Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have very rich tradition of herbal medicines used in the treatment of various ailments. Tribal communities practice different types of traditional healing practices. Enough documentation is available on the healing practices in other tribal communities except Mishing community of Assam and foot hill of East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh hence the attempt was made for the same. A survey on folk medicinal plants and folk healers of Mishing tribe was conducted in few places of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji district of Assam and East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, where this ethnic group is living since time immemorial. All information was collected based on interview and field studies with local healers within the community. The identification of medicinal plants collected with help of indigenous healers was done. Such medicines have been shown to have significant healing power, either in their natural state or as the source of new products processed by them. This study is mainly concentrated with plants used to cure diseases and to enquire about different healing systems. Detail note on the method of preparation of precise dose, the part/parts of plants used and method of application is given.
Ethno-medicines; ethnic groups; herbal practitioners
Melastoma malabathricum L. (Melastomataceae) is one of the 22 species found in the Southeast Asian region, including Malaysia. Considered as native to tropical and temperate Asia and the Pacific Islands, this commonly found small shrub has gained herbal status in the Malay folklore belief as well as the Indian, Chinese, and Indonesian folk medicines. Ethnopharmacologically, the leaves, shoots, barks, seeds, and roots of M. malabathricum have been used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, cuts and wounds, toothache, and stomachache. Scientific findings also revealed the wide pharmacological actions of various parts of M. malabthricum, such as antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, antidiarrheal, cytotoxic, and antioxidant activities. Various types of phytochemical constituents have also been isolated and identifed from different parts of M. malabathricum. Thus, the aim of the present review is to present comprehensive information on ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemical constituents, and pharmacological activities of M. malabathricum.
The use of animal products in healing is an ancient and widespread cross-cultural practice. In northeastern Brazil, especially in the semi-arid region, animals and plants are widely used in traditional medicine and play significant roles in healing practices. Zootherapies form an integral part of these cultures, and information about animals is passed from generation to generation through oral folklore. Nevertheless, studies on medicinal animals are still scarce in northeastern Brazil, especially when compared to those focusing on medicinal plants. This paper examines the use and commercialization of animals for medicinal purposes in Brazil's semi-arid caatinga region.
Data was obtained through field surveys conducted in the public markets in the city of Santa Cruz do Capibaribe, Pernambuco State, Brazil. We interviewed 16 merchants (9 men and 7 women) who provided information regarding folk remedies based on animal products.
A total of 37 animal species (29 families), distributed among 7 taxonomic categories were found to be used to treat 51 different ailments. The most frequently cited treatments focused on the respiratory system, and were mainly related to problems with asthma. Zootherapeutic products are prescribed as single drugs or are mixed with other ingredients. Mixtures may include several to many more valuable medicinal animals added to other larger doses of more common medicinal animals and plants. The uses of certain medicinal animals are associated with popular local beliefs known as 'simpatias'. We identified 2 medicinal species (Struthio camelus and Nasutitermes macrocephalus) not previously documented for Brazil. The use of animals as remedies in the area surveyed is associated with socio economic and cultural factors. Some of the medicinal animal species encountered in this study are included in lists of endangered species.
Our results demonstrate that a large variety of animals are used in traditional medicinal practices in Brazil's semi-arid northeastern region. In addition to the need for pharmacological investigations in order to confirm the efficiency of these folk medicines, the present study emphasizes the importance of establishing conservation priorities and sustainable production of the various medicinal animals used. The local fauna, folk culture, and monetary value of these activities are key factors influencing the use and commercialization of animal species for therapeutic purposes.
