaches of the diseases and it offers the therapeutic and rehabilitation tools for many acute and chronic health problems1.

It is significant the development that has been reached in the integration of the resources of the HFM and its positive impact in the efficiency and quality of health services with the use of the phyto-drugs and api-drugs in the last two decades, the employment of therapies with natural products, the use of acupuncture and similar techniques, homeopathy, magnetic fields, floral therapy and other modalities.

HFM constitutes a fundamental pillar for the exercise of the clinical practice, millennial healing procedures are used in it, they have been used by several generations and they maintain their validity for all those who consider it as a resource within the medical work2, that´s why the authors of the present research work are interested in standing out the special significance that the integration of its contents has for the different disciplines of the medical sciences.

The Integrating Medicine3 is a term that refers to the combined and harmonic use of the resources of the western classical therapeutic with the diverse procedures and techniques of HFM, in correspondence with each patient's necessities. It considers that the human development becomes sustainable in the way that a health system based on a healthy lifestyle could be possible, in harmony with nature, with full respect to the environment and with the employment of means at hand for all. Ethical-philosophical reasons exist to favor its promotion and use, it possesses scientific value, it solves problems of difficult management and it has an economic contribution, when being less expensive.

The incorporation of the first elements of HFM either in the basic area or in the clinical one were introduced at the beginning of the decade of the 90,s in subjects like: Anatomy, Pharmacology, Dermatology, Psychiatry and Internal Medicine, later, it was widened to other specialties of the clinical and surgical areas.

In the year 2002 the professorships of Herbal and Folk Medicine are constituted in the higher medical education centers of the country, and it is necessary to highlight that in this respect for more than one decade the formative activity of the students stayed dispersed and not very uniform, essentially depending on the will of the professors of some subjects.

By means of the Ministry of Public Health Regulation 261/20094, the different therapeutic modalities of the HFM are approved to be applied in the medical assistance, teaching and researching for the whole country. The curricular strategies for the Medicine career were established in 2009; the perfected Study Plan1 incorporates the contents of HFM to consolidate and to systematize the work in an interdisciplinary way, with bigger organization level and better control of the results in the process of General Practitioners formation.

Different authors have stated in different documents5-7 that the curricular strategies of a career constitute a peculiar form of developing the teaching-learning process, with a highly coordinated directionality that responds to a GP´s professional profile, which incorporate in a growing way, the contents and the diverse theoretical and practical methods of the curricular units of the study plan that they comprise.

In the authors' opinion, for the achievement of an interdisciplinary approach the necessary coordination should be established either at a longitudinal level in semesters and years, or at a cross-sectional level among the subjects and disciplines of different years, so the harmonic development of the strategy is guaranteed with the pertinence in the contents and in the rest of the components of the teaching-learning process.

The introduction of the HFM contents in the Medicine career has a great importance, as well as the existence of a cross-sectional strategy that fosters them, so it is necessary the undertaking of a methodological work where each subject guarantees that the students acquire knowledge, abilities and the associated values to this topic by means of appropriate teaching forms, the teaching scenarios and the available learning resources should be valued in each place, where the objectives must be fulfilled, this aspect should be tested through the corresponding assessment instruments.

The authors also consider that this integration of the disciplines contents constitutes a great challenge in the doctor's formation; in some academic debate forums of Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences is insisted on the idea that the teaching-learning process doesn't reflect all the existent potentialities in this respect8. The consulted sources also agree in recognizing that the interconnection among the subjects with different positions constitutes a key aspect during the implementation of the curriculum, according to the logic of the profession, and the organization should generate spaces for the debate among the discipline subsystems, year and subject teaching staffs, as well as to take advantage of the potentialities of the cycle and the defined curricular strategies.

The methodological work that is planned can not contain the same objectives every year and its activities should not be monotonous and repetitive, since the possibility to deploy a formative process of excellence is sustained in the presence of a teaching management work of the subject that breaks outlines and offer solution to the existent problems, with a progressive increment of its demands, by means of the use of quality pertinent tools with the intention to interrelate the subsystems of the career and facilitate the interdisciplinary approach according to the new scenarios and educational tendencies.

