Pan SY, Gao SH, Zhou SF, Tang MK, Yu ZL, Ko KM
 Beijing University of Chinese medicine, Beijing, China.
 University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, United States of America
 Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR, China.
 Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear water bay, Hong Kong SAR, China.
Since 1990, tremendous progress in the medical sciences has precipitated significant improvements in health care. However, with the aging of populations worldwide, more people suffer from noncommunicable disease (NCD), incurable diseases, and/or poor health. The World Health Organization estimated that of the 57 million global deaths in 2008, 36 million were due to NCDs. These pose a considerable challenge to clinicians worldwide, particularly in developed nations. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) provides an array of treatment modalities for health promotion. CAM therapy can be divided into two major strategies; namely, herb-based CAM therapy and non-herb based CAM therapy. In the current commentary, we suggest a new understanding of CAM therapy and propose a new classification for CAM therapy as well as alternative therapies. With such information, CAM can be better utilized to benefit to populations worldwide.