Alternative medicine market size is expected to generate a revenue of USD 210.81 billion by 2026


By Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, RND, PhD

The Traditional and Alternative Medicine draft bill 2014 defines alternative medicine as any form of treatment that is outside the mainstream allopathic and Traditional Medicine in Ghana. In 2000, Parliament enacted a Traditional Medicine Practice Act, (ACT 575). The purpose of the mandate of the Traditional Medicine Council as stated in that law is however not clear as to who is a traditional Medicine Practitioner. Without a clear definition as to who is a practitioner, it is difficult to regulate these operators. The current new draft bill 2014 therefore seeks to revise the legislation to regulate these operate traditional medicine practice as well as the food supplement industry. Examples of Alternative Medicine are acupuncture, naturopathy, homeopathy and chiropractic. Today, in Ghana, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has a degree program in Herbal Medicine. I was also much delighted to read in the newspapers that, The University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), in Ho, Volta region is advertising to start a department for both Traditional and Alternative Medicine.

Currently, the Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine is the first Alternative Medicine College approved by the Traditional Medicine Council (TMPC) of the Ministry of Health to start four year Professional Advanced program in Naturopathic Medicine which is equivalent to the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program accredited in the USA by the Council for Naturopathic Medical Education.

I keep telling the Medical Community that, Medicine has evolved and gone were the days, where Medics have the notion that, these practitioners are quacks and have no academic knowledge in their chosen professions.Yet about 80% of the populace relies on these treatments according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is therefore time to look at the economic potential or growth of this industry to help improve our currency and the economy at large.

Today, foreign nutritional networking companies have infiltrated the market in Ghana, making huge billions of dollars in our country and transferring all these back to their countries. These products have been accepted in Ghana partly because of the scientific foundation of their products. In Latvia, the government has supported the product Rigvir. It has been demonstrated to be very effective in treating various cancers, and has a promising medical future. RIGVIR is commercialized in Latvia, Georgia and Armenia. Rigvir® was approved and registered in Latvia in 2004 and has since been a front-line treatment for melanoma in Latvia. Rigvir has made Latvia, a medical tourist destination. Foreign herbal products formulas have been able to received patents. In Ghana, the patent office, has to be up and doing. I have filed for a patent for three of my FDA approved products and almost three years counting and nothing had been done about the patent of the products at the patent office. I believe the ministry of Business Development has to take the alternative medicine industry as one of their priorities to generate foreign exchange.  In Germany, Homeopathy is a standard treatment and Medical Doctors could specialized in Homeopathy and this patterns in other European union.  Our raw materials are of high quality, partly because of the abundant of the sunlight energizing the plants. Was struck down when I once saw raw materials been exported to foreign lands when we have pharmaceutical companies here to formulate and manufacture quality products from them.  We must add value to our raw materials instead of exporting them in a raw form.

Alternative medicine tends to elicit strong opinions. Some people swear by natural remedies while others insist that traditional medicine isn’t effective and, at worst, can be dangerous. Alternative treatments are gaining popularity in the U.S., where around 50 percent of people say they have used them, but despite the billions of dollars spent on these remedies each year only a third of them have ever been tested.

IN 2013, according to one reports, many American consumers cite distrust of big pharmaceutical companies as one of the main reasons they lean towards using traditional therapies. According to new report by Grand View Research, The global complementary and alternative medicine market size is expected to generate a revenue of USD 210.81 billion by 2026, it is projected to expand at a CAGR of 17.07% during the forecast period. Factors such as the increasing adoption and usage of natural supplements/wellness medicine coupled with government initiatives to promote adoption of the therapy is expected to create revenue generation avenues.

Complementary and alternative forms of therapy are used in the treatment of chronic ailments, long-term pain among others and are also used for additional vitamins and other dietary supplementation of regular diet. Moreover, with considerable increase in the costs of conventional medicine and inclination towards body wellness rather than pharmaceutical cure is likely to boost the market over the forecast period.

Approximately two third population of most of the developed and developing countries has reported using one or the other form of alternative or complementary medicine. Certain countries are moving towards legalization of some alternative medicine and therapies backed with approved clinical data.