Malaria remains one of the leading public health problems in Cameroon as in other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past decades, this situation has been aggravated by the increasing spread of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum strains. New antimalarial drug leads are therefore urgently needed. Traditional healers have long used plants to prevent or cure infections. This article reviews the current status of botanical screening efforts in Cameroon as well as experimental studies done on antimalarial plants. Data collected from 54 references from various research groups in the literature up to June 2007 shows that 217 different species have been cited for their use as antimalarials in folk medicine in Cameroon. About a hundred phytochemicals have been isolated from 26 species some among which are potential leads for development of new antiamalarials. Crude extracts and or essential oils prepared from 54 other species showed a wide range of activity on Plasmodium spp. Moreover, some 137 plants from 48 families that are employed by traditional healers remain uninvestigated for their presumed antimalarial properties. The present study shows that Cameroonian flora represents a high potential for new antimalarial compounds. Further ethnobotanical surveys and laboratory investigations are needed to fully exploit the potential of the identified species in the control of malaria.
Animal-based remedies constitute an integral part of Brazilian Traditional Medicine. Due to its long history, zootherapy has in fact become an integral part of folk medicine both in rural and urban areas of the country. In this paper we summarize current knowledge on zootherapeutic practices in Northeast of Brazil, based on information compiled from ethnobiological scientific literature.
In order to examine the diversity of animals used in traditional medicine in Northeast of Brazil, all available references or reports of folk remedies based on animals sources were examined. 34 sources were analyzed. Only taxa that could be identified to species level were included in assessment of medicinal animal species. Scientific names provided in publications were updated.
The review revealed that at least 250 animal species (178 vertebrates and 72 invertebrates) are used for medicinal purposes in Northeast of Brazil. The inventoried species comprise 10 taxonomic categories and belong to 141 Families. The groups with the greatest number of species were fishes (n = 58), mammals (n = 47) and reptiles (n = 37). The zootherapeutical products are used for the treatment of different illnesses. The most widely treated condition were asthma, rheumatism and sore throat, conditions, which had a wide variety of animals to treat them with. Many animals were used for the treatment of multiple ailments. Beyond the use for treating human diseases, zootherapeutical resources are also used in ethnoveterinary medicine
The number of medicinal species catalogued was quite expressive and demonstrate the importance of zootherapy as alternative therapeutic in Northeast of Brazil. Although widely diffused throughout Brazil, zootherapeutic practices remain virtually unstudied. There is an urgent need to examine the ecological, cultural, social, and public health implications associated with fauna usage, including a full inventory of the animal species used for medicinal purposes and the socio-cultural context associated with their consumption.
Kesar has been an important ingredient of the recipes of our ancient physicians in the field of Indian systems of medicine and its cultivation is a monopoly of Jammu and Kashmir. This paper presents in detail the historical review, botanical description, vernacular names, distribution in India and world, cultivation, collection, preservation and storage, adulterants, purity tests, chemical composition, action and uses, folk – lore claims and markets with special reference to its medicinal utility.
The historic role of plants in healing declined early in the twentieth century with the ascendency of synthetic drugs, even though a number of basic medical tools, such as opium, strychnine, and cocaine, are of botanical origin.
In recent years, interest in natural products has been restored dramatically by the discovery of penicillin, plant-derived tranquilizers, and plant precursors of cortisone. Contrary to previous beliefs, botanical drugs are proving more economical than synthetics and hold forth encouraging prospects of inhibiting or destroying tumors without undue damage to healthy tissue. Extensive plant screening programs are being conducted by governmental agencies and pharmaceutical houses. Folk remedies, still common in many tropical areas, are being evaluated. As a result of such research by Canadian and American scientists, alkaloids extracted from the Madagascar periwinkle (Vinca rosea) are being effectively employed to achieve regression in childhood leukemia. Potentially more rewarding are investigations of compounds obtained from the Australian tree, Acronychia baueri and a Chinese species, Camptotheca acuminata.
Universities are reestablishing medicinal plant gardens and placing more emphasis on pharmacognosy. Experimental work with narcotic plants in psychiatric treatment has given rise to popular fascination with and abuse of certain natural hallucinogens. Among scientists engaged in chemical studies, there is an active demand for information about plants, their properties and therapeutic uses. Even the general public is being made aware that plant drugs are not obsolete but offer new hope for conquering disease.
