A consultation on acupuncture and herbal and traditional Chinese medicine asked if there was evidence of harm from these therapies.
In total, 88 per cent of respondents said there was evidence of harm and 85 per cent said that this would be reduced by statutory regulation.
The DoH said there was a general perception of harm resulting from unregulated practice of alternative medicine. But it concluded: 'It is now clear that this is a complex area and that opinions vary widely as to whether some form of regulation is needed.'
A DoH spokeswoman said analysis of the responses to the consultation had shown that views were 'highly polarised'.