Research Translation

NICM aims to improve health practice by working in the following areas: 


Improving integrative care

Database development

NICM develops and maintains relevant databases including the Chinese Herbal Medicine Toxicology Database outlining the adverse effects of Chinese herbs, interactions with western medicines and evidence based toxicity grading of each herb. 

NICM also collaborates with national and international bodies including the  World Health Organisation (opens in a new window), the Therapeutic Goods Administration's Advisory Committee on Complementary Medicines (ACCM) (opens in a new window) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (opens in a new window).


Research and development data protection

NICM is working with the manufacturing sector to address industry challenges in quality control of products, data protection mechanisms and value adding through high quality research and development. NICM's priority is to encourage the growth of a strong, responsible yet innovative industry that contributes to improved health outcomes in the community and strengthens manufacturing and high quality exports for Australia.  


Health economics of complementary medicine 

Longitudinal research on use of complementary medicine 

NICM is developing longitudinal data sets and linkages with key partners that lead to robust data on health outcomes and on the cost-effectiveness of key complementary medicine interventions. This supports previous research undertaken on the cost-effectiveness of five complementary medicine initiatives. More detail about this research can be found here.


Regulation and policy 

NICM undertakes research on policy issues relating to complementary medicine in Australia, such as safety, usage, industry regulation and clinical practice standards. This research underpins NICM's advocacy work.

NICM published the book Towards a Safer Choice1, the widely acclaimed international report on the use of Chinese medicine. This review was instrumental in the national regulation of Chinese medicine in Australia.

NICM developed the Herbal Chemical Marker Ranking System (Herb MaRS) as a comprehensive set of guidelines and criteria for selecting the most suitable chemical markers for quality assurance and quality control analysis of complex multi-ingredient herbal medicine formulations.


Utilisation of complementary medicine

Complementary medicine:  A snapshot (2005)

This report was commissioned by the NSW Ministry (now the Office of Science and Medical Research). pdf

Complementary medicine: A snapshot (2005) report (PDF, 308.8 KB) (opens in a new window) 


National audit of research activity in complementary medicine

NICM has undertaken an online survey to document the scale and scope of complementary medicine research in Australia. This is an update of NICM's 2008 survey, the results of which can be found at Past Research Projects. The recent survey finished on 22nd April, 2014 and information regarding the outcomes of the audit will be uploaded to the NICM website as soon as available.


NICM 2007-2008 researcher activity and capacity audit

This report is a partial update of a CM audit undertaken in 2005 


NICM 2007-2008 researcher activity and capacity audit report (PDF, 236.65 KB) (opens in a new window)



1. Bensoussan, A & Myers, SP 1996, Towards a safer choice: The practice of traditional Chinese medicine in Australia, University of Western Sydney Macarthur, Sydney, NSW. ISBN:9781875760442