The purpose of this study was to determine, among the Indian community of Chatsworth, South Africa, the prevalence and utilisation patterns of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), attitudes associated with CAM use and communication patterns of CAM users with their primary care doctors.
Face-to-face structured interviews were conducted in Chatsworth, a suburb of Durban in which South Africans of Indian origin predominantly reside. Participants were 200 randomly selected adult English-speaking Indian residents.
The prevalence of CAM usage for period 2000/2001 was 38.5% (95% confidence interval 31.7% to 45.6%). Spiritual healing and herbal/natural medicines, including vitamins were the most common types of CAM used, accounting for 42.8% and 48.1% respectively of overall CAM usage. People used CAM to treat conditions including diabetes mellitus, headaches, arthritis and joint pains, stress, skin disorders, backaches, hypertension and nasal disorders. Half of the CAM users used allopathic medicines concurrently. The cost of CAM utilization over this 1-year period, incurred by 80.5% of users for the duration of therapy for their most troublesome condition was below R500 (approximately US$50). Age, sex, marital status, religion, level of education and income were shown not to influence the use of CAM. Greater than half (51.9%) of CAM users did so either upon the advice of someone they knew, or after noticing a CAM advertisement in the local press. Seventy-nine percent of CAM users indicated that they had positive outcomes with their treatments. Fifty four percent of CAM users (excluding those using spiritual healing only) failed to inform their doctors that they used CAM. The main reason given by half of this group was that informing their doctors did not seem necessary.
The prevalence of CAM in Chatsworth is similar to findings in other parts of the world. Although CAM was used to treat many different ailments, this practice could not be attributed to any particular demographic profile. The majority of CAM users were satisfied with the effects of CAM. Findings support a need for greater integration of allopathic medicine and CAM, as well as improved communication between patients and caregivers regarding CAM usage.
Little is known about the relationship between spirituality healing and perceptions about the medical encounter among Latinos.
To examine the association between spirituality healing and attitudes of self-reported perceptions about the medical encounter.
A cross-sectional telephone survey.
3,728 Latinos aged ≥18 years residing in the United States from Wave 1 of the Pew Hispanic Center/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Latino Health Survey.
Dependent variables were ever prayed for healing (yes/no), ever asked others to pray for healing (yes/no), considered important spiritual healing (very vs. somewhat or not important), and ever consulted a ‘curandero’ (folk healer in Latin America) (yes/no). The primary independent variables were feelings about the last time seeing a Doctor (confused by information given, or frustrated by lack of information) and perception of quality of medical care (excellent, good, fair or poor) within the past 12 months.
Six percent of individuals reported that they had ever consulted a curandero, 60% prayed for healing, 49% asked others to pray for healing, and 69% considered spiritual healing as very important. In multivariable analyses, feeling confused was associated with increased odds of consulting a curandero (OR = 1.58; 95% CI, 1.02–2.45), praying for healing (OR = 1.30; 95% CI, 1.03–1.64), asking others to pray for healing (OR = 1.29; 95% CI, 1.03–1.62), and considering spiritual healing as very important (OR = 1.30; 95% CI, 1.01–1.66). Feeling frustrated by a lack of information was associated with asking others to pray for healing (OR = 1.29; 95% CI, 1.04–1.60). A better perception of quality of medical care was associated with lower odds of consulting a curandero (OR = 0.83; 95% CI, 0.70–0.98).
Feelings about the medical encounter were associated with spirituality healing, praying for healing, and asking others to pray for healing. Feeling confused and perception of poor quality of medical care were associated with consulting a curandero.
