There is a pressing need for us to engage with the broader European context to ensure our traditional medicines survive and flourish. An essential part of this process is to familiarise ourselves with what is actually happening within the European Union (EU), regarding complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) in general, and Oriental medicine (OM) in particular. What constitutes CAM? Who is using it, delivering it, researching it and what are the legislative frameworks that currently govern its practice? It is only by gathering this basic information that we can understand the current status of CAM and OM and start to compose a coherent strategy to inform any future developments.