The reasons are numerous:

  1. The market is driven by high adoption of herbal dietary supplements and other wellness therapies like yoga, and acupuncture
  2. Botanical has become the most prominent form of alternative medicine as the segment was observed to hold the largest market share in terms of revenue 2018
  • Europe and Asia Pacific in combination are anticipated to hold a major market share in terms of revenue over the forecast period
  1. Developing regions such as Latin America and Middle East Africa are set to witness considerable growth in demand over the forecast period driven by high cost of conventional medicine and lack of their availability in certain countries
  2. Some of the key players and wellness institutes active in the complementary and alternative medicine market are Columbia Nutritional Inc.; Herb Pharm; Herbal Hills; Helio USA Inc.; Deepure Plus; Nordic Naturals; Pure encapsulations, Inc.; and other wellness institutes like Iyengar Yoga Institute; John Schumacher’s Unity Woods Yoga Center; Yoga Tree; The Healing Company; and Quantum Touch Inc.

Grand View Research has segmented the global complementary and alternative medicine market on the basis of intervention, distribution method, and region

Distribution Method Insights

The key element of complementary and alternative medicine lies in the delivery of the therapy to the individual. Most of these treatments are delivered through direct contact such as acupuncture, energy healing, naturopathy, and others. This includes the application of particular naturopathic treatment on the individual. Direct contact method of delivery has occupied the major market share of around 74.0% in 2018. It is likely to witness slight decline in near future due to the integration of distant healing and many other technologies eliminating the need for direct contact with individual.

E-training is another significant method of treatment delivered through various technological media like telephonic medication, video therapy, and others. Various governments offer distance courses to improve the exposure of the practitioners to various therapies. This factor is projected to bode well for segment growth in the forthcoming years.

Intervention Insights

On the basis of intervention, the market is categorized into botanicals; acupuncture; mind, body, and yoga; and magnetic intervention. Botanicals occupy the highest share of the market as most people in developed countries use dietary supplements like vitamins, minerals, and other digestive supplements.



Fig 2.

Technological advancements are being integrated with traditional therapies like acupuncture and magnetic interventions to improve outcomes. Government initiatives like the AYUSH ministry by India and Canada’s efforts to legalize the alternative medicinal therapies are likely to boost the market during the forecast period.

Botanicals segment that includes Ayurveda, Naturopathy, and Homeopathy; held the largest market share of almost 39.0% in 2018 owing to the high usage of dietary supplements and natural interventions in the treatment of skin diseases and chronic pains. Medical tourism and expensive conventional medical therapies in the developing regions are largely to encourage the usage of cheaper alternative medications and is like to boost the market.

Regional Insights

Europe occupied the larger market share owing to extensive use of botanicals such as dietary supplements in the countries like Germany and France. On the other hand, medical tourism, expensive conventional medicine, and origin of the medical techniques, Asia Pacific is set to grow at steady pace over the forecast years. Middle East is transforming with wellness medical infrastructure to become one of the hubs and fast-growing regions in the forthcoming years.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market Share Insights

Some of the key market players are Columbia Nutritional Inc.; Herb Pharm; Herbal Hills; Helio USA Inc.; Deepure Plus; Nordic Naturals; Pure encapsulations, Inc.; and other wellness institutes like Iyengar Yoga Institute; John Schumacher’s Unity Woods Yoga Center; Yoga Tree; The Healing Company; and Quantum Touch Inc.

Riding on the increased awareness among people and various government initiatives like the regulatory bodies aiming to obtain clinical data to support and legalize the alternative therapies, are likely to boost the market to witness significant growth in near future.


The alternative Medicine industry is very huge with significant economic potential. I believe, it is time for Ghana and Africa to look at the huge prospect of the economic growth of the industry instead of the tension, name calling and friction in the health sector between alternative medicine practitioners, Herbal Practitioners and allopathic doctors.  Ghana could be one of the medical powerhouses if we both practice integrated approach to healthcare.  Thank you.


Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, RND, PhD, is a Medical Entrepreneur, innovator, inventor, researcher, scientist, scientific writer, lecturer with interest in Naturopathic Urology and Oncology. He is the President of the Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine, Tema Community 7, principal lead scientist at RNG Medicine Research Lab, National President of the Alternative Medical Association of Ghana(AMAG) and chief editor of the Ghana Alternative Medicine Journal(GAMJ). E. mail:, 0541090045

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