Latinos; medical encounter; spirituality healing; praying for healing; curanderos
Ethno-botanical explorations with regard to the folk-lore medicine in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu and Palghat district of Kerala for jaundice was carried out. Out of twenty remedies thus gathered two are found to be new reports and a few others have got interesting combination. The specimens are identified at Botanical Survey of India, Coimbatore and deposited in the Herbarium of Ethnobiology department of International Institute of Ayurveda, Coimbatore. Two newly reported plants for Jaundice namely Alysicarpus vaginalis DC. and Justicia tranquebariensis L. f, have been taken for phytochemical screening and pharmacological studies. The botanical name of the plant, local name, Sanskrit name and the part of the plant employed are given in table I.
Many plants used in Saurashtra folk medicine have been reported to exhibit high antibacterial and antioxidant activities. In the present study, some parts of five plants, Guazuma ulmifolia L., Manilkara zapota L., Melia azedarach L., Syzygium cumini L. and Wrightia tomentosa R.& S., were evaluated for their antibacterial activity, total phenol content, flavonoid content, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl free radical scavenging activity and phytochemical analysis, using successive extraction by cold percolation method with petroleum ether, ethyl acetate, methanol and water. In vitro antibacterial activity was evaluated against five bacterial strains viz. Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium and Enterobacter aerogenes by agar well diffusion method. Among the plants screened, W. tomentosa leaf and fruit showed the best antibacterial activity. The Gram-positive bacteria were more susceptible than Gram-negative bacteria. Methanol extract of M. zapota showed the best 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl free radical scavenging activity. Highest total phenol content was shown by M. zapota and S. cumini in methanol extract, while highest flavonoid content was shown by W. tomentosa stem in petroleum ether extract and ethyl acetate extract. In all the plants, cardiac glycosides and triterpenes were more as compared to other phytoconstituents.
Antibacterial activity; antioxidant activity; Guazuma ulmifolia L.; Manilkara zapota L.; Melia azedarach L.
Traditional remedies are an integral part of Colombian culture. Here we present the results of a three-year study of ethnopharmacology and folk-medicine use among the population of the Atlantic Coast of Colombia, specifically in department of Bolívar. We collected information related to different herbal medicinal uses of the local flora in the treatment of the most common human diseases and health disorders in the area, and determined the relative importance of the species surveyed.
Data on the use of medicinal plants were collected using structured interviews and through observations and conversations with local communities. A total of 1225 participants were interviewed.
Approximately 30 uses were reported for plants in traditional medicine. The plant species with the highest fidelity level (Fl) were Crescentia cujete L. (flu), Eucalyptus globulus Labill. (flu and cough), Euphorbia tithymaloides L. (inflammation), Gliricidia_sepium_(Jacq.) Kunth (pruritic ailments), Heliotropium indicum L. (intestinal parasites) Malachra alceifolia Jacq. (inflammation), Matricaria chamomilla L. (colic) Mentha sativa L. (nervousness), Momordica charantia L. (intestinal parasites), Origanum vulgare L. (earache), Plantago major L. (inflammation) and Terminalia catappa L. (inflammation). The most frequent ailments reported were skin affections, inflammation of the respiratory tract, and gastro-intestinal disorders. The majority of the remedies were prepared from freshly collected plant material from the wild and from a single species only. The preparation of remedies included boiling infusions, extraction of fresh or dry whole plants, leaves, flowers, roots, fruits, and seeds. The parts of the plants most frequently used were the leaves. In this study were identified 39 plant species, which belong to 26 families. There was a high degree of consensus from informants on the medical indications of the different species.
This study presents new research efforts and perspectives on the search for new drugs based on local uses of medicinal plants. It also sheds light on the dependence of rural communities in Colombia on medicinal plants.
Ethnopharmacological survey; Traditional knowledge; Bolívar-Colombia; Medicinal plants
The medicinal plants which are used by the village folk of Rayalaseema area for curing kidney ailments are reported in this paper. They are divided into two categories a) plant drugs which control urination and b) The plant drug which dissolves the stones of urinary bladder.
