Exploring the Landscape of Indian Traditional Medicine in Rural Tamil Nadu: Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices, and Safety Concerns

A. Abdul Kareem

G. Yoganandham

Research Scholar, Department of Economics, Thiruvalluvar University (A State University), Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India – 632 115.

Professor & Head, Department of Economics, Thiruvalluvar University (A State University), Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India – 632 115.

Abstract: Indian traditional medicine, encompassing systems such as Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani, has been deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of the country for centuries. In rural Tamil Nadu, where these traditions have thrived, there exists a rich tapestry of knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding traditional medicine. This study aims to delve into the landscape of traditional medicine in rural Tamil Nadu, shedding light on the depth of local knowledge, prevailing attitudes, prevalent practices, and pertinent safety concerns. Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, including qualitative interviews and quantitative assessments, data was collected from diverse rural communities across Tamil Nadu. Findings reveal a nuanced understanding of traditional medicine, deeply intertwined with cultural beliefs and socio-economic factors. Local communities demonstrate a profound knowledge of medicinal plants, formulations, and therapeutic practices passed down through generations. However, alongside this wealth of knowledge, concerns regarding safety, efficacy, and regulation persist. Attitudes toward traditional medicine are multifaceted, reflecting a blend of reverence, skepticism, and pragmatism. While many individuals continue to rely on traditional healers and remedies for primary healthcare needs, others express reservations, citing issues of standardization and scientific validation. Practices vary widely, from home remedies administered by family members to consultations with traditional practitioners and integration with modern healthcare systems.  This study explores Indian traditional medicine in rural Tamil Nadu, highlighting safety concerns like adulteration and misidentification of plants. It suggests a comprehensive approach that integrates traditional and modern medicine, ensuring the safety and well-being of rural communities while addressing knowledge, attitudes, and practices. The approach places a strong emphasis on using data and statistics from secondary sources to discuss the article’s subject. It draws attention to how important the current social, political, and economic environment is in shaping the conversation.

Keywords: ayurveda, healthcare systems and human body, Indian traditional medicine, medicinal plants, safety concerns, Siddha, unani


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