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Becoming a Traditional Medicinal Plant Healer: Divergent Views of Practicing and Young Healers on Traditional Medicinal Plant Knowledge Skills in India

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Title: Becoming a Traditional Medicinal Plant Healer: Divergent Views of Practicing and Young Healers on Traditional Medicinal Plant Knowledge Skills in India
Authors: Shukla, Shailesh
Sinclair, A John
Keywords: traditional medicine
India
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Citation: Shukla S, Sinclair AJ. 2009. Becoming a traditional medicinal plant healer: divergent views of practicing and young healers on traditional medicinal plant knowledge skills in India. Ethnobotany Research and Applications 7:039-051.
Abstract: Traditional medicinal plant knowledge (TMK) helps meet the health needs of a large section of the world’s population, especially socially and economically disadvantaged and aboriginal communities of developing countries like India. However, there is little known about TMK skills and their intergenerational transfer and growing concerns over the erosion of TMK within these communities. Through indepth interviews with 33 practicing village healers from two remote and economically poor villages of Western India, we identified a set of ten crucial TMK skills and their relative importance. We then interviewed 27 young budding healers from the same villages to establish their views on crucial TMK skills. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare the differences in importance that old and young healers attach to TMK skills. We found that old and young healers significantly differ on ascribing importance to five crucial TMK skills, including: interest, identification, rare plants, consultation and harvesting. It was discovered that such differences in perception of old and young healers about critical TMK skills can be attributed to lack of interest by young healers in learning some TMK skills, complexity of the skills, incomplete transmission (due to stricter adherence to transmission rules by old healers) and the impact of formal schooling and modern medicines in generating negative values among young healers towards learning new TMK skills.
Description: research
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/12505
ISSN: 1547-3465
Appears in Collections:2009 - Volume 7 : Ethnobotany Research and Applications



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