Lay perceptions of medicine in a village in South India are discussed in terms of their influence on the utilization of the available alternative therapy systems: cosmopolitan, professional ayurvedic, traditional ayurvedic, and folk practitioners. Villagers seeking medical help focus on the types of medicines and paraphernalia exhibited in medical shops and tend to employ a trial and error approach which creates a client-dominant medical market characterized by low compliance. The type of form of therapy is often considered more important than the therapy system. Concepts of habitude, power, diet and physical properties of medicine affect the choice of treatment and the patient's compliance with instructions, leading to rejection of medicines that are inconsistent with indigenous notions of etiology and ethnophysiology. The public health implications of medicine-taking behavior should receive scrutiny in situations where medicines targeted for high risk populations are not gaining the desired results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health