Costa Rica

Alban Central America

Costa Rica

Background Information

There are no associations of traditional medicine practitioners in Costa Rica. Women do not practice traditional medicine.


There are at least 19 practitioners of indigenous traditional medicine. There are chiropractors practicing in Costa Rica.

Regulatory Situation

Though the production of traditional medications is regulated, the practice of traditional medicine is ignored in official health laws. There is no registry of traditional health practitioners in Costa Rica. Traditional medicine practitioners are not licensed, nor are they sanctioned for practicing medicine. This may soon change, however, as the Legislative Assembly is currently considering a bill that would regulate traditional medicine.

There are no official programs linking traditional medicine with allopathic medicine.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons recognized homeopathy as a medical specialty in 1994. By a pronouncement of the Sala de Jurisdicción Constitucional of the Supreme Court on 9 January 1998, allopathic medical doctors can be accredited postgraduate homeopathic studies under the Medical Specialty Regulations. Homeopathy is thereby treated as a branch of allopathic medicine and governed by the same regulations as other allopathic specialties. A chiropractic law is pending.

In 1996, a multidisciplinary committee composed of representatives from the Ministry of Health and colleges of pharmacy in Costa Rican universities convened to formulate regulations on herbal medicines. In 1998, the committee published Decree 26782S regulating the industrialization, registration, commercialization, and publication of herbal preparations and herbal products.

Education and Training

There are no institutions officially responsible for teaching traditional medicine. Postgraduate homeopathic studies are available through an institution recognized by the College of Physicians and Surgeons.