The integration of knowledge responds to the teaching staff, its training should be guaranteed through the different upgrading modalities, those that will contribute with didactic and methodological tools for the teaching of the referred contents, as well as its self-training to advance in this endeavor, since it influences in the quality of the collective work and it should be secured the scientific-technical, didactic, philosophical, political-ideological and computing advance, as an essential base to undertake a creative methodological work.

To contribute to the materialization of the above mentioned objective, it should be strengthened the work of the HFM professorship so that it can guarantee the training of the teaching staff of the institution with effectiveness that although it has been possible to increase the formation of specialists and the offer of masters courses, diploma courses and other type of upgrading courses, they are still insufficient for the demand that establish the medical assistance , teaching and researching.

To advance in the improvement of the curricular strategies of interdisciplinary character for the next implementation of a plan D demands a wide and compromising participation of the teaching staff and the academic executives and the strengthening of the interdisciplinary methodological work from an integrating perspective that allows to understand how the proper exercise of the function comprehensive medical care includes the solution of managerial, researching and educational problems.

The term interdisciplinary integration, not only should be used in the analysis of curricular contents, but also it should have an academicist vision that allows to unite the human resources cohesively, the cultural and scientific background on HFM, as well as the new technologies and available means for the comprehensive formation of the future physicians, as guarantee of a bigger social pertinence and quality of the service that is rendered to the population.



1. Ministerio de Salud Pública. Plan de Estudios Perfeccionado. Carrera de Medicina. Resolución Ministerial 23/13. La Habana: MINSAP; 2013.

2. Castro Martínez J, Momplet Pérez V, González Pérez A. Valoraciones acerca de la incorporación curricular de la Medicina Tradicional al pregrado. EDUMECENTRO [Internet]. 2010 [citado 6 Abr 2015];2(2):[aprox. 3 p.]. Disponible en: http://www.revedumecentro.sld.cu/index.php/edumc/article/view/67/137

3. García Salman JD. Consideraciones sobre la Medicina Natural y Tradicional, el método científico y el sistema de salud cubano. Rev Cubana Salud Pública [Internet]. 2013 [citado 9 Nov 2015];39(3):[aprox. 15 p.]. Disponible en: http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0864-34662013000300010&lng=es

4. Ministerio de Salud Pública. Resolución Ministerial No. 261. La Habana: MINSAP; 2009.

5. Sierra Figueredo S, Fernández Sacasas JA, Miralles Aguilera E, Pernas Gómez M, Diego Cobelo JM. Las estrategias curriculares en la Educación Superior: su proyección en la Educación Médica Superior de pregrado y posgrado. Educ Med Super [Internet]. 2009 [citado 17 Abr 2015];23(3):[aprox. 7 p.]. Disponible en: http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0864-21412009000300009&lng=es

6. Villar Valdés M, Miranda Castellón I, Alfonso Águila B, León Bermúdez L. Alternativas de interdisciplinariedad para Morfofisiología y Medicina General Integral en el primer año de Medicina. EDUMECENTRO [Internet]. 2011 [citado 14 Abr 2015];3(1):[aprox. 8 p.]. Disponible en: http://www.revedumecentro.sld.cu/index.php/edumc/article/view/103/209

7. Ramírez Oves I, García Navas Y. Estrategia curricular de Medicina Tradicional y Natural en la carrera de Psicología de la Salud. EDUMECENTRO [Internet]. 2014 [citado 16 Abr 2015];6(2):[aprox. 14 p.]. Disponible en: http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2077-28742014000200013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es

8. Díaz Velis Martínez E, Ramos Ramírez R. Reflexiones orientadoras sobre la Didáctica Especial en las asignaturas clínicas. EDUMECENTRO [Internet]. 2013 [citado 15 Abr 2015];5(1):[aprox. 16 p.]. Disponible en: http://scieloprueba.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2077-28742013000100006&lng=es



Submitted: January, 7 2015.
Accepted: December, 15 2015.



Julio Castro Martínez. Villa Clara. University of Medical Sciences. Cuba. E-mail: juliocm@ucm.vcl.sld.cu

Copyright (c) 2016