Achillea L. (Compositae or Asteraceae) is a widely distributed medicinal plant throughout the world and has been used since ancient time. Popular indications of the several species of this genus include treatment of wounds, bleedings, headache, inflammation, pains, spasmodic diseases, flatulence and dyspepsia. Phytochemical investigations of Achillea species have revealed that many components from this genus are highly bioactive. There are many reports on the mentioned folk and traditional effects. Although, the medicinal properties of Achillea plants are recognized worldwide, there are only one review article mainly about the structures of the phytochemical constituents of Achillea. The present paper reviews the medicinal properties of various species of Achillea, which have been examined on the basis of the scientific in vitro, in vivo or clinical evaluations. Various effects of these plants may be due to the presence of a broad range of secondary active metabolites such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, coumarins, terpenoids (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenes) and sterols which have been frequently reported from Achillea species.
Achillea; Asteraceae; Bioactive compounds.
India has a rich tradition of plant-based knowledge on healthcare. A large number of plants/plant extracts/decoctions or pastes are equally used by tribals and folklore traditions in India for treatment of cuts, wounds and burns. The resistance of the microorganism has increased due to the indiscriminate use of commercial antimicrobial drugs commonly used for the treatment of infectious diseases. Resistance to antimicrobial agents has resulted in morbidity, mortality, from treatment failures and increased health care costs. There is an urgent need to discover novel, effective plant-based antimicrobial drug to the increasing problem of drug resistance. This situation forced the scientist to search for new antimicrobial substances from various sources including medicinal plants. Iresine herbstii, Ecbolium linneanum , Chrozophora rottleri have been used in folk remedies and is reported to have a broad range of therapeutic effects. Therefore this paper attempts to bridge the lacunae in the existing literature and offers immense scope for researchers engaged in validation of the traditional claims and development of safe and effective therapeutic agent.
Medicinal plants; Iresine herbstii; Ecbolium linneanum; Chrozophora rottleri; Medicinal properties
Crassocephalum crepidioides, a plant distributed in Okinawa Islands, is known in folk medicine; however, its anticancer activity has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to determine the in vitro and in vivo antitumor activities of C. crepidioides on murine Sarcoma 180 (S-180) and related molecular mechanisms.
The antitumor effect of C. crepidioides was evaluated in S-180-cell-bearing mice. Cell growth was assessed using a colorimetric assay. Nitrite and nitrate levels were measured by colorimetry. The expression levels of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) in murine RAW264.7 macrophages was assessed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Activation of iNOS promoter was detected by reporter gene. Activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) was evaluated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. The role of NF-κB signaling was analyzed using inhibitors of NF-κB and dominant-negative mutants, and Western blot analysis.
C. crepidioides extract delayed tumor growth in S-180-bearing mice. However, it did not inhibit S-180 cell growth in vitro. Supernatant of cultured C. crepidioides-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages was cytotoxic to S-180 cells. This cytotoxicity was associated with nitric oxide (NO) production. NF-κB signaling pathway was crucial for the transcriptional activation of iNOS gene. Isochlorogenic acid, a component of C. crepidioides, induced NF-κB activation and iNOS expression.
The results highlight the oncolytic and immunopotentiation properties of C. crepidioides mediated through NF-κB-induced release of NO from macrophages.
Whereas shrines in Africa, and to a lesser extent their links with medicine and healing, have been extensively studied by historians and anthropologists, they have been largely neglected by archaeologists. Focus has been placed upon palaeopathology when medicine is considered in archaeological contexts. Difficulties certainly exist in defining medicine shrines, substances and practices archaeologically, yet research can take various forms – scapegoats and figural representations of disease; divination and diagnosis; trade and spread of medicinal substances, shrines, and amulets; syncretism of different traditions and materiality; the material culture associated with healing and medicinal substance; depictions in rock art; genetic research. A move beyond palaeopathology is required to begin to understand the archaeology of medicine shrines, substances, practices and healing in sub-Saharan Africa.
shrines; medicine; substances; Africa; archaeology; divination; palaeopathology
This survey attempts to quantify the costs of applying for patient assistance
programs, which oncologists say too often involves weeks of paperwork, repeated
telephone calls, and bureaucratic delays.
