Researchers in the UK are to explore the health benefits of homeopathy and alternative medicine, as part of a £1.3 million programme being funded by the British government.
The research will focus on the role of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of cancer, asthma, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
More and more people are turning to these kinds of medicine, said Public Health Minister Hazel Blears.
"The development of a solid evidence base for complementary and alternative medicine is therefore important. I anticipate it will underpin the future integration of all forms of therapy towards improving the nation's health," added Blears.
The new National Complementary and Alternative Medicines Award Scheme was set up in response to the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology.
It is thought that evidence gained from the scheme will also inform future clinical practice within complementary and alternative medicine and demonstrate when and where these approaches may be used to their best advantage, either as stand-alone therapies or in a complementary role to mainstream medicine.