Although drug companies proudly market their patient assistance programs (PAPs) for
needy individuals, oncologists say navigating these programs too often requires weeks
of paperwork, repeated telephone calls, and bureaucratic delays. For years, oncology
practices have reported concerns with the time spent on these applications; for those
who might qualify for these programs, the end result is usually delay in appropriate
treatment. To measure this difficulty in obtaining assistance, this survey attempted
to quantify the costs of applying for PAPs. The survey sample included 100 oncology
practices from 32 states. The results confirmed that the current program application
process is indeed expensive, time consuming, and often unsuccessful.
Patient-centredness is a core value of general practice; it is defined as the interpersonal processes that support the holistic care of individuals. To date, efforts to demonstrate their relationship to patient outcomes have been disappointing, whilst some studies suggest values may be more rhetoric than reality. Contextual issues influence the quality of patient-centred consultations, impacting on outcomes. The legitimate use of knowledge, or evidence, is a defining aspect of modern practice, and has implications for patient-centredness.
Based on a critical review of the literature, on my own empirical research, and on reflections from my clinical practice, I critique current models of the use of knowledge in supporting individualised care. Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), and its implementation within health policy as Scientific Bureaucratic Medicine (SBM), define best evidence in terms of an epistemological emphasis on scientific knowledge over clinical experience. It provides objective knowledge of disease, including quantitative estimates of the certainty of that knowledge. Whilst arguably appropriate for secondary care, involving episodic care of selected populations referred in for specialist diagnosis and treatment of disease, application to general practice can be questioned given the complex, dynamic and uncertain nature of much of the illness that is treated.
I propose that general practice is better described by a model of Interpretive Medicine (IM): the critical, thoughtful, professional use of an appropriate range of knowledges in the dynamic, shared exploration and interpretation of individual illness experience, in order to support the creative capacity of individuals in maintaining their daily lives. Whilst the generation of interpreted knowledge is an essential part of daily general practice, the profession does not have an adequate framework by which this activity can be externally judged to have been done well. Drawing on theory related to the recognition of quality in interpretation and knowledge generation within the qualitative research field, I propose a framework by which to evaluate the quality of knowledge generated within generalist, interpretive clinical practice. I describe three priorities for research in developing this model further, which will strengthen and preserve core elements of the discipline of general practice, and thus promote and support the health needs of the public.
Best practice guidelines are being used to an increasing degree, not only by physicians to improve the level of care, but also by bureaucrats to constrain reimbursement and guide the pathways of care.
American Indian and Alaska Native (Native) people experience more traumatic events and are at higher risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder compared with the general population. We conducted in-depth interviews with six Native healers about their perspectives on traumatic injury and healing. We analyzed the interviews using an inductive approach to identify common themes. We categorized these themes into four categories: causes and consequences of traumatic injury, risk factors, protective factors, and barriers to care. The implications of our study include a need for improving cultural competence among health care and social services personnel working with Native trauma patients. Additional cumulative analyses of Native healers and trauma patients would contribute to a much-needed body of knowledge on improving recovery and promoting healing among Native trauma patients.
Beyond the palliative reach of today, medical therapies of tomorrow aim to treat the root cause of chronic degenerative diseases. Therapeutic repair encompasses the converging triad of rejuvenation, regeneration or replacement strategies that rely on self-healing processes, stem cell regeneration, and/or organ transplantation. Natural healing or rejuvenation exemplify inherent, baseline repair secured by tissue self-renewal and de novo cell biogenesis, particularly effective in organs with a high endogenous reparative capacity. Transplant medicine exploits the replacement strategy as a valuable option to recycle used parts and restore failing organ function by means of exogenous substitutes—it is, however, limited by donor shortage. Stem cell-based regeneration offers the next frontier of medical therapy through delivery of essentially unlimited pools of autologous or allogeneic, naive or modified, progenitor cells to achieve structural and functional repair. Translation into clinical applications requires the establishment of a regenerative medicine community of practice capable to bridge discovery with personalized treatment solutions. Indeed, this multidisciplinary specialized workforce will be capable to integrate the new science of embryology, immunology, and stem cell biology into bioinformatics and network medicine platforms, ensuring implementation of therapeutic repair strategies into individualized disease management algorithms.
tissue regeneration; therapeutic repair; regenerative medicine
Prior to the completion of the Human Genome Project, bioethicists and other academics debated the impact of this new genetic information on medicine, health care, group identification, and peoples’ lives. A major issue is the potential for unintended and intended adverse consequences to groups and individuals. When conducting research in, for instance, American Indian and Alaskan native (AI/AN) populations, political, cultural, religious and historical issues must be considered. Among African Americans, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment is a reminder of racism and discrimination in this country. The goal of the current study is to understand reasons for participating, or not, in genetic research such as the HapMap project and other genetic/medical research from the perspective of the Indian American community in Houston, Texas. In this article, we report on a topic central to this discussion among Indian Americans: karma and reincarnation. Both concepts are important beliefs when considering the body and what should happen to it. Karma and reincarnation are also important considerations in participation in medical and genetic research because, according to karma, what is done to the body can affect future existences and the health of future descendants. Such views of genetic and medical research are culturally mediated. Spiritual beliefs about the body, tissue, and fluids and what happens to them when separated from the body can influence ideas about the utility and acceptability of genetic research and thereby affect the recruitment process. Within this community it is understood that genetic and environmental factors contribute to complex diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer; and acknowledgment of the significance of environmental stressors in the production of disease. A commitment to service, i.e. “betterment of humanity,” karmic beliefs, and targeting environmental stressors could be prominent avenues for public health campaigns in this population. This study suggests that minority status does not automatically indicate unwillingness to participate in genetic or medical research. Indian Americans were not skeptical about the potential benefits of biomedical research in comparison to other ethnic minority communities in the United States.
Karma; Reincarnation; Genetic research; Medical research
A majority of Indian cancer patients are often presented with incurable diseases at the latest phase of disease progression. The use of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM) has been identified by Indian oncologists as a potential factor for the delay in seeking health from medical practitioners but no research has been conducted to verify such claims. The aim of this study is to identify socio-demographic and disease status differences between TCAM and non-TCAM users among cancer patients in India and associated patterns of seeking professional medical help.
A random survey of 825 cancer patients in one public and one private hospital was conducted in Delhi, India. Using four interviewers, a list sampling technique was used to interview every patient over a four month period, with a response rate of 80%.
The results showed that 34.3% of cancer patients had used TCAM. The results also demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between the use of TCAM and reported delay in seeking help from clinical medicine (p<0.001). On the other hand, 35.2% of TCAM users reported seeking help immediately after onset of symptoms, whereas 50% of non-users immediately sought help from conventional medicine. Furthermore, 11.5% of TCAM users reported waiting for six months or more after noticing cancer-related symptoms, while only 2.1% of non-users waited this long.
Overall, early diagnosis and intervention is critical for effective treatment of many malignancies. Delays in presentation related to the use of TCAM may be an important factor relating to the high rates of advanced disease on presentation and low survival rates in the care of Indian cancer patients. Further research is needed to explore the reasons for using TCAM and to ensure existing issues of delays in help seeking are addressed.
The present ethnobotanical exploratory study embodies the folk medicinal uses of certain important medicinal plants by tribals of bastar district in Madhya Pradesh state of India. Twenty seven medicinal plants form diverse families have been covered being therapeutically used against different diseases such acidity, debility, diabetes, male and female weakness, fistula, migraine and skin diseases etc. How the tribal folks consider the mode of drug administration and application in different ailments has been ailments has been elaborately emphasized.